Belgium-based singer-songwriter Milow has won the first ever public choice award at the seventh annual European Border Breaker Awards (EBBAs) in Groningen, the Netherlands.

Upon accepting the award, he thanked his fans for being "the first to believe in my music when no-one wanted to support me" before urging the audience to legitimately pay for music they love.

The ceremony, held last night (Jan. 14) as part of the annual Eurosonic music festival and conference, also honored Milow and nine other previously announced European artists for achievements outside of their home territories with debut albums.

Eight of the national winners across Europe entertained a 1,200-strong audience -- which included Princess Máxima of the Netherlands. Acts included Justin Timberlake's protégé Esmee Denters (Netherlands), Jenny Wilson (Sweden), Charlie Winston (U.K.), Sliimy (France), Kerli (Astonia), Giusy Ferreri (Italy) and Soap & Skin (Austria). Germany's Peter Fox and Portugal's Buraka Som Sistema were unable to attend and accepted their awards in pre-recorded video messages.

The 2009 EBBA winner Ida Corr opened the night with the hit song, "Let Me Think About It," which she recorded with Dutch dance producer Fedde le Grand and a cover of a Charles Aznavour song.

Jools Holland, of U.K. BBC music program "Later... With Jools Holland," returned to host proceedings for a second year, curiously remarking that he was impressed with Groningen city's "beautiful brickwork." He also provided piano accompaniment for some of the acts.

The show will be broadcast throughout the European Broadcast Union (EBU) network of European television and radio stations in territories including the Netherlands, Germany, Ireland and Portugal.

Previous EBBA winners have included Adele, Corinne Bailey Rae, KT Tunstall, Katie Melua and the Darkness.

To be eligible for an EBBA, an artist must come from the 34 countries participating in the EU cultural program and have not released an album before. The 2010 awards counted sales of an album in EU member states outside the country of production between the period of Jan. 1 to Aug. 1 2009, as well as playlist information from all public radio stations in EU countries. Success on the European festival and live circuit is also taken into account when the European Music Office (EMO), in cooperation with the Billboard Information Group, European Broadcasting Union and the ETEP festivals, compiles the list.

The EBBAs are funded through the EU Culture Programme.

The ceremony is to be broadcast in various European countries.

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