Dave took home the evening’s top prize, securing British album of the year for his debut full-length LP, Psychodrama. The set is the second rap album in three years to win the award, after Stormzy’s Gang Signs & Prayers became the first rap LP ever to do so in 2018. (Stormzy was similarly triumphant at the event, playing a medley performance of recent hits and taking home British male solo artist, which he’d also previously won in 2018 — the award’s first two-time winner since Ed Sheeran in 2012 and 2015.)
Dave also had one of the most memorable performances of the evening, delivering his Psychodrama single “Black” from a piano, while also adding new lyrics addressing British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and tributed Jack Merritt and Saskia Jones, two Cambridge University students slain in a 2019 London Bridge attack.
Capaldi was the evening’s only multi-time winner, awarded both best new artist and song of the year, the latter for his international chart-topper “Someone You Loved.” Capaldi also performed “Loved” at the show, an elegaic rendition given after host Jack Whitehall paid homage to “member of the Brits family” Caroline Flack, the Love Island host who died the previous Friday (Feb. 15).
American superstar Billie Eilish also was a winner, beating fellow marquee names like Lizzo and Ariana Grande for international female solo artist. Eilish’s big night kicked off with perhaps the show’s most-anticipated performance, her live debut of new James Bond theme “No Tie to Die,” from the upcoming movie of the same name. With writer/producer brother Finneas, Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr and composer Hans Zimmer all providing support, Eilish delivered a spellbinding rendition of the new song — currently on pace to become the singer-songwriter’s first U.K. chart-topper.
Other winners on the evening included Mabel, who secured British female solo artist after leading off the awards with an elaborately choreographed run through her international breakout hit “Don’t Call Me Up,” and Foals, who won British group for the first time, after previously losing to Coldplay in 2016. Foals frontman Yannis Philippakis also mentioned during his acceptance speech that he hoped to “see some more women in this category” in 2021 — one of several references on the evening to the awards’ relative lack of female nominees across non-gender-specific categories.
Jack Whitehall hosted the Brit Awards for the third straight year with typical irreverence, including extended banter with friendly stars Lizzo and Harry Styles — both of whom also offered memorable performances in the evening’s first hour. But American rapper Tyler, the Creator delivered perhaps the evening’s most pointed shot on stage, upon winning international male solo artist, as he sarcastically thanked former U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May, who had previously banned him from traveling to her country. “I know she’s at home, pissed off,” Tyler quipped.