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 ISLAND MAN JACK GARRATT IS BRITS CRITICS' CHOICE

Island Records U.K. has big cause for celebration after new signing Jack Garratt has been named the victor of 2016's BRITs Critics' Choice Award. It's the third year in a row that an act from David Joseph's Universal has won the award, given to developing acts; Island MD Jon Turner is naturally thrilled.

The last four winners have been James Bay (Virgin EMI), Sam Smith (Capitol) and Tom Odell (Columbia).

Managed and A&R’d by Sam Faulkner at Sarah Stennett's First Access Entertainment, Island President Darcus Beese signed Garratt to his label in July last year in a joint venture with Interscope (John Janick signed him to the U.S. label). Garratt is the third act signed to Island after being developed by Stennett, following the Sugababes 13 years ago and then Jessie J.

Multi-instrumentalist Garratt's one-man live show is his “special talent,” Turner tells us. “He's an Island act through and through, he does something that no one else does.”

The BBC's up-and-coming talent support initiative, Introducing, noticed Garratt after he uploaded his music onto their online portal in 2009. His track “Worry” was chosen as Zane Lowe's Next Hype record in 2014 and he was chosen as Huw Stephens' Record of the Week in August. Later that month, Garratt played the Reading and Leeds festivals, and “Worry” was added to the BBC Radio 1 Introducing playlist in September. Announced as the BBC Introducing Act of the Year earlier this month, he will be honored at the BBC Music Awards on 12/10.

Garratt's debut album, Phase, is out on 2/19, and he'll play the 4.9k capacity Brixton Academy in London on 4/15. He’ll tour worldwide throughout 2016, as the already substantial global interest he’s cultivated gains momentum.

After the worldwide success of Sam Smith and now James Bay, we'll be keeping a close eye on Garratt, who has a strong chance of being Blighty's next breakthrough artist.

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