With the 2017 BRIT Awards almost upon us, Music Week is taking an in-depth look at this year’s BRITs Album Of The Year nominees.
Up for the coveted award 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.
Here, Sam Burton, manager, Boy Better Know talks us through the campaign behind Skepta's Konnichiwa.
Label: Boy Better Know
Peak chart position: No.2
Sales to date: 118,503
"Skepta’s up for three BRIT awards and he deserves to be. If you look at what he’s accomplished with this album, there should be no question that he’s nominated. JME summed it up best on the documentary we did with Apple Music [last year]. He said the album defines a point in time, for this music, this culture and this artist. It was the right album for Skepta to put out in 2016 when everybody was looking at him and the world he’s from. It sums it up perfectly. We didn’t go into the campaign with any kind of additional strategy; we don’t look at charts or who’s releasing what and when, we didn’t know Radiohead was out the same week or that we’d sell more than Beyoncé and Drake that week.
“It was a two-year campaign leading into the album, which is kind of unheard of. It started with That’s Not Me in 2014, then It Ain’t Safe at the back end of 2014. Then Shutdown was the biggest single, in 2015, then later that year there was Ladies Hit Squad and then the one taking you into the album in May 2016 was Man. That, as an album campaign, is nuts. Who does that in this day and age?
“The way BBK operates is very much artist to fans via social media, and Skepta’s album was the first one we released worldwide. We had a new distribution situation where Sony bought Essential, who we’ve always used, and we really capitalised on that opportunity. We were in Japan the day it came out, we went to Tower Records in Tokyo and Skepta was plastered up everywhere and supporters were waiting to meet him. Then we jumped on a plane to Toronto to do a show and the posters were all over the town centre. I’ve sat down and signed off on every last piece of paper, that’s our way.
“This is the first time we’ve been up for a BRIT so who knows what it’ll do. The Mercury win accelerated sales, the album was silver at that point and it’s now gold. People have said it’s the same situation with the BRITs, if not more. He’s playing live on the night and Skepta’s one of the best performers this country’s got, we’ve proved that quite a few times. I’m sure he’ll put another big performance in. This is a real moment. Black British culture has never been as big globally as it is now. I remember when grime started and it was looked down upon and people said it wouldn’t last, we’re in 2017 now talking about an artist nominated for three BRITs, he’s nabbed a Mercury, gone gold, and all independently. And he ain’t stopping.”