The singer’s attendance and nomination at the BRITs came after her successful campaign to have the rules changed. Sawayama – who was born in Japan but has lived in the UK for 26 years and has indefinite leave to remain in the country – launched a grassroots campaign that saw the BPI agree to change the rules for the BRITs, allowing artists without British citizenship to be eligible for the awards if they’ve resided in the country for five years or more.
“It’s so insane, and it has been such an emotional journey since the #sawayamaisbritish that was kicked off last year,” she told NME tonight from the red carpet. “To be here nominated for the Rising Star Award is crazy. I always feel that I’m so fortunate to have such a vocal fanbase online, but I always think about the people who have missed out and have at least felt they had the right to be considered for a nomination.
“Who knows how many people this will open things up to? I’m just so excited to hear their stories.”
Now, her attention is turning to the follow-up to her acclaimed 2020 debut ‘SAWAYAMA‘.
“I’ve been writing my second album,” she continued. “I’ve been busy – scribbling away. I was panicking about what to write because, like a lot of people, I’ve just been at home – but I found something to write and since then I’ve just been going for it. I think I’ve got an album’s worth of material, but I’m just going to keep writing.”
Just like with the record’s predecessor, Sawayama said that she is having a lot of fun on writing her sophomore album with “not locking herself into one genre”.
“I’ve been listening to a lot of Garbage, prog rock, grunge, a lot early ’00s Britpop, ‘Sound Of The Underground’ by Girls Aloud, a lot of the Xenomania stuff, and even ’90s rave as well. Plus garage and stadium rock – everything!”
Rina Sawayama will be heading out on a UK tour this autumn.
Check back at NME for more news, interviews and much more from the BRITs 2021.