Entertainment & Arts

Brits 2016: Critics' Choice shortlist announced

Jack Garratt, Frances and Izzy Bizu
Image caption Jack Garratt, Frances and Izzy Bizu are all due to release their debut albums in 2016

Three new acts are being tipped for success in 2016 after being shortlisted for the Brits Critics' Choice Award.

Multi-instrumentalist Jack Garratt, pop singer Frances and soul diva Izzy Bizu will compete for the honour.

The winner will be announced on Friday 27 November and will receive a prize at the Brit Awards next February.

Previous Critics' Choice winners include Emeli Sande, James Bay, Florence + The Machine and Adele, who won the inaugural award in 2008.

Last year's honouree was be-hatted troubador James Bay, whose album Chaos and the Calm is the year's biggest-selling debut.

"It's such a huge honour to be nominated," said Frances, 21, whose latest single is a collaboration with dance act Disclosure.

"I've followed the Brits my whole life, but never thought I'd be lucky enough to be nominated."

The Berkshire singer, whose full name is Sophie Frances Cooke, caught attention with the delicate piano ballad Grow, which has featured on an advert for Amazon.

Image copyright Brit Awards
Image caption The 2016 Brit Award trophies have been created by punk designer Pam Hogg

Jack Garratt, 23, has been compared to Ed Sheeran, filtered through the bass-heavy electronica of Daft Punk or Jamie xx.

He combines electric guitar, drum machines, keyboards, and a moving falsetto to fashion smooth, club-ready electro-pop, on tracks such as Weathered, which was recently covered by Ellie Goulding.

His other fans include Zane Lowe and Rick Rubin, and Garratt was recently named as the winner of the BBC Introducing Prize for emerging artists.

Speaking of the Critics' Choice honour, the singer said: "It's such a significant award that highlights the importance of new music, so it's a genuine honour to have been nominated alongside some other incredible new acts from the UK."

Izzy Bizu got her start after winning an open mic night in Camden two years ago. That secured her a manager and a celebrity fan, in the shape of superstar producer Naughty Boy, who happened to be in the audience.

She has since released her debut EP and supported Sam Smith on tour, winning converts with sunny, soulful tracks like Give Me Love.

"I grew up watching the Brits on the TV at home so it's pretty exciting to be a part of it!" she said.

Image copyright Associated Press
Image caption Adele and Florence + The Machine are previous winners of the Critics' Choice prize

All three artists have been championed by the BBC's Introducing strand, which allows aspiring artists to upload their music to the BBC and, potentially, make it onto the air.

The Critics' Choice Award is chosen by a team of experts - including music journalists and music programmers at major TV and radio stations.

The Award is open to artists signed to a label who are set to release their debut albums in 2016 and over 100 artists from a range of genres were considered for this year's shortlist.

The 2016 Brit Awards take place on 24 February at London's O2 Arena, hosted by Ant and Dec.

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