Celeste awarded BBC Music Introducing Artist of the Year 2019

BBC Music has announced Celeste as BBC Music Introducing Artist of the Year 2019. Previous winners of the award include Catfish and the Bottlemen, Jack Garratt, Izzy Bizu, Declan McKenna and Tom Grennan.

Published: 3 December 2019
On stage and on the airwaves, we’ve heard Celeste at her brilliant best and her BBC Music Introducing Artist of the Year award is very deserved.
— Huw Stephens

Brighton-raised British-Jamaican singer Celeste started her journey with BBC Introducing in 2014 when she uploaded her track North Circular to the website. Her debut EP, The Milk And Honey was produced by Lily Allen’s Bank Holiday Records label shortly after. Following the success of her breakout singles Both Sides Of The Moon, Lately and Father’s Son, the soul singer released her EP Lately in early 2019.

Her recent single, Strange, was featured on BBC Radio 1’s playlist. Celeste signed with Polydor last year and is currently touring across Europe with Michael Kiwanuka ahead of her April 2020 tour.

Celeste’s BBC Music Introducing highlights for 2019 include performing on Introducing stages at Glastonbury and SXSW Festival, recording a Maida Vale session that aired on BBC Radio 1, and the debut of her hit Strange at The Lexington in February.

On being told she had won the award by Radio 1’s Huw Stephens, Celeste said: “I performed a song called Strange that I wrote for the first time at the BBC Music Introducing show at the Lexington… you never know how you’re going to feel when you perform something for the first time and how people are going to react to it, and I had such a warm response and it seemed like it was a memorable song for people in that moment… that was definitely one of my highlights of the year, so thank you very much!”

BBC Music Introducing, the BBC’s scheme for emerging musical talent, has provided a platform to propel the best new acts from across the UK onto the national stage since its launch in 2007. Slaves, Florence + the Machine, The Big Moon, Idles, The Shires, George Ezra, Freya Ridings, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Pale Waves, Sam Fender, Mahalia and Lewis Capaldi all received BBC Music Introducing support at the start of their careers.

Presenter of BBC Introducing on Radio 1, Huw Stephens, says: “Celeste has made so many fans this year, and BBC Music Introducing have been so happy and proud to support her talent at every given opportunity over the last few years. On stage and on the airwaves, we’ve heard Celeste at her brilliant best and her BBC Music Introducing Artist of the Year award is very deserved.”

Tom Billington, Editor of BBC Music Introducing, says: “At BBC Music Introducing we live for those moments when you hear an artist for the first time and they stop you in your tracks. That’s when you know they're something special, and that’s what happened with Celeste. Throughout 2019 BBC Music Introducing has given Celeste every available opportunity to show off her amazing talent. From fantastic local radio support at BBC Music Introducing in London with Jess Iszatt, to headlining our monthly Lexington gig, a Maida Vale session, a showcase at South By South West in Austin, Texas and a beautiful afternoon performance at Glastonbury. Celeste has provided so many stand-out moments with BBC Music Introducing this year that we wanted to top it off by giving her our highest accolade."

Listen to the full interview with Celeste on BBC Introducing on Radio 1 with Huw Stephens from 11pm on Sunday 8 December.

This week, BBC Music Introducing will further highlight the range of talent it champions, as each local Introducing show from across the country invites an act of their choice to record a live session at Maida Vale studios. On 7 December, every local Introducing team will play their chosen artist’s session on air, showcasing 36 of BBC Introducing’s ones to watch for 2020.

Artists involved include Sanity, a rising hip-hop star from the West Midlands, Sheffield’s pop act Sophie and the Giants, who played the BBC Introducing stage at Radio 1’s Big Weekend in Middlesbrough, and Kent’s Sports Team, who headlined the BBC Introducing stage at Reading and Leeds.

Listeners can hear each session on their local BBC Music Introducing show from 8pm on Saturday 7 December.