September 11, 2008 / 6:17 PM / in 10 years

British female artists top MOBO nominations

LONDON (Reuters) - British female artists dominate Britain’s Music of Black Origin (MOBO) nominations this year, with R&B singer Estelle in the running for five prizes, it was announced on Thursday.

Singer Estelle performs at the Mercury Prize awards, in London on September 9, 2008. REUTERS/Kieran Doherty

The 28-year-old singer from London, who went to number one with “American Boy” in March, is up for best song, best female artist, best R&B/soul, best video and best album.

Her album “Shine” was edged out for British music’s Mercury Prize earlier this week by rock outsiders Elbow.

Former X-Factor winner Leona Lewis was nominated in three categories, including best female and best album.

The singer has already enjoyed unprecedented success with “Spirit,” becoming the first British solo artist to go straight to No. 1 on U.S charts with a debut album.

Rapper Wiley is also up for three awards: best song, best male singer and best hip hop.

For a second year running, R&B rapper Dizzee Rascal is the hot favorite to take the prestigious best male award, but will face tough competition from Wiley, Jay Sean, Sway and Taio Cruz.

Among the best international category nominees are Akon, Alicia Keys, Chris Brown, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Mariah Carey, Mary J Blige, Ne-Yo, Rihanna and Usher.

Spice Girl Mel B will co-host the awards, now in their 13th year, at the Wembley Arena on October 15. alongside Rev Run, founding member of hip-hop outfit Run DMC.

“I have witnessed the rise of Estelle and Leona Lewis in the U.S, and 2008 has been an incredible year for Music of Black Origin on both sides of the Atlantic,” Mel B said in a statement.

MOBO Chief Executive Kanya King added: “Hip Hop and R&B have emerged as popular music, not just genres beloved by a minority, and British artists are at the forefront.

“It’s fantastic to see artists like Estelle, who MOBO championed early on, get their due.

“I’d like to call on the music industry to keep up the good work and capitalize on this. There are still barriers out there.”

The MOBOs were established in 1996 to celebrate black music, such as soul, hip hop and reggae, performed by artists from any background.

Reporting by Anna Legge; Editing by Steve Addison and Paul Casciato

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