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The 2023 BRIT Awards, which are essentially the United Kingdom’s version of the Grammys, landed in hot water after the Artist of the Year nominations were announced — and didn’t include a single female singer. 

Sam Smith spoke to the Sunday Times about the controversy, as well as the ceremony’s recent decision to combine the best male and female categories in favor of gender neutrality. Sam had supported the move then, but hopes more progress is made soon.

Only 42 percent of the nominees are women this year. 

“It is a shame … Things are moving forward, but it’s obvious it’s not there yet,” Sam expressed. “From seeing that [best artist] list, there is still a long way to go.” The singer also noted, “There’s so much incredible female talent in the UK.”

Sam said it “should be easy … To celebrate everyone,” adding “it’s incredibly frustrating” to think the BRIT Awards seemingly favor male artists. For example, Little Mix was the first group of female singers to win Best Group — and that was in 2021. 

“This is not just about artists getting awards. Awards are for kids watching on TV, thinking, ‘I can make music like this.’ When I was young, if I’d seen more queer people at these awards it would have lit my heart,” Sam said. “Awards are there to inspire.”

Sam also touched upon LGBTQ representation in the music industry and explained why they think it’s getting better.

“The more that people see that type of love with their friends or family members, the more they will enjoy films and music by queer people. But it is also about education. We need to educate everyone on what it is to be queer,” they said.

Sam’s new album, Gloria, arrives Friday, January 27.

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