Lorde wins Brit Award

New Zealand singer Lorde has won another international accolade, taking home the Brit Award for International Female today.

She beat out Katy Perry, Janelle Monae, Pink and Lady Gaga who were also nominated in the category.

"I am still so new to winning awards like this that my brain feels like exploding every time it happens, so forgive me," she said.

She gave a nod to the other "strong, talented and inspiring women in this category, because it's amazing to have competition that healthy."

The 17-year-old Devonport schoolgirl described the win as a "priceless surprise", a term sponsor Mastercard had asked all journalists to use in their coverage on Twitter raising questions if she was paid to do so or mocking the campaign.

this is me being stoked winning a brit look at my cute chubby face pic.twitter.com/34QuVKJYYk

— Lorde (@lordemusic) February 19, 2014

me for the brits instagram hahaha pic.twitter.com/0KF1zPl4mV

— Lorde (@lordemusic) February 19, 2014

Backstage she revealed her craziest moment of the night. "Beyonce is always amazing and Prince walked past me in the corridor; that was the craziest moment ever. Sharing some air with Prince...no big deal," she quipped.

The Brit awards were held at London's O2 Arena, where Lorde, dressed in a long black sequined dress, performed a version of Royals with English electronic duo Disclosure.

Host James Corden described the duo as ''two of the biggest new acts to come through this year''.

But it was David Bowie who stole the show at the Brit music awards without even showing up, while Arctic Monkeys took home two big trophies.

The 67-year-old Bowie, who is enjoying a renaissance with his first album in a decade, The Next Day, was named British male artist of the year.

The trophy was accepted by supermodel Kate Moss. She was sent, presenter Noel Gallagher joked, as New York-based Bowie's "representative on Earth".

Moss wore one of Bowie's Ziggy Stardust outfits from the 1970s as she read out an enigmatic speech from the musician. Bowie quoted a Japanese myth and declared himself "completely delighted" to be named best male - "But I am, aren't I, Kate?" The speech ended with an appeal to Scots not to vote for independence in a referendum later this year: "Scotland, please stay with us."

The evening's biggest winner was rough-edged northern English rock band Arctic Monkeys, who won album of the year for AM and were named best British group for a third time.

"There's the 15 quid we put on One Direction to win down the drain," lead singer Alex Turner quipped.

The band was one of the few winners not to dutifully thank their label and management.

"Rock 'n' roll," Turner said, accepting the album prize. "It seems like it has faded away sometimes, but it will never die."

Katy Perry, Pharrell Williams, Bruno Mars, Nile Rodgers, Arctic Monkeys and Beyonce were among the performers during the flashy Brits ceremony at London's 02 Arena. Music legend Prince - who is in the midst of a string of British dates - showed up with his band 3RDEYEGIRL to present the award for best British female artist to singer Ellie Goulding.

Bowie aside, the evening was a polished if predictable showcase of British musical talent which spread its prizes widely.

Rock band Bastille was named British breakthrough act, and British single of the year went to drum 'n' bass quartet Rudimental for Waiting All Night.

One Direction took the Global Success prize, rewarding worldwide sales, for a second year running. That's no surprise - the category was introduced last year to recognise the boy band's world's domination.

Bruno Mars took the trophy for international male solo artist of the year.  French electronic tricksters Daft Punk were named international group. The prize was accepted by disco maestro Nile Rodgers, who worked on their global hit Get Lucky.

Rodgers joked that some people had said "those old-school guys can't make a funky record. I guess they were wrong."

Britain's music industry sees the Brits - the UK equivalent of the Grammys - as an important stage for new talent.

The awards bash, hosted by actor-comedian James Corden, featured a slew of rising British contenders - among them Bastille, Disclosure, Rudimental and Goulding - after a couple of years in which Adele and One Direction ruled the roost.

The Brits had a longtime reputation for haphazard presentation, but have smartened up in recent years as a showcase for British sound and style, with a sprinkling of big-name international acts.

This year's slim black-and-white Brits statuette was designed by royal-favourite hat-maker Philip Treacy, the latest in a line of UK designers drafted in to tweak the awards' image.

Performances by Arctic Monkeys, accompanied by giant faming letters AM; Katy Perry, riffing on Cleopatra during a rendition of Dark Horse; and Bruno Mars singing smooth hit Treasure were slick if a tad tame.

The highlights included Beyonce in a sparkling green gown as bright as her star wattage, effortlessly in a different class over her own as she performed XO.

And the show closed with a funk-fest from Rodgers and Pharrell Williams, a couple of masters of production and performance.

Most winners are decided by a ballot of some 1000 music-industry members, with several decided by public vote - including a best video category decided by social-media ballot during the broadcast. It went, unsurprisingly, to One Direction.

Winners of the 2014 Brit Awards:

British Female - Ellie Goulding

International Female - Lorde

British Male - David Bowie

International Male - Bruno Mars

British Group - Arctic Monkeys

British Breakthrough Act - Bastille

Critics' Choice - Sam Smith

Global Success - One Direction

British Single - Rudimental, Waiting All Night

International Group - Daft Punk

British Album - Arctic Monkeys, AM

British Video - One Direction, Best Song Ever.

British Producer Of The Year - Flood & Alan Moulder

The Brit Awards will be screened tonight at 8.30pm on UKTV.

-with AAP and AP