This week is BRITs Week, so to mark the occasion we are providing an in-depth look at the campaigns behind each of this year’s 2017 BRIT Awards Albums Of The Year nominees.
Nominated this year are David Bowie’s Blackstar, Kano’s Made In The Manor, Skepta’s Konnichiwa, Michael Kiwanuka’s Love & Hate and The 1975’s I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It.
Below, Miles Leonard, chair, Parlophone, takes Music Week inside grime pioneers Kano’s much celebrated comeback album Made In The Manor.
Peak chart position: No.8
Sales to date: 53,595
“I’m really pleased that the BRITs and the Academy have recognised Made In The Manor for being a really important record for 2016, and Kano as a leader in UK urban music, but this is an album that reaches further than just the grime scene. I think the musicality within the album and the production has brought in a broader audience. It was six years since his last studio release, it’s a very long time. I felt so excited that Kano was still making music that felt urgent and essential and exciting without compromising in any way.
“To put my finger on just one particular moment [of the campaign] would be very difficult. That it was his first ever Top 10 album was hugely important, and that he won best album at the GRM Awards and MOBO Awards, and was also shortlisted for the Mercury Music Prize, and had a nomination at the NME Awards as well. His performance at Reading & Leeds was vital and, for me, seeing him play at the O2 Academy Brixton, which was sold out, was a real homecoming. We’ve had more Radio 1 play than he’s ever had before, the Live Lounge was important for us, as was getting Later... With Jools Holland very early on for reaching a new audience.
“We had to be very considerate of his audience who’ve supported him over the years. Kano led this
more than anyone, and I’d like to acknowledge his management as well, Richard Thomas. Kano knows his audience better than anyone. I think ‘no compromise’ and ‘retain integrity’ are words we’ve used throughout the campaign. For us, it’s about magnifying everything he’s done to date and just trying to give him the bigger reach without compromising who Kano is. Don’t get me wrong, Kano is hugely ambitious. He doesn’t see himself as, or want to just be, a specialist artist. He’s got big ambition.
“A BRIT award would be an incredible acknowledgment of an artist that’s delivered an incredible piece of music. Lyrically, I think he’s at his best – his portrayal of inner-city England is incredibly intelligent and smart. The BRITs shouldn’t just be about who is the most commercially successful artist of each year. The BRITs have to recognise brilliance in music, in artists, irrelevant of commercial success, and the fact he’s acknowledged in the male category and the album category shows that across the Academy at the BRITs there’s a wealth of people who have recognised him for that work.”