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Who are the Brits Critics' Choice nominees?

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Yes, it's the annual time of year where the critics decide what they're going to tell everyone else they should be listening to, which will ensure lots of coverage in itself and thus become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

But, while the idea of an award for not having actually done anything but having the potential to do something is somewhat ridiculous, there's no arguing that, since its inception in 2008, the Brits Critics Choice award has actually done a pretty good job of predicting who we'll all be listening to in the future.

Of the eight winners so far, there's two genuine world megastars (Adele and Sam Smith), five which have become established stars in the UK (Florence & The Machine, Ellie Goulding, Jessie J, Emeli Sandé and James Bay) and Tom Odell (whose debut solo record did go in at number one, to be fair).

However, among the other nominees there's quite a few duds - Little Boots, White Lies, Delphic, AlunaGeorge, Chlöe Howl and George the Poet have not capitalised on early promise - so the rule seems to be: watch the winner and keep half an eye on the other two.

So who are this year's nominees? Well, it's a fairly eclectic bunch...


Jack Garratt

Probably the favourite for the award, the 24-year-old is a multi-instrumentalist, producing, singing and playing everything. While musically he's far removed, there's a hint of the Sheerans about him - live he makes extensive use of loop pedals and the like and, crucially, every other musician seems to love him (he's had several mentions from other acts in our Ultimate Playlist series). Stylistically, he mixes up acoustic, minimal beats and electronica. Radio 1 already love him, so you'll be hearing plenty of him - but whether he can appeal to the masses remains to be seen. We first featured Jack on The ShortListen in February 2014 and we stand by what we said then: "He appears to have an excellent beard, and there's some great dogs on his Soundcloud. Do you need us to sell it any more?"


Frances

Another alumni of The ShortListen (we featured her debut single, embedded below, in August 2014), the 21-year-old Frances is something of an unexpected choice for a nomination. Beginning her career with releases on the legendary French indie Kitsuné, her sound is not what you'd expect from that label. She's much more from the Birdy and Gabrielle Aplin school with a beautifully pure voice and delicate, piano-led songs - and appropriately enough she's now labelmates with Mumford and Sons on Communion Records. Like both of those artists, you can see this chiming with the Magic and Radio 2 crowd and appearing on a million adverts near you before too long - and to give her an extra few cool points, she's just unveiled a song co-written with Howard from Disclosure. Could well be the winner.


Izzy Bizu

Another somewhat unexpected choice, Izzy is ready to put the fizz into this award. Born to an Ethiopian mother and English father, the 21-year-old has been on the rise since winning an open mic night in Camden two years ago, where producer Naughty Boy (Emeli Sandé) happened to be in the audience. She's supported Sam Smith and trades in retro soulful pop not a million miles away from his style, with a touch of Amy Winehouse thrown in for good measure. If she gets the nod, could sell bucketloads.

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