Brit Awards Critics’ Choice winner Jack Garratt has said he was “infatuated” with David Bowie as a child.
The Buckinghamshire-born artist-producer and multi-instrumentalist is tipped to be a big name this year and said life has moved fast since he was announced as the winner of the top gong in November.
Reflecting on the moment he was told he had won the 2016 Critics’ Choice award he said he was feeling sad because he had moved away and was missing home.
“I was just putting things together and trying to just sort my head and my life out,” he told the Press Association.
His manager called to tell him the good news, and describing how he felt, Jack said: “My entire world stopped for a very brief moment. And it kind of hasn’t restarted again since then. I feel like I’m in this very weird moment where everything’s on pause. But at the same time it’s also fast forwarding at a really, really high rate. I haven’t really stopped since then, which I think is the really crazy thing.
“But it’s amazing. It’s unbelievable.”
Next month’s Brit Awards ceremony will feature a special tribute to David Bowie, who died of cancer just days after his 69th birthday.
Speaking about the rock star, Jack said: “His music, not just his music actually, his ability to create, was one of the most inspirational things that I saw as a kid. My dad introduced me to him when I was very, very little, and I was infatuated.
“Him and Stevie Wonder were two of the main artists that I noticed when I was young. I had music in every single part of my life, but the first time I really sat still and realised that I was being emotionally affected by music was when I listened to David Bowie or Stevie Wonder.”
He said they took pop songs and turned them into “music of expression”, which he says is all he has ever wanted to make.
“That’s what excited me as a kid, and it’s what excites me now. So I was extremely sad that he left, but I think it’s incredible that he left in the way that he did. He kind of left us all with an incredible gift.
“His death is not about me or my reactions. It’s about the amount of people that he touched and what he was able to do in the time that we were lucky enough to spend with him,” he said.
Asked if he feels pressure to emulate the success of previous Critics’ Choice winners such as Adele and James Bay, Jack said: “There is a pressure but my job essentially is not to listen to that pressure, not to buckle underneath that pressure, but instead to continue making music in the way that I have been making it.”
He added that it would be “silly” for him to relax following his win, and said his job now is to work as hard as he can and to produce music he is proud of.
Jack has also won the BBC Music Sound of 2016 poll.
He first began uploading tracks to the BBC’s Introducing Uploader in 2009 – but it is only in the last year or so that he has come to wider attention.
He sold out a UK tour in 2015 and supported Mumford & Sons on their UK tour dates.