Celeste: Who is BBC Music's Sound of 2020 winner?

CelesteImage source, MIA CLARK
Image caption,
Celeste Waite is tipped for the top in 2020

Every January the music world looks ahead, predicting who will be breaking through over the next 12 months.

This year is no different. There's already a wealth of "next-big-things-which-are-new-and-ones-to-watch-for-2020" lists doing the rounds.

And there's one name popping up on all of them: Celeste.

The singer has just won the BBC Music's Sound of 2020, which is given to artists who are tipped for success. She joins the likes of Adele, Haim and Ellie Goulding who have all topped the list in previous years.

This comes off the back of a successful 2019, which saw the 25-year-old receive the Brits' Rising Star award and be named BBC Music Introducing's Artist of the Year.

So here's all you need to know about the act catching everyone's eye (well... ear).

Where did it start?

Image caption,
Celeste hadn't been to Glastonbury before playing the BBC Music Introducing stage last year

The 25-year-old British-Jamaican, who grew up in Brighton, started singing around 10 years ago when she was inspired by hearing Elton John's Your Song.

Media caption,
Celeste talks to Woman's Hour about starting out and her top life advice.

"I remember being 15 or 16... It's quite a funny choice of song for someone that age," she told BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour.

"I asked my mum to come into my room and told her 'don't look at me, don't stare at me but I'm going to try and sing this song'.

"I remember her looking quite pleased. That's when I remember having the confidence to try a bit more."

Introducing... Celeste

The singer picked up backing from BBC Music Introducing after adding music to the uploader to be considered alongside hundreds of thousands of others.

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Her soulful vocals were soon picked out and played by BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra DJs including Huw Stephens, Annie Mac and DJ Target.

Image caption,
BBC Music Introducing was launched in 2007 with the aim of championing new talent like Florence and the Machine

She's since had countless plays across the stations, including her track Daydreaming being Introducing's track of the week on 1Xtra in 2017.

Her journey continued in 2019, with performances all over the world including Glastonbury and SXSW Festival in the US and recording a prestigious Maida Vale session for Radio 1.

She says her set at SXSW "felt like the start of everything".

Speaking to Huw Stephens in December 2019, after finding out she'd been named BBC Music Introducing's Artist of the Year, Celeste said she found the US "a really fruitful and inspiring place" to write because it gave her an escape from distractions back home.

Image caption,
In 2019, Celeste joined acts like Catfish and The Bottlemen (pictured in 2014), Jack Garratt and Izzy Bizu in being named BBC Music Introducing's Artist of the Year

In February 2019, she performed her breakout hit Strange - shortlisted for Annie Mac's Hottest Record of 2019 - for the first time at The Lexington as part of a BBC Introducing showcase.

"You never know how you're going to feel or how people are going to react when you play things for the first time," she told Huw.

"It seemed like it was a memorable moment for people in the crowd too, that was one of my highlights of the year."

Introducing and beyond...

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In March 2017, Celeste released her debut EP, The Milk and Honey, which was produced by Lily Allen's Bank Holiday Records label.

The singer then went on to sign a major record deal with Polydor in 2018.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

And if that wasn't enough, she's also picked up famous fans like James Corden, Jorja Smith and Sam Fender and also made her UK TV debut on Later… with Jools Holland in October 2019.

Despite being tipped by pretty much everyone for big things, the singer doesn't seem to be feeling too much pressure about what the year has in store.

"Yes! 2020!," she told Huw Stephens last month.

"I've been looking forward to this year for so long, I've had this number in my head for ages."

Along with "a load more shows" Celeste is set release her debut album at some point this year.

But don't hold your breath, she says it's due "by the end of the year".

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This article was originally published on 3 December 2019

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