This year marks the 38th outing for the BRIT Awards, celebrating the best in homegrown and international music. Since launching in 1977, the ceremony has welcomed some of the biggest stars onto its stage, both to accept accolades and to perform to their contemporaries and fans.
Capital FM presenter Roman Kemp is once again on site, this year officially hosting the behind the scenes action for ITV2.
“It’s nice to do something official with the BRITs,” Kemp tells us of joining the ITV team for the first time. “It’s important for us as British people to celebrate something we all have so much passion for.”
Roman is looking forward to seeing his friends perform, and for them to hopefully take home the coveted award. “It’s just a really fun night,” he says, “everyone’s genuinely there to have a really good time.”
Last year Roman was presenting with his Capital team, avoiding a close shave with Ed Sheeran. “He told the entire Capital team I was to become the breakfast show host,” Roman recalls, “and nobody was supposed to know. I didn’t even know that he knew. Everyone just kind of pretended like they’d never heard anything.”
This year he’ll be avoiding awkward encounters, and says he is most looking forward to seeing long-time friend and British Breakthrough Act nominee Dua Lipa take to the stage. “I’m very proud of her,” he beams. “She’s doing really well. She deserves it, she works really hard.”
As he prepares for the ceremony on the 21 February 2018, we took the opportunity to chat to the insider to find out more about his favourite moments and performances, as well as some other current and possible future nominees to look out for.
Favourite BRITs live moments
Last year, Coldplay’s Chris Martin delivered a heartfelt tribute to George Michael; Roman’s godfather and a close family friend. “That was an amazing moment for me and something I know George’s family was so happy with. That’s definitely up there as my favourite.”
Ed Sheeran & Stormzy
Seemingly forgiving Ed Sheeran for his slip-up backstage last year, Roman praises the Best Male Solo Artist nominee’s collaboration with fellow nominee Stormzy at the 2017 ceremony. “It was such a big moment for grime” he explains. “It changed the genre of music.” Both are also nominated for British Album of the Year at the 2018 ceremony.
In 2015, Kanye West celebrated UK talent by collaborating on stage with British MCs. He performed All Day flanked by the likes of Skepta, Stormzy, Novelist, Krept & Konan, and many more. “When he was on stage with people behind him,” Roman says, “that was a massive moment.”
British pop titans Little Mix have performed at the BRIT Awards a few times, most recently last year. “They just get it,” Roman says of the quartet. “They get that it’s a show. Every aspect of it is there. There’s audience interaction. There’s constantly something going on. There’s well rehearsed routines. Visually it’s inspiring and eye catching. I’d go as far as saying that in terms of bands, Little Mix are the best band I’ve ever seen live. I’ll happy admit that.” This year they’re looking to bag the British Single gong too.
Nominated for International Female Solo Artist this year, as well as British Artist Video of the Year for her collaboration with ZAYN, Taylor Swift most recently performed Blank Space at the BRITs in 2015. Capital FM also welcomed the star at their Jingle Bell Ball last year. “It was the first time in three years that her fans who love her so much could watch her perform in the UK,” he says of her 2017 show. “It was a strong moment.”
Bruno Mars also performed at the BRITs last year, presenting That’s What I Like to fans and musicians alike. “You’re going to see a proper show that could be on Broadway,” he says of the stateside singer’s performances. “It’s absolutely ridiculous.”
Nominated this year for International Male Solo Artist, Kendrick Lamar makes his way onto Roman’s best live moments list. “He was unbelievable at Coachella. We’re looking at the person who is the best rapper in the world right now. If you’re talking about a rhyming god, then Eminem, but we’re talking about lyricists. Kendrick is genius in that sense.”
Roman Kemp is predicting big things for probably future BRIT nominee Raye. “I’m backing her. You have to remember Raye has written some of the biggest pop songs of the past five years.”
Is there anyone Roman Kemp has not seen live yet? Yes, it’s Eminem. “The Marshall Mathers LP was the first record that my mum ever bought me when I was seven years old. Imagine a seven year old listening to that album. She thought it was a brilliant way of teaching me how to take negative situations and turn it into something creative. She would explain to me why he was saying the things he was saying. My mum would be the person I would want to take.”
As well as finding out who has won the coveted awards, fans will also be able to see live performances by Justin Timberlake, Ed Sheeran, Stormzy, Sam Smith, Rita Ora, Dua Lipa, Jorja Smith, Rag’N’Bone Man, and Foo Fighters.
Hosted by Jack Whitehall, the 38th BRIT Awards with Mastercard will take place at The O2 on 21st February.