Entertainment & Arts

BBC Sound Of 2015 countdown begins with George the Poet

George the Poet
Image caption George the Poet has performed on Jools Holland and appeared on songs by Emeli Sande and Wretch 32

Spoken word artist George the Poet has come fifth in the BBC Sound Of 2015 list, which highlights the best new music in the year ahead.

A Cambridge politics graduate, he has described his poetry as a reaction against the materialism of modern rap.

"Being in the top five is such a big pat on the back," he said. "It's like... I'm on track."

The Sound Of 2015 was compiled by 139 DJs, critics and experts. A longlist of 15 acts was revealed last month.

DJ Huw Stephens will reveal the rest of the top five on the Radio 1 breakfast show throughout the rest of this week.

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Media captionGeorge the Poet: "It's all about talking to people in the most creative way possible" (Video production by Dan Curtis)

George the Poet, whose real name is George Mpanga, grew up on the Stonebridge Park estate in Harlesden, north west London.

He rose to prominence with My City, a poem contrasting the massive investment in the 2012 Olympics with the deprivation he saw around him.

Speaking to the BBC, he said he wanted to inspire change through his poetry.

"It's all about talking to people in the most creative way possible," he said. "My EP, The Chicken and the Egg, is about premature parenthood. Discussing that helps."

"I learnt... that making the words rhyme isn't necessarily the same as making the words matter."

MTV's head of music Anna Karatziva, who voted for George in the Sound Of 2015, called him "engaging and mesmerising".

"No matter what he is talking about, you find yourself clinging to his every word and the venue always erupts when he breaks into song."


  • James Bay
  • George the Poet
  • Kwabs
  • Lapsley
  • Rae Morris
  • Novelist
  • Raury
  • Shamir
  • Shura
  • Slaves
  • Soak
  • Stormzy
  • Sunset Sons
  • Wolf Alice
  • Years & Years

Find out more and watch videos on the Sound Of 2015 site

Listen to tracks by each of the nominees on BBC Playlister

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Media captionGet to know the 15 acts on the BBC's Sound Of 2015 longlist

The Sound Of list has been compiled annually by BBC News since 2003, with previous winners including Adele, 50 Cent, Ellie Goulding and Haim.

The nominated acts can be performers from any country and any musical genre. They must not have been the lead artist on a UK top 20 single or album before 27 October 2014.

Pop star Sam Smith took the title last year and went on to sell a million copies of his debut album, In the Lonely Hours, on both sides of the Atlantic.

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