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South Devon based singer and songwirter, Ben Howard scooped TWO BRIT awards last night, one for Best Male Solo Artist and the other for British Breakthrough Act – voted for by a public vote. The Totnes based singer Ben, 25, was among of host of UK star performers to collect one of the coveted Brit Award trophies, this year given a spotty design makeover by controversial artist Damien Hirst, who has a home and restaurant in North Devon.

His first album, Every Kingdom and its recent follow-up, The Burgh Island EP, was recorded in a converted barn out in the Devonshire countryside. “I think people can hear that when the band and I play, we really mean it. I have always written songs that draw on my own emotions, and I don’t want to try and hide any of it. I guess everyone relates to raw emotion.” Ben explains.

Ben, who, when collecting the prize from Radio 1 breakfast show host Nick Grimshaw, said: “I’m not very good at speeches. I’m not very good at dancing.” And thanking his mother, he said: “She’s rung a lot of old friends to ask them to vote.”

Ben had found little mainstream success until his inclusion on the Mercury Music Prize shortlist last year. But it helped him to gain wider recognition and he reached number six in the album charts with Every Kingdom. Another South Devon band, Muse, who are from Teignmouth, opened this years BRITS with their track Supremacy, backed by a 60-piece string section.