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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 19 February, 2003, 14:58 GMT
Debut stars scoop Brits nominations
Ms Dynamite
Ms Dynamite at Monday's awards launch
Two rising stars from the UK music scene, hip-hop artist The Streets and garage star Ms Dynamite, are the frontrunners for this year's Brit Awards with four nominations each.

They have overshadowed more established artists like Robbie Williams, who has one nomination, and Kylie Minogue, who is not up for any awards despite being the star of last year's show.

The Streets (above) - 4
Ms Dynamite - 4
Gareth Gates - 3
Norah Jones - 3
Pink - 3
Sugababes - 3
Will Young - 3
With three nominations, pop favourites Sugababes, Will Young, Gareth Gates and Pink and jazz singer Norah Jones are all near the top of the list.

The nominations for the Brits - the UK's biggest music awards - were announced at a launch party at London's Abbey Road studios, and the prizes will be handed out at a star-studded ceremony in February.

Ms Dynamite, who has dominated the Mercury Music Prize and Mobo awards during her rise to stardom, is nominated for best British female.

The 21-year-old Londoner will have to see off competition from Sophie Ellis Bextor, Beverley Knight, Alison Moyet and Beth Orton.

Ms Dynamite - real name Niomi McLean-Daley - is also in the running for best British album, best British urban act and best British breakthrough artist.

She said she was "really quite overwhelmed" at leading the nominations.

"I didn't ever expect it. I thought maybe one, but I didn't think I'd be nominated for four," she said. "It is quite surprising actually."

But she refused to answer questions on rumours that she is pregnant.

So Solid's Harvey: Answered gun critics
The Streets - a stage name for Birmingham hip-hop artist Mike Skinner - will face Robbie Williams in the battle to be named best British male.

Also nominated are Badly Drawn Boy, Craig David and David Gray.

Skinner, who has been dubbed the English Eminem for his honest lyrics about life in the English suburbs, has topped many critics' list for the best album of 2002 with his debut Original Pirate Material.

It is up for best British album, and he faces Ms Dynamite for best British urban act and best British breakthrough artist.

The urban category is a new award, and one nominee, Beverley Knight, said she was not sure what "urban" actually meant.

"I think it's a really nice marketing phrase right now," she said.

Red Hot Chili Peppers: Up for two Brits
Fellow nominees So Solid Crew used the launch party to answer claims that their music contributed to rising gun crime.

MC Harvey said: "If you've listened to our music in the last year, we ain't been singing about guns.

"When we first came out, we were just talking about what was going on on the streets, there was violence."

Pop Idol runner-up Gareth Gates has two nominations in the best British single category, where four of the five nominations are for artists created through TV talent shows.

In the international section, Eminem, Norah Jones, Alicia Keys, Pink and the Red Hot Chili Peppers will battle it out for best album.

Best international female will be contended by Missy Elliot, Norah Jones, Alicia Keys, Avril Lavigne and Pink - but there is no room for Kylie Minogue, who hit the headlines with her raunchy performance at last year's ceremony.

Ceremony changes

In the male category, Beck, Eminem, Moby, Nelly and Bruce Springsteen are shortlisted.

This year's awards will be handed out at London's Earls Court on 20 February, with TV presenter Davina McCall hosting the show.

There are several changes to this year's ceremony, including a new seating plan seating and alcohol available backstage rather than throughout the ceremony.

Organisers have opted for theatre-style rows of seating instead of having guests sitting at tables as in recent years.

The ceremony, which will give singer Tom Jones a lifetime achievement award, will also be broadcast on television on the same night the awards are handed out, rather than the following day.



The BBC's David Sillito
"The Brits isn't about talent it's about success"

The Streets
Listen to a clip of Don't Mug Yourself

Ms Dynamite
Listen to a clip of Krazy Krush

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