Rina Sawayama’s self-titled debut album is indisputably probably the most progressive pop data of latest years, a head-spinning fusion of nu-metal, Woman Gaga-style pop and ballads that’s catnip for critics, followers of daring music (similar to her large fan Elton John) and prestigious awards just like the Brits and Mercury Prize.
So there was no small outcry when Sawayama, 30, who was born in Japan and isn’t a British citizen however has lived within the U.Okay. since she was 4 and speaks with a pronounced British accent, was informed she was “not British sufficient” to enter qualify for the awards, which meant that “Sawayama” was ineligible for the Mercury Prize final 12 months.
After a number of months of social-media lobbying — together with an announcement of assist from Elton John, who named the album his favourite of 2020 — and a gathering with the British Phonogram Trade, the principles have been modified: Artists who’ve been resident within the U.Okay. for greater than 5 years qualify for the principle prizes, in accordance to the BBC.
Sawayama introduced the change in an Instagram publish captioned “REDEFINING BRITISHNESS !!!!!! shoutout @bpi_music !!!!!” Her message reads:
“I’m over the moon to share the information that following a lot of conversations the BPI has determined to change the principles of eligibility for all nominees for the BRIT awards and Mercury Prize. Beginning this 12 months, artists (like me) might be eligible for nomination even with out British citizenship. The principles have broadened to embrace those that have been a resident of the UK for five years.
“I thanks all from the underside of my coronary heart for sharing the #SAWAYAMAISBRITISH marketing campaign worldwide and igniting this essential dialog about Britishness. This has some cool implications with regard to the best way Britons perceive their cultural make-up, significantly within the wake of a Brexit resolution that was pushed partly by anti-immigrant sentiment.”
Sawayama holds “indefinite go away” to keep within the U.Okay. however retains a Japanese passport for household causes; Japan doesn’t enable twin citizenship.
“All I keep in mind resides right here,” Sawayama informed Vice final 12 months. “I’ve simply lived right here all my life. I went to summer time college in Japan, and that’s actually it. However I really feel like I’ve contributed to the UK in a approach that I believe is worthy of being celebrated, or at the very least being eligible to be celebrated.”
— RINA SAWAYAMA (@rinasawayama) February 24, 2021
The Brit Awards confirmed the change to the BBC, saying it will apply to all its award classes, in addition to the Mercury Prize.
Artists will now have to meet certainly one of three standards to be eligible:
- They had been born within the U.Okay.
- They’re a U.Okay. passport holder (together with individuals who maintain multiple passport).
- They’ve been completely resident within the UK for greater than 5 years.
The change means Sawayama might be eligible for this 12 months’s Rising Star award, which acknowledges up-and-coming expertise, though she shouldn’t be eligible for the principle classes, together with greatest British feminine and greatest album, as a result of her album didn’t attain the Prime 40 of the nationwide charts.