George the Poet named fifth in BBC Sound of 2015 as countdown begins

The 23-year-old poet from north London has been called a 'passionately articulate wordsmith for a young generation'

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The Independent Culture

Spoken word artist George the Poet has come fifth in the BBC Sound of 2015.

The 23-year-old, hailed by Matt Fincham of Radio 1 as “a passionately articulate wordsmith for a young generation”, is the first of five artists to be announced of the fifteen acts long listed for the title.

The remaining top four artists of this year’s list will be revealed on the Radio 1 breakfast show throughout the rest of this week.

The BBC Sound Of list has a history of predicting rising stars, with Adele, Ellie Goulding and Sam Smith having all won the title previously.

George the Poet, also known as George Mpanga, was raised in the Stonebridge Park estate, one of the roughest areas of Harlesden in North West London.


He began rapping at 15, but it was not until he graduated from Cambridge with a degree in politics that he decided to combine his rap with poetry to communicate more effectively with his audience.

In a recent interview he described this marriage between the two mediums:  “I think rappers are primarily expected to make money for the industry and provide party soundtracks, but obviously there are exceptions and grey areas. The poet’s 'role' is usually to provide thoughtful social commentary”.

In 2012, he premiered the poem My City, a piece that helped secure his record deal with Island Records in 2013.

He is now in high demand with Emile Sande, Paulo Nutini, Labrinth and Wretch 32 having all given him guest spots.

George the Poet has also been shortlisted for the Critics’ Choice award at this year's Brit Awards.