The rise of Raye, Queen Kylie, and a giraffe: What everyone's talking about after the Brits

By John Mercury March 3, 2024

When you break a record jointly held by three of the biggest British music acts of the last 30 years, you know you’re doing something right.

Before tonight’s Brit Awards, only three artist had ever won four prizes in one ceremony – Harry Styles last year, Adele in 2016, and Blur in 1995.

Raye, who just a few years ago was contemplating a very different future after leaving her record label, went not one but two better last night – picking up a history-making six trophies in total, including the big awards for best artist, best song and best album.

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Raye on ‘miracle’ night

Speaking to Sky News on the red carpet beforehand, she said she had been left “heartbroken” a few years ago and could only describe her multiple Brits nominations as “a miracle” – and this was before she had won a single prize.

Her Brits record caps an incredible year for the star, which started with her first number one single, Escapism featuring 070 Shake; this was followed by the release of her debut album, My 21st Century Blues, a Glastonbury performance, a Mercury Prize nomination, and Ivor Novello and MOBO awards.

Among the awards won by the star at this year’s Brits was the prize for best new artist, but in fact, despite only being 26, she has been around for quite a few years already.

Raye, whose real name is Rachel Keen, signed to Polydor Records as a teenager and later featured as a vocalist on top five hits by David Guetta and Jax Jones. She also wrote lyrics for the likes of Beyonce and Rihanna.

Despite her talent, her own solo work never seemed to get off the ground. From the outside, she appeared to be flying high with her collaborations, but in 2021 she released a series of tweets claiming she had been stifled and prevented from releasing her solo album.

The journey from ‘heartbreak’ to making history

Raye (right) on stage with her grandmother after winning the Mastercard Album of the Year award during the Brit Awards 2024 at the O2 Arena, London. Picture date: Saturday March 2, 2024. PA Photo. See PA story SHOWBIZ Brits. Photo credit should read: James Manning/PA Wire
Raye was joined by her grandmother, Agatha, on the Brits stage as she collected her final award. Pic: PA

“Imagine this pain. I have been signed to a major label since 2014… and I have had albums on albums of music sat in folders collecting dust, songs I am now giving away to A list artists because I am still awaiting confirmation that I am good enough to release an album,” she posted.

“I’m done being a polite pop star. I want to make my album now, please that is all I want.”

By the end of 2022 she had struck out on her own and her dance track Escapism featuring US rapper 070 Shake had gone viral on TikTok.

At the beginning of 2023, the song topped the UK charts. “[I feel] like anything is possible and I was right to back myself,” she told Sky News at the time. “Never give up on your dreams. For someone who [felt] so, like, mediocre and… such a disappointment, actually, for so long, to just receive all the affirmation in the world that I was right to back my music is just…

“For someone who puts words together for a living, I don’t necessarily really have the best words to describe how crazy this is.”

Escapism went on to win the award for best contemporary song at the Ivor Novello Awards. Now, it is song of the year at the Brits – one of six gongs for Raye in 2024, and it feels like this is just the beginning.

Read more on the Brits:
The best of the Brits red carpet
Kylie the global icon to Raye’s record – the Brits as it happened
Raye on the fight for her album: ‘It’s been a real wild journey’

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Kylie Minogue reflects on her career

‘The eternal Queen of Pop’

Back in 1987, everybody was doing a brand new dance now – who would have thought back then that Kylie would still be leading the way almost 40 years later?

The 55-year-old Australian megastar has sold more than 80 million records worldwide and in 2020 became the first female artist to score a number one album in five consecutive decades in the UK.

Could there have been a more worthy global icon?

Speaking to Sky News on the red carpet before the ceremony, she reflected on her lifetime of “chipping away” in the industry, “and just learning the craft… that’s an achievement I’m really proud of – highs and lows and everything in between”.

She also recalled her “ultimate” Brits moment – “being ejected from a CD player” for her Blue Monday mash-up of Can’t Get You Out Of My Head in 2002, and added: “The Brits are always fun and I did not imagine all those years ago that I would be having a night like tonight.”

On stage, she was announced as “quite simply, the eternal Queen of Pop” – and she showed exactly why that is with a performance including a medley of songs and several costume changes.

Across her career, Minogue has had seven UK number one singles, including Spinning Around and Can’t Get You Out Of My Head. Last year, she announced her first Las Vegas residency and released her 16th studio album, Tension – including the viral dance hit Padam Padam.

Girl power

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Dua Lipa: ‘We need more girl energy’

Female stars dominated this year’s Brits, and not just because of Raye (although her six wins definitely helped).

Of the 17 prizes dished out this year, 12 were won by female acts – among them, Dua Lipa, who picked up the prize for best pop act, and also opened the show with a high energy, acrobatics-infused performance of her latest single, Training Season.

“It’s wonderful to see so many incredible female artists, who I love and I admire and I listen to their music,” Lipa told Sky News on the red carpet before the show. “To be alongside them feels really special. We need more girl energy!”

Lipa’s Brits win comes after the huge success of her recent single Dance The Night, from the Barbie soundtrack – and also a cameo in the film.

Charli XCX, who was up for best pop act alongside Lipa, also spoke about this being a strong year for for the female nominees when she chatted to Sky News on the red carpet – giving a shout-out to Raye, saying she was “so happy” to see an independent female artist taking the reins and showing others how to do it.

Post Office scandal victim presents award

Jo Hamilton and Monica Dolan present the award for Song of the Year during the Brit Awards 2024. Pic: James Manning/PA
Pic: James Manning/PA

Hosted by Maya Jama, Clara Amfo and Roman Kemp, the majority of the ceremony was a light-hearted affair, with skits including a kisscam and The Traitors mother and son stars Diane and Ross revealing their predictions.

But there was a serious note ahead of the first award of the night, which was presented by Jo Hamilton, a former subpostmistress who was a victim of the Horizon IT scandal, and actress Monica Dolan, who portrayed her in ITV’s hit series Mr Bates vs The Post Office.

Mrs Hamilton, 66, told the crowd at the O2 Arena: “I want to thank everyone in the country for the love and the support they have given the postmasters. Please can you keep on supporting us because, despite what the government says, they’re not paying the postmasters.”

Rob Beckett turns up as a giraffe

Rob Beckett attending the Brit Awards 2024 at the O2 Arena, London. Picture date: Saturday March 2, 2024. Pic: Ian West/PA
It’s called fashion, look it up. Pic: Ian West/PA

That’s it, that’s the story. Comedian Rob Beckett turned up on the red carpet dressed in an inflatable giraffe suit.

We can confirm that Green Day in particular were very taken with him, posing for photographs on the red carpet right in front of the Sky News spot.

The reasons behind Beckett’s sartorial choice are unconfirmed, but we suspect it may have something to do with his recently announced upcoming tour, titled Giraffe. Yes, that’s probably it.

Publicity stunt or not, we really, really hope he made all the best-dressed lists.


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