4 Brit noms smile on Allen


British newcomer Lily Allen scored a leading four nominations Tuesday for the 2007 Brit Awards, whose nominees reflect Britain's bumper crop of new talent.

Allen is up for British breakthrough act and British female solo and also British album for "Alright, Still" (Regal), her debut disc, which is certified platinum in the U.K. (300,000 units sold). Her summery song "Smile" is up for British single, a category that for the first time will be voted on by the public.

Newcomers James Morrison and Corinne Bailey Rae each scored a trio of nominations. Polydor-signed Morrison is in the running for British male, British breakthrough and British single awards, while Good Groove/EMI's Bailey Rae garnered nominations for female, breakthrough and single categories.

Fiction-signed Scottish/Irish band Snow Patrol is up in the album and single categories and will contend for the coveted group award with Arctic Monkeys, Kasabian, Muse and Razorlight.

The Killers, Scissor Sisters and Gnarls Barkley figure strongly in the international categories.

The Brit Awards are set for Feb. 14 at Earls Court 1 in London. Industry executives said the nominations, unveiled at a launch party at the Hammersmith Palais in London, indicate that Britain's musical future has arrived.

"With so many new faces listed, and quite a few established names absent, this has to be one of the freshest Brits lineups since the awards began over 25 years ago," said Gary Rolf, head of music at HMV U.K.

Veteran singer Robbie Williams will have only one chance to extend his lead on the all-time winners list, with a nod for British live act. Williams' former boy band Take That capped its 2006 comeback with a nomination in the single category for the U.K. chart-topper "Patience" (Polydor).

Since its inauguration in 1977, the Brit Awards have matured into a ceremony widely considered the jewel in the British record industry's crown.

"Alongside the Grammys, it's the show that excites the artists, the industry and the consumer — starting with the nomination process and leading to speculation about the results and what's going to happen on the night," Universal Music Operations president David Joseph said. "This all results in genuine uplift in sales and profile that can last for many weeks."

Lars Brandle is global news editor at Billboard.