Jessie J tops BBC Sound of 2011 list

BBC Sound of 2011 winner Jessie J performs in session for BBC Radio 1

Pop singer and songwriter Jessie J has come top of the BBC Sound of 2011 list, which showcases the best rising music stars for the coming year.

Jessie J, real name Jessica Cornish, from Romford, Essex, has been described as a British answer to Rihanna or Pink.

Sound of 2011 logo

Discover the top five acts:

  1. Jessie J - watch session & interview
  2. James Blake - watch session & interview
  3. The Vaccines - watch session & interview
  4. Jamie Woon - watch session & interview
  5. Clare Maguire - watch session & interview

See all 15 artists on the longlist

How the list is compiled

The Sound of 2011 list was compiled using tips from 160 key music critics, broadcasters and bloggers.

Now in its ninth year, previous winners include Ellie Goulding, Little Boots, Adele, Mika and Corinne Bailey Rae.

Jessie J has already enjoyed success as a songwriter, co-writing Miley Cyrus' hit Party in the USA.

The 22-year-old launched her own solo career at the end of 2010, making it into the UK top 30 with her debut single Do It Like A Dude.

Signed to Island Records in the UK - home to Amy Winehouse, U2 and Florence and the Machine - her music is a mix of attitude-filled urban pop and big soulful ballads.

She starred on the West End stage at the age of 11 and spent a year at the Brit School for performing arts, in the same year as fellow singers Adele, Katy B and Rox.

Jessie J said she was "overwhelmed" at coming top of the Sound of 2011 list.

Previous Sound of... winners

Ellie Goulding
  • Sound of 2010: Ellie Goulding (above)
  • Sound of 2009: Little Boots
  • Sound of 2008: Adele
  • Sound of 2007: Mika
  • Sound of 2006: Corinne Bailey Rae
  • Sound of 2005: The Bravery
  • Sound of 2004: Keane
  • Sound of 2003: 50 Cent

"It feels amazing to be accepted on such a broad scale," she said. "I know I'm doing something right and I've got to keep doing it. It's an honour."

The Brit Awards have also given the singer the Critics' Choice accolade, which she will accept at the ceremony at the O2 arena in London in February.

"The expectation of me at the moment is so high, but I thrive on knowing people have that expectation," she said. "It's a challenge."

Austin Daboh, music manager at BBC 1Xtra - the first radio station to play Jessie's music - said: "From the minute I saw a homemade video of Jessie singing her head off, I knew she was a talent.

"I think she combines a unique charisma with great songwriting and to top it off she has an incredible voice."

Lana Webb, head of music at Remedy Productions, who make shows for Channel 4 and MTV, said: "Jessie J has already proven her songwriting credentials.

"With her powerful voice, commanding stage presence and razor sharp style, Jessie J will cut across the musical landscape, seizing the spotlight for herself in 2011."

Start Quote

I'm glad I went through the tough times and was angry - it's made me a thicker skinned artist”

End Quote Jessie J

The Sound of 2011 top five also includes James Blake and Jamie Woon, at numbers two and four respectively, both cutting-edge producer-vocalists who combine dubstep and soul.

At number three, rock band The Vaccines have been likened to The Ramones and The Jesus & Mary Chain, while big-voiced chanteuse Clare Maguire is at five.

The list was compiled using tips from more than 160 influential UK-based tastemakers, who each named their favourite three new acts.

The participants ranged from music magazine editors and newspaper critics to respected bloggers, DJs and radio and TV producers.

The new artists were not eligible if they had already had a UK top 20 single or album, or were already famous for any reason, such as appearing on a TV talent show or being a member of a hit band going solo.

A longlist of the top 15 artists was published in December, and the top five have been revealed this week.

Last year, Ellie Goulding came top of the Sound of 2010 list, and was joined in the top five by Marina and the Diamonds, Delphic, Hurts and The Drums.

Artists in the top five in previous years have included Florence and the Machine and La Roux (Sound of 2009), Adele and Duffy (Sound of 2008), Mika and Klaxons (Sound of 2007), Bloc Party and Kaiser Chiefs (Sound of 2005), Keane and Franz Ferdinand (Sound of 2004) and 50 Cent and Dizzee Rascal (Sound of 2003).

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