Entertainment & Arts

Brit Awards: Jack Garratt wins Critics' Choice prize

Jack Garratt Image copyright Brit Awards
Image caption Garratt will release his debut album, Phase, in February

Multi-instrumentalist Jack Garratt has been awarded the Brits Critics' Choice prize for 2016.

The 24-year-old told the BBC he was "humbled" to receive the honour, which is open only to new artists who will release their first album next year.

The 2015 winner was James Bay, who scored the biggest-selling debut of the year with Chaos and the Calm.

Garratt beat competition from soul diva Izzy Bizu and piano-based songwriter Frances to take the prize.

"It's not something I was expecting to happen," he told Radio 1's Newsbeat. "It's a definite surprise. [I'm] humbled to have been nominated, let alone won it."

Image caption The musician plays his concerts solo - flitting between guitar, keyboard and drum machine

Hailing from Little Chalfont, Buckinghamshire, Garratt rose to fame through the BBC's Introducing scheme, which allows aspiring artists to upload their songs for consideration by local and national radio stations.

After submitting his first track in 2009, he was championed by Zane Lowe, who made his debut single, Worry, his "next hype" track. He has since played the BBC Introducing stage at Reading and Leeds and headlined Radio 1's Future Festival.

'Massive afro'

Garratt's music almost defies categorisation, cherry-picking sounds from rock, pop, dubstep and experimental electronica, with his soaring vocals the sole connective tissue.

Ellie Goulding recently covered his single Weathered, while Mumford and Sons hand-picked him as the support act on their UK tour.

The Critics' Choice Award comes 10 years after the musician entered the junior version of the Eurovision Song Contest - crashing out in the heats, when his song, The Girl, finished in last place.

"It was the first song I'd ever written, I had a massive afro. It was the most horrifying experience of my entire life," he told the Evening Standard earlier this year.

Image caption Frances and Izzy Bizu also made the Critics' Choice shortlist

His debut album is due to be released in the spring and he will perform at the Brits nomination party in January, alongside Jess Glynne and pop band Years and Years.

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

But Garratt said he didn't feel any pressure.

"If anything I feel totally safe and in fantastic company," he said. "I may not live up to those kinds of expectations but I will work and work as hard as I can to keep the prestige of the award alive, 100 per cent."

The recipient is chosen by a team of experts - including music journalists and music programmers at major TV and radio stations - and more than 100 artists were considered for this year's shortlist.

The 2016 Brit Awards take place on 24 February at London's O2 Arena, hosted by Ant and Dec.

Related Topics

More on this story

Around the BBC

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites