2006 saw the first female artist top the Sound Of list as Corinne Bailey Rae graduated from hat check girl in a Leeds jazz club to one of the brightest stars on the UK musical landscape. The singer's self-titled debut topped charts in the UK and US and picked up nominations for both Grammy and Brit Awards on its way to selling over four million copies worldwide. 2010's follow-up The Sea continued the critical acclaim, culminating in a Mercury Prize nomination in July of that year.
Bailey Rae was joined on the 2006 list by the upbeat pop stylings of UK radio's most played band of that year, The Feeling. Also included were Birmingham's Guillemots, who were nominated for the 2006 Mercury Prize for their Through The Windowpane album. Early recognition for the then hip-hop stylings of Plan B saw him placed 4th, ahead of R'n'B star Chris Brown and UK rapper Sway.
2006 also highlighted a few artists who were to have unexpected career changes ahead of them. Ben Langfield left the melodic indie of 9th placed Kubb behind to form one half of Sound Of 2009 listed synth-pop duo La Roux, while 8th placed Marcos Hernandez surprised fans by becoming a US Marine in 2008.