Emeli Sande wins Brits Critics Choice award

Emeli Sande Sande receives one of Sir Peter Blake's newly-designed Brit statuettes

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Scottish singer-songwriter Emeli Sande has won the Brits Critics Choice award, which rewards up-and-coming talent.

The 24-year-old, who gave up medicine to pursue her career in music, has already scored hits with solo singles Heaven and Daddy.

She also appeared on Professor Green's number one hit Read All About It, and is currently supporting label mates Coldplay on their European tour.

Sande will pick up her prize at the Brits ceremony on 21 February, 2012.

Previous winners of the critics choice award include Adele, Jessie J and Florence And The Machine.

Sande, whose full name is Adele Emily Sande, was born in Alford, Aberdeenshire, and is instantly recognisable by her peroxide blonde quiff.

She was a fourth year medical student in Glasgow when, while vacuuming her bedroom, she wrote the hook for a song called Diamond Rings and gave it to rapper Chipmunk.

Released as a single, with Sande on guest vocals, it became a top 10 hit and EMI handed her a publishing deal.

Speaking to Radio 1's Newsbeat earlier this year, she said it had been hard to give up her degree.

"It was a massive crossroads. It was the first massive risk I took."

"On the medical school course I had seen people who'd dreamed of being doctors since they were four as I had dreamt of doing music since that age - that was my inspiration."

Having left university, she made her living writing tracks for the likes of Cher Lloyd, Susan Boyle and Cheryl Cole.

She also continued to work as a featured artist, recording with urban stars such as Tinie Tempah, Wiley and Professor Green - who took her to number one on his single Read All About It.

'Dream come true'
Maverick Sabre and Michael Kiwanuka Maverick Sabre (left) and Michael Kiwanuka took second and third place in the Critics Choice award

Sande's own demo recordings surfaced earlier this year and by late August, she had scored her first solo hit with Heaven, a gospel-tinged R&B song, propelled by clattering 1990s drum loops.

Citing influences such as Joni Mitchell, Aretha Franklin and Nina Simone, she plans to release her debut album, Our Version Of Events, in February.

Sande was chosen for the Brit award by a panel of music experts, who narrowed down an initial shortlist of more than 100 acts.

"To win a Brit Award so early in my career is beyond a dream come true," she said.

"I am overwhelmed to be the recipient of such a prestigious award."

Second place went to soulful rapper Maverick Sabre, while singer-songwriter Michael Kiwanuka came third.

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