South Devon singer Ben Howard wins two Brit Awards
South Devon’s own Ben Howard last night landed the Brit Award for best British breakthrough act – and promptly followed it with a second, for best British male solo artist, his second prize of the night.
The Totnes-raised singer-songwriter who studied journalism at Falmouth College earned the accolade for his debut album, Every Kingdom.
Ben, 25, was among of host of talented performers to collect one of the coveted Brit Award trophies, this year given a spotty design makeover by controversial artist Damien Hirst, who has a home and restaurant in North Devon – not to mention donating a 25-ton bronze statue of a heavily pregnant woman holding a sword (Verity) to liven up the seafront in Ilfracombe.
And the band opening the show last night also had a Westcountry connection – Devon rockers Muse, who are from Teignmouth, were backed by a 60-piece string section as they performed their track Supremacy.
But the Westcountry star of the night was undoubtedly Ben, who, collecting the prize from Radio 1 breakfast show host Nick Grimshaw, said: “I’m not very good at speeches. I’m not very good at dancing.” And thanking his mother, he said: “She’s rung a lot of old friends to ask them to vote.”
Ben had found little mainstream success until his inclusion on the Mercury Music Prize shortlist last year. But it helped him to gain wider recognition and he reached number six in the album charts with Every Kingdom.
Ben Howard collects his second Brit Award, for British Male Solo, during last night’s ceremony in London