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01 December 2021

BRITS announces shortlist for the Rising Star Award 2022 - meet this year’s nominees

01 December 2021

The BRIT Awards 2022 has confirmed the shortlist for its annual Rising Star category, formerly known as the Critics’ Choice award.

As in 2019 and 2018, all three nominees who have made the cut are female solo artists. They are: London pop star Bree Runway, 29, Lincolnshire songwriter Holly Humberstone, 21, and London balladeer Lola Young, 21.

Bree Runway

Bree Runway described her BRITS nomination as being like a ‘dream'

(BRIT Awards)

Pop phenomenon Bree Runway started to make music whilst still at school, and at 14 performed for Michelle Obama who told her to keep going.

After leaving school, she studied music at university in London. Whilst working a part-time job to help fund her studies, Bree used her very first pay cheque to buy a small home studio and soon after, her first EP, RNWY 01, emerged.

The multi-faceted artist started to post videos - her ‘Mirror covers’ on social media with many going viral: one of her first ever posts received over 50 million views in a matter of days and received likes from Rihanna, Missy Elliott and 6lack.

Bree’s first EP received early acclaim and ultimately gave her the confidence to tackle more personal issues on follow-up, Be Runway. The themes chimed with many and earned Bree a legion of likes from famous fans including Kehlani, Aminé, Diplo and Jorja Smith.

Forging her own path and unapologetic in her approach, Bree still retains the DIY ethos of her earliest days creating meticulous collages of ideas to capture her own very assured vision. Making it her mission to change the narrative, singles from her 2000AND4EVA mixtape masterpiece, ATM, Gucci and follow on viral hit HOT HOT garnered global acclaim and defined her own genre-bending strand of ‘destructive pop’.

The East London singer kicked off the year shortlisted for the BBC Sound Of and received a BET Award for Best New International Act 2021 (viewer’s choice), followed by further co-signs from the likes of Doja Cat, Chloe Bailey - whom she cameoed for on the video for Have Mercy, Khalid and Cardi B.

Most recently Bree featured on Lady Gaga’s Dawn Of Chromatica Remix album and has received two MOBO nominations for Best Female and Video of the Year for HOT HOT.

Speaking about her nomination, Bree said: “I feel so honoured to be recognised by the BRITs in this way, it’s all so exciting especially as previous nominees have gone on to do such amazing things, I hope I’m struck by that same luck. Attending the BRITs alone has been something I’ve wanted to do for years, but attending as a Rising Star nominee is a DREAM.”

Holly Humberstone

Holly Humberstone said her nomination meant ‘everything to her'

(Louis Browne)

Holly Humberstone’s childhood home is your quintessential spooky, strange house, and is a big part of the 21-year-old’s identity. Hers is a sound that belongs to the night, moonlight flashes and twilight tinges occupying her genre-blurring songs, which take influence from the likes of Bon Iver, Damien Rice, Frank Ocean, Lorde and Phoebe Bridgers, but stand alone in their own distinctive world.

Her debut EP Falling Asleep At The Wheel was written at her home and imitated the sounds of the house – packed with distant buzzes, ethereal echoes and wonky, warped glitches. Falling Asleep At The Wheel marked the first chapter in the story of a new global talent who has garnered over 200M global streams to-date.

Over the past year, the rising alt-pop star has achieved everything from being nominated for the Ivor Novello Rising Star Award with Apple Music, coming runner up in the BBC Sound of 2021, chosen as YouTube’s next Artist On The Rise, and Deezer’s Focus artist, amongst intimate and groundbreaking performances on Jimmy Fallon, James Corden, and Later... With Jools Holland.

Having just released her critically acclaimed second EP The Walls Are Way Too Thin, about being lost and questioning where you belong, whilst captivating thousands of fans across the UK and USA (including Lorde) on her debut headline tour, the Grantham-born artist has become the UK’s next great songwriting talent.

It is the honest storytelling at the heart of Holly’s craft that has captured the hearts and minds of fans globally, with “tattoo lyrics” that are specific to her life, from her sisters’ struggles with mental health to growing apart from her friends, but are universal experiences.

Speaking about her nomination, Holly said: Music has always been my entire life, and being nominated for such a prestigious award really means everything to me. Recognition from the BRITs is something I am struggling to comprehend at the moment! it’s truly an honour to be nominated for the BRITs Rising Star Award alongside two other incredibly inspiring female artists.”

Lola Young

Lola Young said she is ‘excited’ by her nomination

(Jake Turner)

Growing up in south London, 21-year-old Lola Young started writing songs aged 11, and by the time she reached 13 she had already competed in (and won) a national open mic competition.

Once she graduated from the prestigious BRIT school, she began gigging non-stop around London and focusing on fine tuning her abilities as a live performer.

Her work to date includes the potent and empowering single ‘Woman’, her debut collection of tracks ‘Intro’, second release the ‘Renaissance’ EP and the heart wrenching ‘After Midnight’ EP, which all received significant critical acclaim; garnering radio support from the likes of Annie Mac, Clara Amfo, Benji B, Gilles Peterson, Jo Wiley, MistaJam and DJ Target as well as support from press across the board.

Throughout 2021 Lola has been in the studio writing with award-winning producer Paul Epworth, working on a new collection of tracks, including latest single ‘FAKE’ which debuted with a live performance on The Late Late Show with James Corden, with James himself asking Lola personally to be on the show after hearing the track.

Lola also recently appeared on the legendary ‘Later… With Jools Holland’ show with an incredible stripped back version of ‘FAKE’.

In addition to these performances Lola has just released a spell-binding track for this year’s John Lewis Christmas advert, a new version of the 1984 classic ‘Together in Electric Dreams’ by Philip Oakley and Giorgio Moroder.

Speaking about her nomination, Lola said: “I can’t believe I’ve been nominated for this award. It feels surreal and completely unexpected. I actually have to pinch myself looking at the other artists that have been nominated previously. It is such a big step for me and I feel very excited to have been nominated!”

Previous winners of the prestigious nod have included the likes of Adele, Sam Smith, Rag’n’Bone Man, Ellie Goulding and Jessie J.

The winner of the Rising Star award will be announced on December 10 with the BRIT Awards 2022 taking place on Tuesday February 8 at the London O2 Arena.

The event will be broadcast exclusively on ITV and ITV Hub and hosted by Mo Gilligan.

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