Before they were famous, Sam Smith, Florence + The Machine, and Adele were all tipped for success by the Brits’ Critics’ Choice award. This year’s line-up has just been announced and, for the first time, it’s an all-female field. Birmingham-born MC Stefflon Don
is joined on the list by soul singers Jorja Smith and Mabel
. The winner will be announced on December 4th
, ahead of next year’s Brit Awards. Stefflon Don has already tasted chart success this year, reaching the top 10 with Hurtin’ Me, and featuring in Jax Jones’ dance smash Instruction. Mabel, who is Neneh Cherry’s youngest daughter, has also scored a top 10 hit with the slinky single ‘Finders Keepers’. All three artists are previous nominees for the BBC Sound Of… poll, which unveiled its latest longlist on Monday
. The Brit nominees were chosen by a panel of music industry experts – including critics, record label employees and the heads of the UK’s biggest radio stations. More than 100 artists were considered, with each voter selecting their own shortlist of five up-and-coming artists.
Before they become ubiquitous, brush up on the 2018 nominees below.
Click HERE to Watch Stefflon Don freestyle on DJ Whoo Kid
Stephanie “Stefflon Don” Allen was born in Birmingham to Jamaican parents, before moving to Rotterdam and finally, in her teens, settling in east London. You can hear echoes of her upbringing in her confident, inventive songs, which combine dancehall patois, grime verses, and honeyed R&B vocals. Earlier this year, she scored a top 10 hit with Hurtin’ Me.
Inspired by: Lil’ Kim, Foxy Brown, Missy Elliott and Destiny’s Child
For fans of: Nicki Minaj, Wretch 32, Drake
Did you know? Her moniker is a play on Teflon Don – the nickname of mob boss John Gotti – as well as “Steff London”.
She says: “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””
Find out more: Watch Stefflon Don’s set at 1Xtra Live
Click HERE to Watch Mabel perform ‘Finders Keepers’ on Sounds Like Friday Night
Born in the mountains of Malaga, Mabel was raised between Spain, London and Stockholm. Like her parents, Neneh Cherry and Massive Attack producer Cameron McVey, her music is hard to classify, but it’s rooted in the 90s R&B she used to dance to in her bedroom.
Inspired by: Destiny’s Child, Lauryn Hill, Brandy, Aaliyah
For fans of: Rihanna, Jhene Aiko, SZA
Did you know? Her nickname is Lil’ Bassy because, as a child, she would fall asleep to the sound of speaker-rattling bass in her dad’s recording studio.
She says: “Being nominated for the Critics’ Choice award really is a dream come true for me. So much hard work has gone into getting to this point, so to be acknowledged by something like the BRIT Awards means the world.”
Read more: Mabel is ushering in a new age of independent women
“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”
Stefflon Don is a charismatic, multilingual, multitalented rapper, singer and songwriter. Speaking English, Dutch and splattering her speech with her parent’s Jamaican patois, Steff has the effortless ability to inhabit many worlds, offering a genuine, authentic global perspective through her music. Whether rap, grime, pop, bashment or bubbling, Steff sounds utterly at home. It’s perhaps why such an impressive array of artists from Charli XCX to Lil Yachty and Wretch 32 have wanted to work with the 25-year-old. One of seven siblings born in Birmingham to Jamaican parents, Steff’s family moved to Holland when she was five-years-old, where was raised in Rotterdam and enjoyed a particularly uninhibited childhood surrounded by Europeans, Turkish and Caribbean people. She had her first studio session at the age of nine and spent her teen years singing and rapping with her brothers and sisters. Steff returned to the UK when she was 14 and made an impression in 2015 with her powerful, patois-inflected version of Wretch 32’s Six Words and her take on the Section Boy’s street smash Lock Arff.
“Being nominated for the Critics’ Choice award really is a dream come true for me. So much hard work has gone into getting to this point, so to be acknowledged by something like the BRIT Awards means the world.”
Born into a musical dynasty, Mabel spent her childhood zig-zagging with her sisters from the mountains of Malaga to Sweden, where she studied at the prestigious Rytmus Musikergymnasiet music school (before starting to write songs in London). A true child of the golden age of 00s R&B, Mabel has since blossomed into one of British pop’s refreshing and positive young role models: moving effortlessly between the worlds of music, fashion, dance and art, with her songs variously exploring female independence, sexuality, growing up and into your own skin. It’s a style Mabel continues to evolve her own way, and at her own pace: recent single ‘Finders Keepers’ has since emerged as one of the breakout hits of the year, having spent five weeks in the UK Top 10 (the third longest stint for a new British artist this year). Mabel is “blazing a trail that’s all her own” (Guardian), and 2018 looks set to confirm her status as a bonafide star who’s just getting started.
About The BRIT Awards – British Record Industry Trust
The Critics’ Choice Award is chosen by a team of experts including the music editors of national newspapers, key music and lifestyle magazines and music websites plus the heads of music at major radio and music TV stations. The Award is open to all artists who in the media and the selected Critics’ opinion will reach a significant level of success in their career the following year. Over 100 artists from a range of genres were considered for the award. The 2018 Critics’ Choice Award winner will be announced on Monday 4th December, and will be the first recipient of the specially designed Anish Kapoor award.
The BRIT (British Record Industry Trust) Awards are organized by the BPI – the record labels’ association that promotes British music. The BPI’s membership is made up of over 400 independent labels as well as the UK’s three major record companies – collectively they account for around 85 per cent of the music consumed in the UK and around one in eight of all the artist albums sold around the world.