Entertainment & Arts

Brits 2015: Critics' Choice Award shortlist is unveiled

George The Poet, James Bay, Years and Years Image copyright Presser
Image caption New acts (clockwise from top left) George The Poet, James Bay and Years and Years have been shortlisted

Three new acts are being tipped for success in 2015 after being shortlisted for the Brits Critics' Choice Award.

George The Poet, James Bay and three-piece group Years and Years will battle for the honour.

The winner will be announced on 4 December and will receive their trophy, designed by Tracey Emin, at the main Brit awards ceremony on 25 February.

Previous Critics' Choice winners include Emeli Sande, Jessie J and Adele, who won the first award in 2008.

"I still can't believe it. As much as I hoped, being nominated for the Brits Critics' Choice Award is not something I ever imagined would actually happen. What a huge honour," 24-year-old Bay said.

The singer-songwriter has been supporting acts including 2013 winner Tom Odell and John Newman.

George The Poet, 23, said: "I feel privileged to have been shortlisted for the Brits Critics' Choice Award. I always dreamed of reaching people and this nomination shows me that I'm on track."

The act has already featured on records by Labrinth, Sande, Paolo Nutini and Naughty Boy.

London trio Years and Years added: "We're so grateful to be making music and having this sort of recognition is crazy and ridiculous and nuts in a really good way."

The group released their debut single Real earlier this year and have toured with Clean Bandit and Sam Smith.


PREVIOUS CRITICS' CHOICE WINNERS

2008 Adele

2009 Florence and The Machine (pictured)

2010 Ellie Goulding

2011 Jessie J

2012 Emeli Sande

2013 Tom Odell

2014 Sam Smith


Smith was this year's recipient and his album, In The Lonely Hour, has become 2014's best-selling debut.

The 22-year-old also topped the BBC's Sound of 2014 list, and scooped four prizes at the Mobo awards.

His ballads made an impact in the US too, where In The Lonely Hour broke sales records for a British male artist, reaching number two in the Billboard chart last June, with 166,000 copies sold.

The Critics' Choice prize is chosen by a select group of music industry experts, including music editors of national newspapers, magazines and websites plus representatives from major TV and radio stations.

To qualify, an artist must be British and not have released an album before 31 December 2014 - although they can have issued singles before the cut-off date.

Voting for the annual music industry bash opens to members of the music industry on 3 December, with the shortlists for categories including best male, best female and best album due to be announced in January.

This year's nominees are likely to include Ed Sheeran, Paolo Nutini, Kasabian, Sam Smith and Taylor Swift.

TV presenters Ant and Dec - themselves former Brit nominees - will present next year's ceremony on 25 February 2015.

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