Shortlist for coveted prize revealed
Andrew Trendell
08:50 5th December 2013

Rising stars Chloe Howl, Sam Smith and Ella Eyre have been nominated for the 2014 BRITs Critics' Choice Award, with the winner set to be announced early next year.

Since launching in 2008, winners of the award have included Adele, Florence & The Machine, Ellie Goulding, Jessie J, Emeli Sandé and Tom Odell - all of whom have gone on to achieve pretty spectacular success, obviously. 

The award is chosen by a team of experts including the music editors of national newspapers, key music and lifestyle magazines and music websites plus the heads of music at major radio and music TV stations. The Award is open to artists signed to a label who are set to release their debut albums in 2014 and over 100 artists from a range of genres were considered for the award.

All three of the artists also feature on the BBC Sound Of 2014 longlist, so are more or less destined for huge things in the year ahead. 

The winner of the shortlist will be announce on Thursday 12 December 2013, with the rest of the 2014 BRIT Award nominees revealed in January. The ceremony itself will take place on Wednesday 19 February at The O2 in London. 

Below: Which new bands are going to be huge in 2014?

  • FKA Twigs: This unique London vocalist deserves to hit the big time next year. Her debut EP, EP 2, produced by Yeezus collaborator Arca, features stunning tracks 'Papi Pacify' and 'Water Me'. The blogs are already abuzz - surely mainstream success beckons next.

  • Jessy Lanza: Her debut album, the minimalist R&B/electronic tinged Pull My Hair Back, was released in September 2013 to widespread critical acclaim. A guest appearance on a crossover electronic hit could assist Lanza in becoming one of 2014's leading female voices.

  • Flyte: A beautiful, brilliant hybrid of Kodaline and The Feeling, Londoners Flyte specialise in jaunty, upbeat guitar pop, as was evidenced on recent release 'Words Come Easily', but will truly kick up some dust next year when they drop huge ballad, 'Faithless'. An indie anthem in the making.

  • Banks: The new mistress of breathtaking, downtempo electronic soul, Banks specialises in elegant, haunting pop music, as evidenced in her flawless 2013 track, 'Waiting Game'. Having toured with The Weeknd in 2013, the mainstream is set to sit up and pay attention next year.

  • Asgeir: Iceland knows a thing or two about epic-sounding pop and rock music, with stars such as Bjork, Sigur Ros and most recently Of Monsters And Men hailing from their shores. Next export is Asgeir, a solo star with a more acoustic take on the glacial tones of Sigur Ros, mixed with the guitar-led warmth of OMM.

  • St Lucia: New York-based producer Jean-Philip Groble has been kicking around the internet for a little over a year, but with the recent release of debut album When The Night, (it's amazing), he is set to be the next big name in credible, electronic pop. His single 'Elevate' is perhaps the best pop single of 2013, and the album is packed full of future classics.

  • Phoria: Brighton collective Phoria made waves with their 2013 EP Bloodworks, and are set to follow in the epic, downtempo footsteps of the likes of James Blake with their gloomy yet euphoric sounds. Perfect for lazy Sundays, hungover Wednesdays and, well, any other day of the week, basically.

  • Say Lou Lou: After the release of their stunning 'Julian' single (which even caught the attention of Daft Punk - they're big fans), the Swedish sisters stepped out of the limelight to focus on their debut album. They are currently on tour with Foals - and we can think of no better band to coach these newcomers on the long and winding road to success.

  • RAC: Formerly a prolific remixer, Portland producer Andre Allen Ajos dropped his flawless Don't Talk To EP in October 2013, signalling big things to come from the US star. Like Nile Rodgers for the next generation, this bass-player and production wizard is big on collaborations (Kele Okereke, Penguin Prison) and will set light to dancefloors in 2014.

  • Darlia: The year of the guitar band never happened, but that hasn't stopped the UK rock and indie scene flourishing in the past year. When it comes to 2014, Darlia are leading the charge, with their ragged, uncompromising rock and roll - straight out of Blackpool.

  • Kelela: LA singer Kelela is another vocalist at the front of the futuristic R&B/indie R&B/whatever you want to call it movement. Her free mixtape Cut 4 Me, was released in October 2013, merging hip hop, R&B, electro and even grime, featuring production from Girl Unit and Kingdom. If her free material is this awesome, it's exciting to think how an album would sound.

  • Fryars: Specialising in thoughtful, electronic pop, Londoner Ben Garrett has been on the scene for several years, but like a number of new artists for 2014, has only really hit his stride in the past year, dropping spectacular singles 'In My Arms', 'Cool Like Me' and most recently, 'The Power'.

  • Yung Lean: This enigmatic Stockholm rapper, leader of rap collective Sad Boys, may not quite be to everyone's taste, but he's already garnering comprehensive blog exposure and gaining a cult following thanks to his hip Windows 98 screensaver music videos and dreamy, trippy brand of hip hop. Debut track 'Ginseng Trip' is beautiful in a very odd way.

