The BRIT Awards championed the solo artist on Thursday with nominations dominated by the likes of Ed Sheeran, Adele and Jessie J.

The annual honours will be handed out at London's O2 Arena on February 21, and leading the pack is English singer-songwriter Sheeran who has yet to match the profile of his female rivals.

The 20-year-old, whose debut album + topped the UK charts and has sold nearly a million copies in Britain so far, scooped four nominations, including the coveted British Album of the Year prize sponsored by MasterCard.

He is also in the running for British male solo artist, British breakthrough act and British single for The A Team.

Just behind him with three nominations apiece are Adele, last year's global chart queen, and Jessie J, the 2011 winner of the Critics' Choice award for rising music stars.

Adele is up against Sheeran in the British Album category for her best-selling 21 as well as British female solo artist and British single for Someone Like You.

Jessie J competes in the female solo artist, British breakthrough and single categories, the latter for Price Tag.

It's a great year for young British solo singer-songwriters, said a BRIT spokesman.

Florence & the Machine and Coldplay are each nominated twice, as are Emeli Sande, this year's Critics' Choice winner, and Americans Bon Iver and Aloe Blacc.

Playing at the awards ceremony next month are expected to be Adele, Bruno Mars, Coldplay, Sheeran, Florence & the Machine, Rihanna, Noel Gallagher and Blur, recipients of the Outstanding Contribution to Music Award.

Following is a full list of the 2012 nominees:

BRITISH MALE SOLO ARTIST:

Ed Sheeran; James Blake; James Morrison; Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds; Professor Green

BRITISH FEMALE SOLO ARTIST:

Adele; Florence & The Machine; Jessie J; Kate Bush; Laura Marling

BRITISH BREAKTHROUGH ACT:

Anna Calvi; Ed Sheeran; Emeli Sande; Jessie J; The Vaccines

BRITISH GROUP:

Arctic Monkeys; Chase & Status; Coldplay; Elbow; Kasabian

BRITISH SINGLE:

Adele/Someone Like You; Ed Sheeran/The A Team; Example/ Changed The Way You Kiss Me; Jessie J Ft B.o.B./Price Tag; JLS Ft Dev/She Makes Me Wanna; Military Wives and Gareth Malone/Wherever You Are; Olly Murs Ft Rizzle Kicks/Heart Skips A Beat; One Direction/What Makes You Beautiful; Pixie Lott/All About Tonight; The Wanted/Glad You Came

MASTERCARD BRITISH ALBUM OF THE YEAR:

Adele/21; Coldplay/Mylo Xyloto; Ed Sheeran/+; Florence & The Machine/Ceremonials; PJ Harvey/Let England Shake

INTERNATIONAL MALE SOLO ARTIST:

Aloe Blacc; Bon Iver; Bruno Mars; David Guetta; Ryan Adams

INTERNATIONAL FEMALE SOLO ARTIST:

Beyonce; Bjork; Feist; Lady Gaga; Rihanna

INTERNATIONAL GROUP:

Fleet Foxes; Foo Fighters; Jay Z and Kanye West; Lady Antebellum; Maroon 5

INTERNATIONAL BREAKTHROUGH ACT:

Aloe Blacc; Bon Iver; Foster The People; Lana Del Rey; Nicki Minaj

OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION TO MUSIC AWARD:

Blur

CRITICS' CHOICE:

Emeli Sande

BRITISH PRODUCER:

Paul Epworth; Flood; Ethan Johns

(Reporting by Mike Collett-White, editing by Paul Casciato)