Johnny Marr has hailed the decision to have Billie Eilish sing the new Bond theme song as “really inspired”.

American singer-songwriter Eilish will perform the title track No Time To Die for the first time at the Brit Awards, alongside her brother and co-writer, Finneas O’Connell, as well as Hans Zimmer and Marr.

Eilish, 18, is the youngest ever artist to write and record a song for the 007 film franchise.

Speaking on the red carpet ahead of the ceremony being held at London’s O2 Arena, The Smiths guitarist Marr said: “When we worked on the song the first day I worked with her we were in the studio for a long time, a good long day and she was great… she’s a good musician, a real musician”.

He continued: “Then when I heard the song I thought it was a very cool and smart choice. Because the song is very intense.

“It would have been very easy to do something that was very obvious. I think with Bond, it’s for my part, to play the guitar… I try to be true to the legacy of it and the tradition of it but make your own mark and kind of modernise it in a way.”

Marr spoke of his joy at working on the soundtrack, saying: “I was working on the film, I’ve been working on the music for the film with Hans Zimmer, I think this is the fifth film I’ve done with Hans.

“So I was delighted to do that, because as a British boy growing up around Bond movies, the music is very guitar-centric, so I was delighted to be able to be involved in the movie”.

He joined other stars including American singer Lizzo, nominated in the international female solo artist category, and Harry Styles, who is in the running for male solo artist and album of the year.

Harry Styles
Harry Styles wore a black ribbon on his lapel (Ian West/PA)

Styles, 26, was wearing a black ribbon on his left lapel, which MailOnline reported was a tribute to ex-girlfriend Caroline Flack, who died on Saturday. The couple dated in 2011.

Scottish singer Lewis Capaldi, who has secured four nominations, said winning awards was not something he thought about when making music.

Brit Awards 2020 – Arrivals – London
Lewis Capaldi arriving at the Brit Awards 2020 held at the O2 Arena, London.

He said: “When it comes round it’s kind of like… it’s really cool. But I just never expected it so I don’t get too worked up about it to be honest.”

Mabel, who is nominated in the new artist and song of the year categories, spoke about what she said is a lovely “full-circle” moment that her Brit Awards performance will see her following in the footsteps of her famous mother, the musician Neneh Cherry.

Brit Awards 2020 – Arrivals – London
Mabel arriving at the Brit Awards 2020 held at the O2 Arena, London.

Speaking on the red carpet, she said: “It’s actually 30 years since my mum performed at the Brits and it’s just so amazing and such a lovely, sort of full-circle moment.  Mainly I just feel so honoured to be here tonight, it’s been such a journey”.

Also on the bill to perform at the ceremony are Stormzy, Dave and Sir Rod Stewart, who will close the show.

Stormzy is in the running for three awards, with his song Vossi Bop and album Heavy Is The Head both making the shortlist. He is also up for the male solo artist award.

This year’s list has received criticism for being heavily male-dominated, as only four nominations out of a possible 25 in the categories which are not gender-specific feature women.

There are no female performers included in the shortlists for best group or album awards.

The Brits’ voting academy underwent a major overhaul in 2017 to make it more gender balanced and diverse, with hundreds of new members invited to join the pool.

It was previously announced that the rising star prize will be presented to Celeste.

The ceremony will be hosted by comedian Jack Whitehall and broadcast on ITV.