- in In Pictures
Soul singer Celeste has won the Brits’ Rising Star award, priming her for success in 2020.
Born in Los Angeles and raised in Brighton, the musician has turned heads with her beguiling, soulful voice.
After winning the Rising Star award, the 25-year-old will get to perform on stage at the Brit Awards in February.
The British-Jamaican singer said the award was “a huge honour” and that she hoped “to make the most of this incredible opportunity”.
“Like many others, I grew up watching the Brits and have been continually inspired by its nominees, winners and the performances,” she went on.
The prize, formerly called the Critics’ Choice award, has previously been awarded to Adele, Sam Fender and Rag’n’Bone Man.
Celeste started singing in her teens, taking inspiration from Elton John’s Your Song.
She picked up support from Radio 1 DJs after uploading her song North Circular to the BBC Music Introducing site.
Her debut EP, The Milk and Honey, was produced by Lily Allen’s Bank Holiday Records label shortly after and she was signed to Polydor Records last year.
Her melancholy ballad Strange was recently playlisted by BBC Radio 1 and she is currently touring Europe with R&B star Michael Kiwanuka.
Earlier this week, Celeste was named BBC Introducing’s artist of the year. She also appeared on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour to talk about her musical upbringing.
“The first music I heard was my granddad playing Aretha Franklin and then later Ella Fitzgerald and Otis Redding,” she said, citing the likes of Solange and Neneh Cherry as more modern inspirations.
“Something I love about Neneh Cherry is she seems unbreakable. She’s remained very cool, and an icon I think.”
Describing herself as “headstrong” and an “independent thinker”, Celeste said “being yourself [was] one of the most important things” while pursuing music.
The Rising Star award is decided by a panel of music editors, critics, radio and music TV station heads, songwriters, producers and live bookers.
Celeste topped a shortlist of three female singer-songwriters that also included musical polymath Joy Crookes and indie heroine Beabadoobee.
All three got the chance to record a session at London’s famous Abbey Road Studios.
Afterwards Celeste said she had been awestruck by “passing through the corridors and seeing all the pictures of Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra and Kanye West on the walls”.
“You can feel the atmosphere when you come to places like this, which I love,” she continued.
The 2020 Brit Awards will be broadcast live on ITV on 18 February from the O2 Arena in London.