Belgium female artist Selah Sue has won France's Prix Constantin music prize with self-titled debut album (Because Music).
The award was presented during a ceremony at the Olympia venue in Paris.
The prize jury was comprised of media and retail professionals and chaired by Gaetan Roussel, the former leader of multiplatinum act Louise Attaque, now successful solo singer songwriter.
"This is good for Selah Sue," Because CEO Emmanuel de Buretel told Billboard.biz, stressing it might help her album get a wider coverage on French radio. "I hope it will help some [major radio channels] see that she has a great future."
Selah Sue has already reached a wide audience with her European soul music, as de Buretel describes it, with over 250,000 albums sold worldwide, including 130,000 units in France, according to Because.
De Buretel says releases in the UK and in the US are planned for Q1, 2012.
Although Selah Sue is produced by a French label, the award raised criticism from some music execs, who consider the prize rules on foreign artists eligibility are unclear.
The award was created in 2002 with the support of French labels trade bodies Snep and UPFI; it was named after the late industry figure Philippe Constantin who died in 1996.
The Prix Constantin is designed to highlight new talents produced in France, and this year the eligibility period for album releases was between July 2010 and July 2011. Under the qualification criteria, nominated artists must not have released more than two albums in addition to their current album and must not have had any gold record prior to current album.
Ten nominees were shortlisted [see Billboard.biz], amongst 117 albums submitted from their respective record companies.
All ten acts performed during the Olympia show, which will receive coverage from state-owned radio channel France Inter and TV channels France 2 and France 4.