Update (4 December): We're about to start seeing a lot more from Jorja Smith. The R&B singer was this morning named at the Brits' Critics' Choice award winner for 2018, rounding off a game-changing year. "And to be part of an all-female shortlist alongside Mabel and Stefflon Don, who've both had incredible 2017s, makes it even better!," she said, adding: "There's lots more to come in 2018 from all of us and I will do my best to make it another memorable year," reported the BBC. Exciting times.
Original story (29 November 2017): The shortlist for one of the most interesting gongs at the Brit Awards, the Critics' Choice award, has just been announced – and for the first time ever it's an all-female lineup, featuring Stefflon Don, Mabel and Jorja Smith, the BBC reported.
Previous winners of the prestigious award, which is dedicated to “the future stars of British recording talent”, have included the likes of Adele (2008), Florence + The Machine (2009) and Sam Smith (2014), so it's considered something of a barometer of success. Rag'n'Bone Man picked up the award last year and his album became the biggest-selling debut of the year – is the same about to happen again?
Stefflon Don, Mabel and Jorja Smith were chosen by an expert panel of music critics, record label employees and the heads of the country's biggest radio stations. More than 100 artists were in the original lineup, with each voter choosing their own shortlist of five promising acts.
The winner will be announced on 4th December ahead of the 2018 ceremony on 21st February at The O2 in London. Not only will the victorious pick up the sought-after Critics' Choice title, she'll also be the first recipient of the new Anish Kapoor-designed award. So, with less than a week to go until we find out who comes out on top, here are some key things you need to know about this fab three.
It's already been a great year for Birmingham-born, London-based MC Stefflon Don, who signed a million-pound deal with Universal Records and found herself in the top 10 with her earworm "Hurtin' Me". Her sound, a combination of dancehall patois, grime and R&B vocals, has seen her be compared, arguably somewhat lazily, to Nicki Minaj.
The 25-year-old has already garnered recognition in the US thanks to collaborations with Jeremih (on "London") and French Montana (on "Hurtin' Me"). Her latest single, the sexually charged "Ding-A-Ling", features a verse from Londoner Skepta and some playfully filthy lyrics. Sex is a common topic touched on in her lyrics, along with street life and female empowerment. Reacting to her nomination, she said: "I am so excited to be nominated for this amazing award. A big shout out to all my fans and dons for their support. 2017 has been lit and I can't wait for 2018! Mad love to you all".
21-year-old Mabel is the youngest daughter of Swedish singer-songwriter and rapper Neneh Cherry and Massive Attack producer Cameron McVey. She was raised between London, Spain and Stockholm and her sound is best described as '90s-influenced. You can't have escaped "Finders Keepers", featuring east Londoner Kojo Funds, which became a summer smash (after apparently being written in under an hour!). Fans are eagerly awaiting her debut album following this year's mixtape Ivy To Roses.
Mabel said being nominated for the award was a dream come true. "So much hard work has gone into getting to this point, so to be acknowledged by something like the Brit Awards means the world."
The youngest of the nominees, 20-year-old singer Jorja Smith, who hails from the West Midlands, shot to worldwide fame earlier this year thanks to her two guest appearances on Drake's More Life ("Jorja Interlude" and "Get It Together"). An 18-year-old Smith was reportedly working at Starbucks when she uploaded her first single, "Blue Lights", to SoundCloud early last year. Soon enough, it garnered the attention of Stormzy, Skrillex and Drizzy.
The 6 God later chose another of Smith's songs as his favourite track of the moment ("Where Did I Go?") in an article for Entertainment Weekly, saying it would "keep you sane" on a long flight. Her debut album, which she completed this year, is set to be released next year. "It's an honour to be recognised amongst such incredible emerging talent," Smith gushed. "2017 was a very special year and there's so much more to come from me in 2018!" Is her 2017 about to get even better?