A-Team and Lego House singer Ed Sheeran heads the field for Brit Awards with four nominations

Singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran heads the field for this year's Brit Awards with four nominations.

It is yet another major accolade for the Suffolk star, who won Norwich's Next Big Thing in 2008 and now has three top five hits to his name.

He tops the shortlists ahead of Adele and Jessie J, who are both up for three prizes.

Florence + The Machine and Coldplay are each up for a pair of prizes at the event, to be held at London's O2 Arena on February 21.

Hotly tipped Emeli Sande has already won one trophy before this year's show - the Critics' Choice Award - and stands to win another as best British breakthrough act, competing against Jessie J, Sheeran, Anna Calvi and The Vaccines.

Sheeran has landed plenty of critical acclaim and airplay in the past year with singles such as The A Team and Lego House, as well as topping the album chart with his debut, called +.

The 20-year-old, from Framlingham, goes up against Noel Gallagher, James Blake, James Morrison and Professor Green for the best British male title and is one of 10 acts in contention for best British single.

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Best British album - which has now become the centrepiece of the Brits - will be fought over between Sheeran's +, 21 by Adele, Mylo Xyloto by Coldplay, Ceremonials by Florence and the Mercury Prize-winning Let England Shake by PJ Harvey.

The best British female category features Adele, Florence, Jessie J, Laura Marling and Kate Bush. Bush, 53, figures in the shortlist for the first time in six years, on the back of her 50 Words For Snow album which came out in November. She has been nominated for the best female prize a total of seven times but last won it 25 years ago.

Coldplay are up for the best British group title - a category they have previously won three times - and face Elbow, Kasabian, Arctic Monkeys and Chase & Status.

Other acts with two nominations are Bon Iver and Aloe Blacc, who both figure in the international categories.

Coldplay are the only group with more than one nomination.

Nominations for the awards - officially called the The Brit Awards 2012 with MasterCard - were announced at an event at London's Savoy Hotel yesterday evening.

Sande said it had been 'amazing' to get the Critics' Choice Award and she wanted the public to hear more of her music.

'I want to get it out there. I think people might be quite surprised when they hear it,' she said.

Jessie J said she had not given Sande any advice, adding: 'I don't think I need to, I think she knows what she's doing.

'I think she's got an amazing voice. She's a lovely girl and we've just spoken about working together.'

Three-time Brits host James Corden said he was looking forward to getting 'the best seat in the house' again on the night.

The Gavin And Stacey funnyman said: 'You know if you're a music fan you've got the best seat in the house.

'You get to watch them rehearse and you're around the whole atmosphere.'

Corden said he was looking forward to seeing Blur, who are playing an 11-minute set at the end of the show.

He said: 'I think they are going to be really special. It's going to be amazing.

'It's going to be incredible just to see Blur for 11 minutes.'

The shortlisted acts will be competing for a trophy designed by pop artist Sir Peter Blake, renowned as the man behind the sleeve for The Beatles' Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

The event - to be broadcast live on ITV1 - will also feature performances from Adele, Bruno Mars, Coldplay, Sheeran, Florence, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds and Rihanna.

Blur have already been named the winners of the Outstanding Contribution to Music award for this year.

Gennaro Castaldo, of music retailer HMV, said: 'It's probably fair to say there are no real surprises among the nominations, with a wide range of artists and musical styles represented to reflect a vibrant UK music scene. Adele, Jessie J, Ed Sheeran and Coldplay were always likely to pick up a handful each given their huge success this year, and they can now be expected to go on and win in at least one of their shortlisted categories.'

He said most nominees will expect some sort of sales uplift on the back of their inclusion.

'It's hard to imagine who in the UK doesn't have a copy of Adele's album, but undoubtedly she'll enjoy another run at the top of the charts after this.'

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