Sam Smith thinks it is "a shame" there are no women nominated for Best Artist at the BRIT Awards.
The 'Unholy' hitmaker - who is non-binary and uses gender neutral pronouns - was one of the first musicians to call for the ceremony to be "reflective", resulting in organisers making the event the first major UK awards to abolish gendered categories but they still think there is a "long way to go" after the shortlist for this year's prestigious prize only featured male nominees.
Sam said of the controversy: “It is a shame.
“Things are moving forward, but it’s obvious it’s not there yet. From seeing that [best artist] list, there is still a long way to go.
“It’s incredibly frustrating. “It feels like it should be easy to do.
"[The BRITs] just have to celebrate everyone because this is not just about artists getting awards. Awards are for kids watching on TV, thinking, ‘I can make music like this.’ When I was young, if I’d seen more queer people at these awards it would have lit my heart. Awards are there to inspire.”
The 30-year-old singer thinks there are a lot of female artists who should have made the shortlist, instead of just Harry Styles, Stormzy, George Ezra, Central Cee and Fred Again being left to contend for the prize.
Asked which women should have been shortlisted, they said: “Cat Burns. Anne Marie. Florence Welch. There’s so much incredible female talent in the UK — they should be on that list.”
Meanwhile, while Sam believes their new album 'Gloria' is their most authentic record to date, they insisted they were never "inauthentic", just not as at ease with themself.
Sam said: “I’ve always been authentic.
"I just think asking a 24 year old to be their 100 per cent self in front of 20,000 people was never going to happen. I showed 70 per cent of who I was then and a lot of that has to do with me being gay. As I got older, though, I realised there’s no shame. I wasn’t being inauthentic — you just keep some things to yourself until you’re ready.”