Tony Wadsworth on how the BRIT Awards improves lives and backs the next generation of talent

Tony Wadsworth on how the BRIT Awards improves lives and backs the next generation of talent

In the latest edition of our BRIT Trust diaries, BRIT Trust chair Tony Wadsworth highlights the strong links that bind the charity with the BRIT Awards and the many causes it supports…

As any BRIT Awards show approaches, and this is the 44th, I’m reminded of how remarkable our industry is.  Over the course of four decades we have established a globally recognised awards ceremony that has not only provided a platform for incredible British and international music stars, but has also created some of the most notable moments in our popular culture.  

I was fortunate enough to chair the organising committee of the BRIT Awards for three years at the start of the millennium. Now, as chair of the BRIT Trust, I have a very different vantage point. The Trust is the grateful recipient of funds that the awards show raises for the organisation, funds that help to fundamentally change lives. So, my thanks and those of our trustees go to all the people that make this possible – the brilliant artists who give their time, the labels who are so generous, the organising committee, Mastercard and all our valued media partners.

The BRIT Trust, which was Music Week’s Charity of the Year in 2021, was founded in 1989, and over the years has  distributed around £28 million, across 230 different recipients. So many wonderful organisations have been supported over the years – from music therapy charity Nordoff Robbins to Music Support, Key4Life, MIND, ELAM, the BRITs Apprentice Scheme, and so many others. 

The Trust’s mission is “to improve lives through the power of music and the creative arts” and in these challenging times, particularly for students, never has the need for an organisation like the BRIT Trust been greater. 

The biggest recipient of BRIT Trust funding is of course the BRIT School. Founded in 1991, over 10,000 students have now been through its doors in Croydon, many going on to win BRIT Awards, including such talents as Adele, Amy Winehouse, Jessie J, Katie Melua, Jade Bird, FKA Twigs, Kae Tempest, Raye and many, many more and, in the process, accounted for over 250 million album sales and their streaming equivalent. 

The BRIT name stands for values of empowerment and responsibility, respect and wellbeing, development, inclusion and collaboration

Tony Wadsworth

This year we’re delighted to see two further former students nominated for a BRIT – the amazing Cat Burns, who has three nods, including in the Rising Star category, and will be performing at the show on February 11, and Loyle Carner.

As the BPI recently announced, UK artists accounted for all the Top 10 of the end-of-year Official Singles Chart of 2022 – one of those artists being Cat Burns, who had the fourth biggest song of the year with Go. Her rise from BRIT School student to three-time BRIT nominee in the space of just a few years is the latest BRIT School success story and is nothing short of remarkable. 

But what I am particularly proud of, as part of the work that the Trust is able to do via the show and through the organisations it can then support, is the ethos and spirit of what the BRIT name stands for – its values of empowerment and responsibility, respect and wellbeing, development, inclusion and collaboration. 

There is a long history of BRIT School students not just working on production elements of the awards show but also on screen – dancing with the likes of Dua Lipa, Hugh Jackman and Stormzy, while last year 44 of Little Simz’s dancers were from the school. The awards show truly brings together talent of all passions and from all backgrounds, and in the process it provides creative job opportunities for young people as it is being delivered live.

The BRIT Awards celebrates many things – the performing artists on the night, their success, the power and pleasure their music brings, the UK industry’s commercial and cultural impact around the world. But, behind the scenes, there is much more, and The BRIT Trust thanks and honours all those who make the show possible because it means that we are able to, in particularly challenging times, direct the money to the deserving and inspiring organisations that are a privilege for us to support.

Learn more about the work of The BRIT Trust here.


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