English R&B singer Jorja Smith has won the Brit Awards 2018 Critics' Choice award, putting her in the rarefied company of previous honorees Adele, Sam Smith and Ellie Goulding.
The annual award singles out "future British recording talent." It caps growing buzz for Smith, who also has been recognized by Canadian rapper and producer Drake, who included her on his "More Life" mixtape and brought her onstage earlier this year when he played London's O2 Arena.
"It's been an unforgettable 2017, during which I've fulfilled so many of my dreams," the 20-year-old singer said after it was announced that she will pick up the award, which will be handed out Jan. 13. "This is such a special way to end the year."
The first Critics' Choice prize was introduced 10 years ago at the Brit Awards, the UK's equivalent of the Grammy Awards, and Adele was the first recipient.
Two years ago, Smith was working in a Starbucks when she put her debut single, "Blue Lights," up on SoundCloud. The video has logged nearly 3 million views on YouTube since then. Her debut album is due in the new year.
"Jorja Smith has a huge future ahead of her and looks set to follow in the footsteps of the most successful past Critics' Choice winners," Brit Awards Chairman Jason IIey said in a statement.
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