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RAYE scoops early Brit Award as she goes into ceremony with record-breaking seven nominations

Pop singer RAYE has been announced as the winner of this year’s Brit Award for Songwriter of the Year.

The Tooting, London-born artist is going into this year’s ceremony with seven Brit nominations, the most received by any artist in a single year, including Best New Artist, Artist of the Year and Album of the Year. She also has two entries in the Song of the Year category.

Songwriter of the Year, which was announced ahead of the live ceremony at the O2 Arena in London, celebrates exceptional songwriting talent. RAYE was chosen as the winner by a panel of expert judges.

“I am so so honoured and blown away, honestly to be given this prestigious award for Songwriter of the Year, it is my very first Brit award and I will treasure this trophy very much,” she said in a statement.

“I am so grateful to be recognised as a songwriter as this is a craft I am so passionate about and have been since I started my journey as a musician, and I’m very grateful to those who voted for me to have this award.”

The Songwriter of the Year win marks the latest chapter in an extraordinary success story for RAYE, real name Rachel Keen, who parted ways with her former label Polydor in July 2021 after accusing them of refusing to let her release her own music.

Less than two years later, she returned with her critically adored debut album, My 21st Century Blues, which charted at No 2 and has produced several hit singles, including “Escapism” ft 070 Shake.

 (Callum Walker Hutchinson)
(Callum Walker Hutchinson)

Tackling themes of sexual assault, misogyny, self-doubt and body dysmorphia, the album received five stars from The Independent’s albums critic Helen Brown, who hailed it as an “exceptional” debut and singled out “Ice Cream Man” as an example of her songwriting and vocal prowess.

“It’s an extraordinary performance in the centre of a very brave, strong record,” Brown wrote. “Hats off, Raye. These blues are smoking hot. I hope Polydor execs are feeling the burn.”

Damian Christian, managing director and president of promotions at Atlantic Records (part of Warner Music UK) and chair of the Brit Committee for 2024, said: “I'm delighted that RAYE has also been named Songwriter of the Year.

“RAYE has been such a prominent and respected songwriter for many years, so it's great to see her getting the recognition she deserves on the biggest stage. I'd like to congratulate her on this win and wish her all the best for Saturday night.”

RAYE at the Mercury Prize in 2023 (PA Wire)
RAYE at the Mercury Prize in 2023 (PA Wire)

As well as being up for many of the night’s top awards, RAYE will also perform at the O2 Arena in London, where the ceremony is being held on Saturday 2 March.

Other artists performing on the night include Kylie Minogue, who is the recipient of this year’s Icon Award, Dua Lipa, Calvin Harris and Ellie Goulding, Jungle, Rema and Tate McRae.

See the full list of nominations here.