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Jorja Smith Electric Brixton 200717 Photo by Jason Williamson 14

Jorja Smith, Mabel, Stefflon Don: here's all you need to know about the BRITs Critics' Choice picks

29 November 2017, 10:30

This year's trio of BRITs Critics' Choice nominees is undoubtedly and objectively the best yet: how can anyone decide between Jorja Smith, Mabel, and Stefflon Don?

The past two years have fed us the dampest of squibs, with Jack Garratt and Rag 'N' Bone Man scooping the coveted gong, pipping the likes of Dua Lipa, Anne-Marie, and Izzy Bizu in the process. Despite redeeming qualities (R'N'B's voice is obviously great, for example) they were still ludicrously safe picks representing a collective 'meh' in the British music industry. With Jorja Smith, Mabel, and Stefflon Don, there's no shortage of wow factor - there's a reason to be excited again.

For the first time since 2012, the award will go to a woman - there has never been an all-female shortlist. For only the second time ever, the winner will be a POC. This list is no longer the domain of solo (white) males as it has been for the past half-decade, and given that there's so much more to discover in the UK by such a diverse range of people, that's pretty great.

In a perfect world all three would win, but of course that's not gonna happen. So who are these artists ready to dominate 2018? Who are the names that have got everyone's lips flapping? Well, here's your guide to the best BRITS Critics' Choice nominees ever:

Jorja Smith

The Basics: Walsall-born 20 year old Jorja Smith has had a dizzying rise over the past (almost) two years, kickstarting a worldwide reputation with "Blue Lights" last January while still serving brews at Starbucks. Before striking out solo she was part of Birmingham collective OGHORSE, but she's certainly making it on her own nowadays.

Key Song: "Beautiful Little Fools". The Great Gatsby-nodding number, unveiled on International Women's Day, is an anthem that tears media stereotypes to shreds and promotes the power of individuality.

Career High (So Far): Teaming with megastar/fan Drake on his More Life jewels "Jorja Interlude" and "Get It Together".

What's Next?: "All the songs on my album are ready," Smith recently told i-D. "I just need to mix it and re-record three songs because I was ill when we were recording the live instruments."


The Basics: Cosmopolitan powerhouse Mabel has been stunning us for a long while with affecting, forward-thinking pop cuts and R&B jams. The 21 year old, raised between Spain, London, and Stockholm by parents Neneh Cherry and Cameron McVey, has been immersed in the world of music since day one, so it's only natural that she'd be making some of the best new music in the UK. She's got all the ingredients for superstardom, and she creeps closer to that stage with every passing day.

Key Song: "Thinking Of You". A sweet and glossy opus with emotion crammed tight into each bar - it apes the sparkling R&B of the late '90s and early '00s, adding dreamy twists and unforgettable modern hooks.

Career High (So Far): Scoring a UK Top 10 hit with "Finders Keepers", a seductive joint with genre-defying Londoner Kojo Funds.

What's Next?: Mabel is currently working on her debut album.

Stefflon Don

The Basics:​ Stephanie Allen is much better known as Stefflon Don - a play on both Steff London and a nod to mobster John 'Teflon Don' Gotti. Born in Birmingham to Jamaican parents, the London-based sensation (who spent time in Rotterdam when she was younger) combines an array of styles in her music: dancehall, grime, pop, dance, R&B, and more all swirl together with Don's vertigo-inducing levels of charisma tying the whole package together.

Key Song: "Real Ting Remix (ft. Giggs)". One of the finest examples of Don's genre-flitting style that whacks you upside the chops and stays rattling between your ears for days after.

Career High (So Far): A tie: she scored UK Top 10 track in the form of addictive French Montana collab "Hurtin' Me" over the summer, but her contributions to a remix of Charli XCX banger "After The Afterparty" with RAYE and Rita Ora brought her a whole new world of fans.

What's Next?: Stefflon Don is basking in the glow of recently released Skepta collaboration "Ding-A-Ling", and it teasing the soon-to-be-released visuals.

The BRITs Critics' Choice winner will be announced next week on 4 December.
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