Seen and Heard at BRITs 2017: Katy Perry Gets Political, David Bowie Honored

The BRIT Awards 2017 honored the late David Bowie with two posthumous prizes Wednesday night, including best British album.

The late singer, whose Blackstar album was released just days before his death in January 2016, was also awarded best British male artist—beating hot favorite Skepta, the grime artist who won the prestigious Mercury Music Prize in 2016.

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Beyoncé and Drake won best international female and male artist respectively, while Adele was awarded the global success award for her contributions to British music at home and abroad over the last 12 months.

Ellie Goulding, Katy Perry and Nick Grimshaw spinning the decks at the BRIT Awards after party hosted by Universal Music, Soho House and Bacardi Rum. David Benett

Wednesday’s ceremony featured performances from Ed Sheeran, Katy Perry and Little Mix, as well as a tribute to late singer George Michael.

But British music’s biggest night didn’t end there—all of the major record labels also held their own after parties around London attracting names such as Perry, London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams.

Here is what Newsweek heard and saw:

Katy Perry gets political...

Pop star Katy Perry’s new song “Chained to the Rhythm” may seem like a bubblegum pop song on the surface, but its lyrics are fairly pointed. Perry sings about being “living in the bubble” and failing to see the trouble. That trouble, it seems, is our political leaders.

Wednesday’s performance of the track at the Brits had a clear political message aimed at U.S. President Donald Trump and U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May.

Perry had two larger-than-life skeletal figures onstage with her that were dressed suspiciously like Trump and May during the latter’s visit to the U.S. last month:

… and then takes the decks

After a subtly political performance on the main stage, Perry next made an appearance at her record label Universal Music and Soho House’s after party at the 180 Strand Soho House pop-up in central London.

Perry joined Radio 1 DJ Nick Grimshaw and Ellie Goulding in the DJ booth to play some tracks for guests.

Sadly, she didn’t play one of her own songs.

Fair play, Bowie

Standout British crooner Michael Kiwanuka, whose soulful voice on the transcendent Love & Hate was one of 2016’s musical highlights, was nominated for two major awards Wednesday night—best British album and best British male artist—but lost both to Bowie.

Kiwanuka was not complaining, however, when I spoke to him at the Universal and Soho House party. “Fair play,” he said, adding that he was happy to lose to Bowie.

You can’t argue with losing to a dearly departed legend.

Emeli suffers no sophomore slump

British singer/songwriter Emeli Sande had a lot to be happy about Wednesday night. She won the award for best British female artist for a second time in her career following the release of her second studio album Long Live the Angels in 2016.

Sande was an immovable fixture from the dancefloor at Universal’s after party, basking in her victory with friend and music producer Naughty Boy.

The “Hurts” singer told me that making a follow-up to a critically acclaimed debut album is “really hard,” but she’s pleased it has been so well-received.

That sophomore slump curse has been avoided.

Niall skips awards

More than a year after they went on hiatus, One Direction won another BRIT Award for best British music video for “History,” as voted for by fans on social media.

Rather awkwardly, Liam Payne was the only member of the four-piece on hand to collect the prize at the ceremony held at The O2 arena.

However, Niall Horan was also in town Wednesday night—but he opted to miss the main show and head to Warner Music Group and Ciroc’s after party at Freemasons’ Hall in Covent Garden.


Maisie’s big franchise

Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams was also at Warner’s party. But unfortunately for the Thrones fan in me she was very secretive about plot spoilers for season seven, which premieres this summer.

Williams did, however, express her delight for co-star Emilia Clarke, who was announced as joining the Star Wars universe earlier this week. The Khaleesi will star in Disney and Lucasfilm’s untitled Han Solo spinoff movie.

The Thrones women are landing some major Hollywood roles of late. Williams’ on-screen sister Sophie Turner joined the X-Men movie series last year.

So when is Williams going to land her own big Hollywood franchise? “It’s coming,” she told me.Try Newsweek: Subscription offers


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