About time the UK's diverse music is recognised, says Biffy Clyro's Simon Neil

Biffy Clyro’s Simon Neil said “it’s about time” the diverse music of Britain was recognised and celebrated as he walked the red carpet ahead of the Brit Awards on Wednesday evening.

The annual ceremony, held at London’s O2 Arena, kicked off with early arrivals from the Scottish rock band, who are nominated for British Group, and Critics’ Choice winner Rag’n'Bone Man.

On the topic of diversity, Simon likened grime music to that of the breakthrough punk movement of the 1970s and praised Britain for its wide range of musical styles.

Artists such as Mercury Prize-winner Skepta, Stormzy and Kano are among those representing the grime genre at this year’s Brit Awards.

(Ian West/PA)

Simon told the Press Association: “It was kind of similar when punk came along, I think the mainstream tried to ignore it and it’s the same with grime.

“It’s great to see Kano and Skepta up for British Album of the Year because those records are the best made this year.”

He said, jokingly: “Apart from ours, which is the best record made any year, ever.”

Simon added: “Britain is so diverse musically, never mind just culturally.

“It’s so important to represent, and if we don’t we’re doing ourselves a disservice, so it’s about time.”

Chart-topping singer Rag’n'Bone Man, who is also nominated in the British Breakthrough Act category, said that, in terms of diversity, “good music speaks for itself, regardless”.

(Ian West/PA)

The stars on the red carpet shared their excitement for the ceremony’s impending tribute to George Michael, who died on Christmas Day at the age of 53.

Simon said: “George is a total legend, I love the way he conducted himself throughout his career, he’s been great with charity, he never really chased fame, he just did what he wanted to do, he made the music he wanted to, and at the tail end of what was a terrible year last year it is so important to value people like George Michael.

“I don’t think there will ever be people like George Michael or David Bowie ever again, it’s just the nature of the world changing but we love George and I’m sure the tribute will do him proud tonight.”

A spokeswoman for the Brits confirmed that a tribute for the late pop star would take place, but did not give any further details.

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