Sam Smith heads Brit nominations
Sam Smith heads the nominations for this year's Brit Awards after being shortlisted for five awards, narrowly ahead of Ed Sheeran and George Ezra who are up for four apiece.
Soul singer Sam, 22, is in the running for prizes such as best male, best album and best newcomer at the prize bash to be staged next month - a year after he collected the Critics' Choice title.
Rock duo Royal Blood will compete for a trio of awards, while singer Jess Glynne also finds her name on the shortlists three times as a guest vocalist on singles by Route 94 and Clean Bandit.
Sam, who has become one of the most played acts in the world over the past year, goes up against Ed, George and Paolo Nutini for best male as well as Damon Albarn who collects his first Brit nomination in his own right after years of acclaim for his output with acts such as Blur and Gorillaz.
Sam's release In The Lonely Hour lines up for the best album award against Ed's x, Alt-J's This Is All Yours, George's Wanted On Voyage and Royal Blood's self-titled debut.
Bosses of the event - officially called the Brit Awards 2015 with MasterCard - have reshaped the ceremony in recent years to make the album prize the climax of the night.
Sam, who first came to attention as guest vocalist on Naughty Boy's La La La, also competes for best newcomer and his single Stay With Me competes for best single and best video.
Nominations were announced at an event staged at ITV Studios in London this evening which also included performances by Clean Bandit and this year's Critics' Choice winner James Bay, who had already been announced.
Ed also competes for best single and best video for Thinking Out Loud, while George is up for best breakthrough act and best single for his track Budapest.
Between them, Sam, Ed and George have sold almost 4 million copies of the albums they released last year in the UK alone.
Take That were among the omissions from the nominations with their comeback as a trio failing to pick up any nods.
Although many of the British categories were dominated by male artists, FKA Twigs and Ella Henderson were among the female performers who picked up two nominations. They are both up for solo British female along with Jessie Ware, Lily Allen and Paloma Faith.
The British group category sees bass and drums duo Royal Blood taking on One Direction, Coldplay, Alt-J and Clean Bandit.
The international group category sees US act The War On Drugs - whose album Lost In The Dream was seen by many critics as a highpoint of 2014 - taking on Swedish folk duo First Aid Kit, along with more chart friendly names Foo Fighters, 5 Seconds Of Summer and The Black Keys.
Taylor Swift - who will be among the acts performing when the awards are staged on February 25 at the O2 Arena in London - has been shortlisted for best international female along with Beyonce, Lana Del Rey, Sia and St Vincent.
Brits chairman Max Lousada said: "This year's nominations reflect a vintage year for British talent. The mix of new and established acts, the variety of genres represented and the level of global success many of these acts are enjoying shows UK music at its very best and sets the stage for a fantastic show in February."
Geoff Taylor, chief executive of the Brit Awards and music industry body BPI, said: "These nominations capture the buzz around new British music right now, and acknowledge the arrival of a new generation of talent that will ensure the continuing success of British music around the world."