Adele Wins Brits Critics Choice Award

Rising British teenage singer songwriter Adele has won the inaugural "Critics Choice" trophy, a new category of the annual Brit Awards, organizers said today.

The 19-year-old soul-tinged artist will be handed the gong at the Feb. 20, 2008 Brit Awards, which will be held at London's Earls Court venue.

Adele scooped the prize after an industry panel voted her to top a list of British artists expected to "make it big" in the coming year. She beat-out a list of contenders which included chanteuse Duffy and alternative rocker act Foals, results for which go live today on the relaunched Brits Web site.

In a statement issued today, Adele commented, "I'm really chuffed and flattered to have won the new category. It's fantastic to have lots of people supporting me and nice to know. I've always wanted a Brit award and I'm made up to be getting one so early on."

Adele signed to British indie XL Recordings, following the limited edition October release of the "Hometown Glory" EP on Jamie T's Pacemaker label.

A graduate of the Brit School in Croydon, England, Adele's profile soared on the back of an appearance on the "Later With Jools Holland" BBC2 program. Her rise was confirmed with a performance on last Friday's popular "Friday Night With Jonathan Ross" BBC1 talk show.

XL chairman and co-owner Richard Russell tells hot producer Mark Ronson sought-out a collaboration with Adele after tuning-in to the artist's MySpace page.

"It feels really exciting. She's great," Russell says. "Mark Ronson was aware of her very early," he notes, "a long time before things had exploded."

Adele's full debut single "Chasing Pavements" is out in the United Kingdom Jan. 21, a week ahead of first album, "19."

A full tour will roll out in support of the album, says Russell. "We want to really concentrate on the U.K. and a couple of other territories to start with," he says, "and we're starting to evaluate how we're going to dig into the U.S."