  • Sasha Keable: Having already featured on tracks by Disclosure and Zinc, the 19 year old Wandsworth native is gearing up to strike out on her own, currently working on her debut EP. Manager Tinie Tempah told us himself she's his big tip for next year (he does manage her, so he is biased however).

  • Radkey: Rocking the cobwebs off Later With Jools Holland to bring a welcome dose of hard and brutal noise to the attention of UK viewers, these three brothers from Missouri proved themselves as ones to keep a close eye on the year ahead. 2014 won't be the year of punk, but it could certainly be the year of Radkey.

  • SKATERS: These three NYC rockers describe their sound as 'humblecore'. They may not have big egos, but their potential knows no bounds. With a free and easy garage rock sound, they've been compared to The Strokes - but hopefully with a much longer shelf-life.

  • Mausi: They've already made waves with their undeniably danceable Anglo-Italian pixie-pop. Expect them to soundtrack next summer once their album drops.

  • Alpines: They've teased us with a handful of singles and collaborations over the past couple of years, showcasing their bewitching glitch-pop electronica that both swoons and soars, they enchant the crowd with their Bat For Lashes-esque dreaminess. GIVE US AN ALBUM AND GET MASSIVE SOON PLEASE.

  • Foxes: After collaborating with Fall Out Boy, Disclosure and Zedd, she's won hearts around the world with her sweet and soaring vocals. Her recent singles 'Youth', 'Beauty Queen' and 'White Coats' have further laid her claim to dominating the airwaves in 2014. Expect a smash album, and to be hearing her A LOT in the year to come.

  • NO CEREMONY///: If you're yet to hear or see this Manchester trio, they're you're a poorer person for it. With the mesmeric dreamscapes of Chromatics driven by the pulsing dark rhythms of New Order and elevated by warm electonica and fuzzy guitars, their self-titled debut album is really, really ace and they're surely the sound of big things to come.

  • Lacey: With only a couple of EPs behind them, Lacey have already supported some pretty big names, attracted a legion of screaming teenage girls, appeared as ThisIsPulp's Unsigned Band of the Week and featured in Front Magazine being described as 'arguably the best thing to come out of Nottingham since Kevin Costners' mullet'. With the same balance of power-pop prowess, adrenaline and sentiment that calls to mind the sound of Static Prevails era Jimmy Eat World, Lacey offer refreshingly cliche-free set of solid emo mastery. You'll be hearing a lot more from then in 2014.

  • Bondax: Prodigy producers Bondax are as young as they come. With a totally fresh airy take on disco/house production, they're a shoe-in to steal a top spot next year. Currently working on the live show and no doubt a debut album, the duo have a huge amount to offer in the coming months.

  • Jacob Banks: Signed and discovered by Wretch 32, Jacob has been cropping up on a few features this year, including Chase & Status and Wretch himself. With a distinctly powerful voice, Banks is bound to tear it up from stripped down tracks all the way to future rave classics.

  • Joel Compass: Britain's answer to The Weeknd is so much more than that. Offering the know how to take the cringe inducing R'n'B' genre to new heights, Compass signed to the prolific Black Butter label where Rudimental and Gorgon City began. Joel is definitely one to watch.

  • Ben Pearce: After 'What I Might Do' was re-released on a major following being originally put out on Chase and Status' MTA label, chart success is almost a given for Pearce. In the vein of Duke Dumont and Breach, the anthemic groovy deep-house has travelled organically through the charts by word of mouth.

  • NONONO: This Swedish electro outfit have have success written all over them. Inspired by the likes of Oh Land and the Knife, their single 'Pumpin Blood' is making consistent waves all over - with much bigger and better things to come.

  • Grey Hairs: This fierce and furious little beast is comprised of the mangled limbs of Nottingham's local heroes Kogumaza, Fists, Cult of Dom Keller and Fonda 500 – sewn together to make one mean mother. Brooding, angry-bastard riffs set to haunting howling make one hell of a nightmarish and awesome onslaught, look forward to the Hairs scaring the shit out of your town in 2014.

  • Joey Bada$$: It certainly shows age to constantly refer to newcomers as 'young,' but bloody hell Joey is young. Yet somehow his sound shows a huge appreciation for the good vibes and laid back grooves of old school hip-hop. With no Trap music in sight, he is the answer to the problems manifested by the often stale contemporary American rap scene

  • MNEK: Supposedly working with Florence + The Machine on her new material, MNEK got his break on Rudimental's 'Spoons' where his truly unique voice shone through. Something of a feature star currently, along with some blinding covers, his debut has high expectations riding on it.

  • SAMPHA: Following the recent Drake collaboration, there is no doubt that a whole new spectrum of listener has opened up to Sampha. As one of the greatest voices in music at the moment and an insanly talented multi-instrumentalist, the possibilities are endless. Fingers crossed for an album soon.

  • Cyril Hahn: With his 'Say My Name' remix of Destiny's Child, Hahn uncovered a simple yet effective tool in production of slowing down vocals and fitting them over a melodic deep house groove. The following tracks have sounded unlike anything else, leaving the producer poised to take the dance production game up a notch. With more to come, we're really looking forward to him being a big part of 2014.


Photo: Tom Martin/Press