Singer-songwriter Rag’n'Bone Man has been named as the winner of the Critics’ Choice Award for the Brit Awards next year, following in the footsteps of past winners such as Adele, Sam Smith and Jessie J.
The musician, whose real name is Rory Graham, beat two other shortlisted acts – Essex-born Anne-Marie and model-turned-singer Dua Lipa – to win the accolade.
The announcement caps off an already successful 2016 that has seen the 31-year-old from Uckfield, East Sussex, perform a sold-out show at Brixton Academy, as well as take to the stage at Glastonbury and Lovebox music festivals.
His debut single Human was released in July and a full album will be released next year.
In 2012, he supported one of his musical heroes, Joan Armatrading, after his girlfriend sent the promoters videos of him singing on the toilet, a local newspaper reported.
He told The Argus: “I didn’t know anything about it but I’m pretty glad she did send them in. I made some of my early recordings while sitting on the toilet and it turned out that she sent those in as well. They seemed to like it though.”
The Critics’ Choice winner is chosen by a panel of music industry experts, as well as music editors from newspapers, magazines and websites. Key figures from major radio and TV stations are also included on the panel.
Graham will be presented with the award at the Brit Awards nominations launch event on January 14.
The event will be aired on ITV and will include performances from Graham, as well as former X Factor presenter Olly Murs, Craig David and Britain’s Got Talent star Calum Scott.
The Critics’ Choice Award category was launched in 2008 as a means to highlight and identify top future British music talent.
Successful acts including Florence + The Machine, Ellie Goulding, James Bay and Emeli Sande have all won the accolade.