A trio of female artists has been nominated for the Brits rising star award, given to acts the music industry predicts will find success next year.
Celeste, Joy Crookes and Beabadoobee form the class of 2020, hoping to follow in the footsteps of past winners Adele, Sam Fender and Rag’n’Bone Man.
The winner will receive a performance slot at the Brit Awards next February.
The award, previously known as the Critics Choice, was rebranded as part of a shake-up of the Brits for 2020.
Prizes like best British video and best international group have been retired, while fan votes on categories like best single and best video have been scrapped. Organisers have promised “more music” as a result.
The winner of the rising star prize will be announced of Friday, 6 December. Here’s a potted guide to the nominees.
Beabadoobee is the stage name of 19-year-old indie musician Beatrice Kristi, who built an impressive following with self-released recordings before signing to The 1975’s label, Dirty Hit in 2017.
Born in Manilla and raised in London, she was inspired to make music by Kimya Dawson’s soundtrack to the coming-of-age drama Juno; and cites bands like Pavement, The Pixies and Sonic Youth as her main influences.
“I’m paying homeage to good ’90s grunge,” she told the NME earlier this year.
Reacting to her nomination, Kristi said: “It’s super cool to be nominated for the Brits rising star award and I’m so grateful.
“It’s so weird to think that writing music in my bedroom could appeal to so many people. Thank you so much to anyone who has voted for me.”
Born in Los Angeles but raised in Brighton, Celeste has turned heads and tugged heartstrings with her beguiling, soulful voice.
Her haunting ballad called Strange was recently added to Radio 1’s playlist; and the singer is currently touring Europe in a perfectly-paired support slot with Michael Kiwanuka.
“My earliest memory of the Brits was 2002, I was around eight years old,” said the 24-year-old. “MC Romeo had me at ‘turn up the bassline’ and Mis-Teeq were the women I wanted to be when I grew up. I remember being in a frenzy with every word they sang.
“It was in that exact moment that I thought I would like to be a part of that one day [so] to be nominated for the Rising Star award is a huge honour.”
The first record Joy Crookes bought was The Clash’s London Calling, but the 20-year-old’s own music is more directly inspired by the “mad honest” lyricism of Amy Winehouse and Lauryn Hill.
Her soft, husky vocals and sophisticated neo-soul grooves are informed by her multicultural heritage (her father is Irish and her mother Bangladeshi) and elevated by evocative, painterly music videos.
This year alone she has played Radio 1’s Big Weekend and Glastonbury, and critics have praised the timeless quality of her music – something that she says is entirely intentional.
“I’m not here for five minutes and I want to make sure of that,” she told The Slog earlier this year. “I see myself growing, getting older and having more and more to write about.”
Crookes said watching artists like Lily Allen, Corinne Bailey Rae and Amy Winehouse perform at the Brits had been a major influence on her: “I’ve always looked up to these inspiring and strong women, so to be able to be recognised in the same way they were is insane.”