Sam Fender is the 2019 winner of the BRITs Critics’ Choice award.
The first recipient of a 2019 BRIT Award pipped Mahalia and Lewis Capaldi in the category voted for by critics.
“I am truly humbled to win the BRITs Critics’ Choice award. Being nominated was crazy enough, never mind winning it. I’m so grateful to everyone back home for believing, and to my band and team for all their hard work," said the Polydor-signed artist.
"We've played literally hundreds of shows this year, and we're going to go even harder in 2019. Most importantly, a big shout to my fans. I've met a lot of you over the last few years and it’s truly an honour to get up and play night after night to such a wonderful bunch of people. To everyone who’s taken a punt on me so far, thank you.”
With previous winners in the category including Adele, James Bay, Florence + The Machine, Sam Smith and Jorja Smith, who triumphed this year, BRITs Chairman and Chairman & CEO of Sony Music UK & Ireland Jason Iley said he hoped the win would prove an useful stepping stone for the singer-songwriter.
"Many congratulations to Sam Fender on winning the BRITs Critics' Choice Award. He is an exceptional young artist, with a bright future ahead of him," suggested Iley.
"This award has shone a spotlight on some of the most successful new acts for more than a decade, who between them have sold more than 90 million records, from Adele to Sam Smith, Florence and The Machine to Rag 'n' Bone Man. I wish Sam the very best and that he enjoys the same success as many of the previous winners have before him.”
Fender will receive his award, which this year have been designed by Sir David Adjaye OBE, at the 2019 BRIT Awards, which takes place on February 20 and will be broadcast live by ITV.
For more on the Critics' Choice award's decade of talent spotting read Music Week's interview with Polydor's Tom March who at the time had three wins under his belt... and now has a fourth with Fender.