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12 March 2021

Griff And Pa Salieu Among The Shortlist For The BRIT Rising Star Awards

Warner Records
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Griff, Pa Salieu and Rina Sawayama have been selected as the three shortlisted artists for 2021’s prestigious Rising Star award at the BRITs.

The three artists, who have all seen their careers blossom in 2020 and are expected to reach new heights this year, will go head-to-head in the hopes of being the winner.

Speaking about the nomination, Coventry-raised rapper Pa Salieu said, “I am very grateful to be shortlisted for this BRIT award. Love & blessings every time! Thanks to everyone supporting my journey so far.”

While singer-songwriter Griff stated, “It’s kinda terrifying how many legends have been nominated for this award. I never ever ever expected making beats in my music room after school could eventually lead to a BRIT nomination. Super lame but I remember after school, catching up on the BRITs and crying watching Stormzy perform. And I don’t think I really knew what that emotion was at the time but I think it was just an overwhelming sense of aspiration. To be nominated for a BRIT three years on is completely surreal!”

Lastly Rina Sawayama added, “I literally fell to the floor when I found out that I’d been nominated for Rising Star. I really can’t put into words how much this means to me given that I wasn’t eligible for this award a few weeks ago and now that door has been opened for future generations of artists like myself. Thank you so much to everyone who voted for me, it means the world.”

Previous winners of the award, which was previously called the Critics’ Choice award, include Adele (2008); Florence + The Machine (2009) and Jorja Smith (2018), as well as last year’s winner, Celeste.

Griff, the 20-year-old Hertfordshire songwriter Sarah Griffiths was previously nominated for the Ivor Novello Rising Star award, and came fifth on this year’s BBC Sound of 2021 poll, losing out to the other shortlisted star: Pa Salieu.

Radio 1 DJ Annie Mac said the 23-year-old Coventry rapper had “a unique perspective on Britain”, telling “stories of friendship and family, of violence, exclusion and racism, and they act as timeless evidence of British street life at the turn of the new decade, with his mixtape Send Them To Coventry.

The Rising Star award is open to British artists who, as of 28 February 2021, have not yet had a Top 20 album or more than one Top 20 single. Earlier this year the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) who are behind both the BRITs and the Mercury prize changed the rules on who was eligible for an award, as Rina Sawayama didn’t hold a British passport or dual citizenship bit has indefinite leave to remain after spending 25 years in the country.

The winner will be announced on 19 March ahead of the ceremony on 11 May, which has been delayed due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

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