Entertainment, Film and Music
The MOBOs at the Echo Arena Liverpool
THE biggest names in urban music celebrated what was being heralded as the most successful MOBO Awards yet. The cream of UK popular musical talent swept the board at this year’s awards at the ECHO arena.
Despite the rain and the cold winds, the acts received raucous welcomes to Liverpool from hundreds of fans gathered alongside the red carpet, positioned to overlook the Mersey waterfront. Some had waited overnight, wrapped in duvets, to catch a glimpse of their favourite acts.
The warm welcome was extended to BBC Radio One Breakfast host Nick Grimshaw, teen sensation Conor Maynard, American soul star Trey Songz and a collection of Team GB Olympians.
Scottish singer and songwriter Emeli Sande was the biggest winner, walking away with three awards for Best R&B/Soul, Best Album and Best Female Act from an impressive five nominations.
The 25-year-old former medical student said: “I’m overwhelmed. I really didn’t expect to win three – and getting the Album of the Year was a big thing for me – so I feel like all the hard work pays off when you get acknowledgement like that.”
Opening the show in spectacular style, she had the crowd on its feet for her single My Kind Of Love.
The recently-married star said tying the knot had helped keep her feet on the ground.
“Being married is great,” she said. “When everything’s going crazy in my career, it’s nice to feel secure at home. I feel very grounded.”
Talking about her plans over the next few months, she said: “Coming up, the November tour starts, which is the biggest tour I’ve done in the UK so far and, after that, Christmas. I’ve been writing for a lot of people, so I’ll be starting to think about new material and things I want to write.”
Motown legend Dionne Warwick was the guest of honour and collected the Lifetime Achievement Award for her tireless contribution to the music industry over a 50-year career.
“It means an awful lot to me,” she said. “It means I’m being thought of in a very, very special way and it’s always a pleasure to be thought of in that way.”
She said she was a big fan of Sande. “I really, really love her voice. She’s wonderful – she’s a star.”
Hosts, TV presenter Miquita Oliver and actor Adam Deacon presided over events, assisted by a selection of guest presenters. Singer Rebecca Ferguson, heptathelete Katarina Johnson Thompson and actresses Jennifer Metcalfe, Jorgie Porter and Chelsee Healey all gave awards away at the ceremony.
Hip hop star Plan B was on hand to pick up his trophies for Best Male Act and Best Hip Hop/Grime which he collected from rising star, Rita Ora, who jetted in especially from the US leg of her tour to pick up Best Newcomer.
The wins for Plan B – real name Ben Drew – made up for Thursday’s Mercury Prize which saw him lose out to Alt-J.
Chart toppers JLS arrived with competition winners on a specially chartered flight to collect the MOBO Award for Best Video for Do You Feel What I Feel and got the crowd on their feet with a performance of their new single, Hottest Girl in the World.
X factor finalist Misha B presented Rachel Kerr with Best Gospel and D’Banj was awarded Best African Act. Best Jazz went to Zoe Rahman, who collected the accolade from Delilah and previous double MOBO Award winner, YolanDa Brown.
After an outstanding year of success, Nicki Minaj beat stiff competition to take Best International Act, while Sean Paul was awarded Best Reggae act.
The event – now in its 17th year – was interspersed with a series of performances from special guests including rapper Wiley, who shared the stage with Skepta and Ms D to perform his new release Can You Hear Me and number one single, Heatwave.
Misha B reworked her debut single Home Run, while Angel and a cast of fire dancers offered up a super smooth version of his single, Wonderful,
But the performance of the night came from British urban star Labrinth, who was awarded Best Song for Earthquake, featuring Tinie Tempah. He treated the room to a mash up of his biggest hits, starting with a stripped back acoustic performance at the piano on the small stage before sprinting across the packed arena for a show-stopping performance of Earthquake, complete with lasers and plumes of dry ice.
Speaking after the show, he said: “A couple of years ago I was just in my bedroom working on music and now some big artists want to work with me. It’s just been an amazing year.”
In the emotional climax of the show, TLC’s Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins and Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas collected the Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music. Members of the Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes’s family jetted in especially to celebrate the honour on her behalf. The singer, who had previously hosted the MOBO awards in London, died in a car accident 10 years ago.
The pair introduced up-and-coming girl trio Stooshe, who performed their reworking of TLC’s Waterfalls, under a working shower.
As glitter cannons shot pink sparkle dust over the crowd, the lights went down on the biggest celebration of British urban music this year. The ECHO arena can rightly congratulate itself on one of the biggest and best MOBOs yet. It just goes to show that when it comes to hosting a party, Liverpool is hard to beat.