BBC Music Sound Of 2020 has revealed the top five artists who experts think are most hotly tipped for success this year. Around 170 music critics, musicians and DJs, including alumni artists like Billie Eilish and Lewis Capaldi, voted in this year’s poll, and the top five covers artists whose influences range from Arctic Monkeys to Billie Holliday to The Cure.
Topping the list this year is Celeste, the 25-year-old British-Jamaican singer from Brighton with her spine-tingling brand of neo-soul. “Celeste is a phenomenal talent, a voice that does not come around often and when you are exposed to it, is impossible to ignore,” says BBC Radio 1 DJ Annie Mac. “I have received countless emotional texts from listeners who have had to sit in their car and lose themselves to her song Strange before carrying on with their evening.”
The top five artists are listed below, we’ll be showing exclusive videos from the top three over the coming days.
Celeste adds the Sound of 2020 prize to a growing cabinet, including BBC Music Introducing’s Artist of the Year 2019 and the BRITS Rising Star. The neo-soul singer has earned feverish comparisons with Amy Winehouse and Billie Holiday for her bluesy melancholic voice. Celeste started her journey with BBC Music in 2014 when she uploaded her track North Circular to the BBC Music Introducing website. Her heartbreaking single Strange put her on the map, and she has toured with label-mate Michael Kiwanuka, who topped the BBC’s Sound of 2012 poll. One of her biggest fans is Paul Weller. “He reached out to one of my managers, we got to do a duet of one of his songs,” Celeste tells the BBC. “You don’t expect that sort of thing to happen.” Another fan is James Corden, who tweeted:“I cannot stop listening to @celeste this is her song Strange. It’s sensational. I dare you not to love her. I dare you.” Expect to see her on a late-night talk show sometime soon…