The BRIT Award for Producer of the Year shines a light behind the scenes, recognising the talents who play a big part in a song or album's sound – and thus its success.
In past years, recipients of this prestigious award have included Calvin Harris, Adele's key collaborator Paul Hepworth, Eurythmics' Dave Stewart, and legend producer Brian Eno.
In 2020, the BRIT Award goes to Fred again.. – better known on his utility bills and to his family as Fred Gibson – who has been the driving force behind some of the UK's hugest hits in recent years.
While the name may not ring a bell immediately – pretty common along producers outside industry circles, unfortunately, as they do tend to stay in the background – then fear not, because the songs will grab you immediately. He's not just a producer, either; he's co-penned a fair few hits.
Fred cut his teeth among the greats, producing and playing on three albums by Eno • Hyde, a collaboration between iconic producer Brian Eno and Underworld's Karl Hyde, from 2013. He then moved on to produce tracks for Ellie Goulding, girlgroup M.O. – remember their Top 40 hit Who Do You Think Of? – and Little Mix.
It was 2018 where things really took off, however, when he played a part in not just one chart-topping single, but two – and, even better, he ever knocked himself off the top! Fred co-wrote George Ezra's summer smash Shotgun, which spent four (non-consecutive) weeks at the top, and ten weeks in the Top 3 alone! This would be impressive enough if he hadn't also been co-producer on the song George deposed: Solo, by Clean Bandit featuring Demi Lovato, whre he was credited, as he sometimes is because why not, FRED. He scored another Top 5 hit before the end of 2018, also as FRED, with Rita Ora's Let You Love Me.
Fred Again has worked with Rita Ora in the past
All good so far, but when you look at 2019, it's easy to see why the BRIT Award is coming Fred's way. Ed Sheeran's No.6 Collaborations Project had a big hand in that success – Fred produced all but three tracks of that album, and he even id backing vocals on a few! As a result, Fred appeared on three Ed Sheeran Number 1s in 2019: I Don't Care, with Justin Bieber; Beautiful People, featuring Khalid; and Take Me Back to London, featuring Stormzy. In fact, here's a mind-bending stat for you. Fred was at Number 1 for a total of 14 weeks in 2019 – so for 30% of the year. Wow.
Stormzy with his Number 1 Award for Own It (Kaylum Dennis)
Those chart-topping tracks aside, Fred landed five more Top 10s in 2019, including Ed's South of the Border and Mist's So High, feat Fredo. If that weren't enough, he had a total of twelve Top 40s in 2019, including Ellie Goulding's Sixteen and Westlife's comeback single Bettter Man.
And 2020 has got off to a pretty good start too. As well as producing to album tracks on Stormzy's second album Heavy is the Head, Fred also co-wrote and produced the very first Number 1 single of the new decade, which was, of course, Stormzy's Own It, featuring Ed Sheeran and Burna Boy.
Here's a breakdown of Fred again..'s hits that have appeared in the Official Singles Chart Top 40:
|LET YOU LOVE ME||RITA ORA||4|
|I DON'T CARE||ED SHEERAN & JUSTIN BIEBER||1|
|CROSS ME||ED SHEERAN/CHANCE/PNB||4|
|BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE||ED SHEERAN FT KHALID||1|
|SO HIGH||MIST FT FREDO||7|
|TAKE ME BACK TO LONDON||ED SHEERAN FT STORMZY||1|
|SOUTH OF THE BORDER||ED SHEERAN/CABELLO/CARDI B||4|
|OWN IT||STORMZY/ED SHEERAN/BURNA||1|
©2020 Official Charts Company. All rights reserved.
This year's BRIT Awards take place on February 18 and are broadcast on ITV.