Three of the U.K.’s most hotly-tipped artists, Anne-Marie, Dua Lipa and Rag’n’Bone Man, have made the shortlist for the BRITs 2017 Critics’ Choice Shortlist — the annual award that prefigured Adele and Sam Smith‘s rise to global stardom.
Other past winners of the award, which was introduced in 2008, include Florence + The Machine, Ellie Goulding, Jessie J, Emeli Sandé, Tom Odell, James Bay and last year’s recipient, Jack Garratt. Collectively, they have sold almost 60 million albums in the U.K., according to labels trade body the BPI, which runs the Brit Awards.
The award is open to signed artists due to release a debut album in 2017, with the shortlist and eventual winner chosen by a team of industry experts, journalists and radio and music TV executives. The winner of this year’s award is due to be announced on Thursday 8 December and will also perform at the Brit nominations launch on January 14, which will be broadcast live in the U.K. for the first time.
“This is the highlight of my year,” commented London-born singer-songwriter Dua Lipa, who has been working with Emile Haynie (Lana Del Rey, FKA Twigs) and Andrew Wyatt (Miike Snow, Charli XCX) on her self-titled debut, which is due to be released in February on Warner Music U.K. The singer previously featured on the BBC Sound of 2016 longlist and released two Top 40 U.K. singles in 2016 — “Hotter Than Hell” and “Blow Your Mind (Mwah),” alongside a guest vocal on Sean Paul‘s single “No Lie.”
Also on the 2017 Critics’ Choice shortlist is Anne-Marie, who is currently at number one in the U.K. singles chart as the featured performer on Clean Bandit‘s “Rockabye.”
Signed to Elton John‘s management company Rocket Music, the former child actress and karate champion was a touring vocalist for British dance act Rudimental before launching her solo career. Her second single “Alarm” was a top 20 hit in the U.K. this summer, with her debut album due early 2017 on Asylum/Atlantic Records.
The third person to make the shortlist is Rag’n’Bone Man, real name Rory Graham — a gruff voiced singer-songwriter from East Sussex, who honed his live skills at hip-hop open mic nights in London and signed to Columbia Records on the back of his emotive blend of blues, hip hop beats and soulful pop. His single “Human” has already been a smash throughout Europe, hitting Number 1 in Germany, Belgium, Austria and Switzerland.
Rag’n’Bone Man’s debut album, also Human, will be released on February 10 on Columbia Records / Best Laid Plans.
In addition to making the Critics Choice shortlist, he also features on the BBC Sound Of Poll, Apple Music’s New Artist For 2017 and topped the Google Play Music One’s To Watch list.
“Human” the song has now been certified Gold in 7 countries, streamed 45 million times and hit the number 1 spot on iTunes in 25 countries. Having been added to all the major radio playlists here in the UK. “Human” is this week’s No. 1 trending track in the UK and is currently sitting at number 2 on the iTunes chart.
“It’s bonkers that I’ve been nominated for Critics’ Choice,” commented Graham, whose stage name was reportedly inspired by the 1970s British sitcom “Steptoe and Son.” “I built a strong fan base over the years with help from good people that put their faith in me. And now this! I’m very grateful.”