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BRITS CRITICS' CHOICE 2019

The contenders for the coveted BRITs Critics’ Choice Award for 2019 have been revealed, with Atlantic’s Mahalia in the running alongside two Universal signings—Virgin EMI act Lewis Capaldi and Polydor’s Sam Fender.

The artist most likely to achieve success next year and beyond—following in the footsteps of most recent victors Jorja Smith, Rag’n’Bone Man, Jack Garratt, James Bay and Sam Smith—will be declared next Friday (12/7).

British R&B and soul singer/songwriter Mahalia has been under development at Atlantic for the last seven years. She boasts over 1.6m monthly listeners on Spotify, and her most popular track, “Sober,” has over 12m streams. After supporting Jorja Smith on tour, she played a headline show at small London venue Omeara in March and has most recently been opening for labelmate Anne-Marie. Mahalia is signed to Kobalt for publishing; management is Bernadette Barrett at Big Bear Management.

Scottish singer/songwriter Lewis Capaldi is the furthest along in his career of the trio, having released two EPs to date, while accumulating over 4.7m monthly listeners on Spotify thanks, in part to widespread playlist support. His most popular track, “Bruises,” has a huge 88m+ streams. Publishing is BMG; management is Ryan Walter at Interlude Artists and Scott Kirkwood. After supporting Rag’n’Bone Man on tour, he headlines the 5k-cap. O2 Academy Brixton in February.

Sam Fender’s debut album will be released next year on Polydor, where he’s a priority act. A singer/songwriter from Tynemouth, he’s “super-exciting and a really traditional British act in a way that we haven’t seen over the last few years,” according to label boss Ben Mortimer. Fender has over 1.1m monthly listeners on Spotify, and “Dead Boys” is his most-streamed track to date, with 2.7m plays. He plays the 1.8k-cap. Electric Brixton in February. Management is Owain Davies at OD Management, and publishing is Kobalt.

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