BRIT Awards chairman Jason Iley has told Music Week the BRITs Icon award could be opened up to international acts from next year.
Robbie Williams picked up the Icon award at this year’s ceremony, performing a medley of tracks from current album The Heavy Entertainment Show and his 2002 hit Feel. The previous winners of the award were David Bowie last year and Elton John in 2014.
Up until 2012, the Outstanding Contribution To British Music award was a regular feature of the ceremony, with the likes of The Beatles, The Who, Queen, Oasis and Blur all being honoured. John, Bowie and Williams had all previously won that award as well, with the only non-British winners coming from Ireland in the form of U2 (2001) and Bob Geldof (2005) and the American members of Fleetwood Mac (1998).
But now, Iley believes the time could be right for international acts to be given the gong.
“We need to look at that in the future,” he said, speaking before Wednesday’s ceremony. “So far, it's only been for British acts but there's no reason next year that it can't be for an international act. We'll look at that, but I think we have to open it up.”
When asked if BRITs organisers were running out of suitable British acts, Iley said: “This is the 37th show. I'm not sure how many Outstanding Contributions there have been over the 37 years, but there must be quite a few. I'd be happy to see it go to an international act next year – or a domestic one. Coldplay haven't had it yet and they continue to sell a lot of records.”
Iley, who signed Williams to Sony Music last year, also praised the former Take That singer’s career.
“Robbie has won 18 BRITs over his time and he's sold over 70 million albums - and he's only 43!” he said. “From Take That to a solo artist, he's written and produced some of the greatest songs the country's heard and I'm delighted he's won the Icon award.”
The Heavy Entertainment Show is BPI-certified Platinum and has sold 321,993 copies to date, according to the Official Charts Company.
“I love working with him and love working with IE Management,” said Iley. “It was incredibly sad when David [Enthoven, Williams’ co-manager with Tim Clark] passed. I've known Tim and David for a number of years and working with IE is incredible.
“You can have a conversation with Robbie, explain why we're doing something, he's a seasoned pro so he understands it and there's no bullshit with Robbie. Everything we've asked him to do to support this campaign, he's been great. I absolutely feel incredibly lucky in my life to have worked with Robbie Williams.”
You can read the full interview with Iley here.