The shortlist is selected each year by an invited panel of music critics, editors, TV and radio heads, live bookers, plus songwriters and producers. The award is eligible to artists who have not yet achieved a Top 20 on the Official Albums chart, or had more than one Top 20 UK single.
Bree Runway, 29, received encouragement from a young age, after performing for Michelle Obama during a visit to her school. She signed to Virgin EMI in 2018, releasing collaborations with artists including Yung Baby Tate and Glass Animals. In December last year, The Independent named her one of its Ones to Watch for 2021. Earlier this year, she was voted for by fans to receive the BET award for Best New International Act, and is also up for two Mobo Awards, for Best Female Artist and Video of the Year (“HOT HOT”).
She has received acclaim from stars including Rihanna and Missy Elliot, the latter of whom she collaborated with for her 2020 single “ATM”. She has rejected attempts to box her in single categories, such as a rapper or R&B singer, citing her wide-ranging influences that include Kelis, Grace Jones, Kate Bush, Britney Spears and Freddie Mercury.
“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,” she said in a statement.
“Attending [the Brit Awards] has been something I’ve wanted to do for years, but attending as a Rising Star nominee is a DREAM.”
Humberstone, 21, has received praise for her genre-blurring pop influenced by artists including Lorde, Phoebe Bridgers and Frank Ocean. The release of her debut EP, Falling Asleep at the Wheel, was followed by appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, The Late Late Show with James Corden and Later… With Jools Holland. This year she released her second EP, which included a collaboration with The 1975’s Matt Healy.
“Music has always been my entire life, and being nominated for such a prestigious award really means everything to me,” Humberstone said. “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.”
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Brit School graduate Lola Young, from south London, began writing songs when she was 11. She received praise for her debut collection of tracks, Intro, which included the single “Woman”. Through this year, she worked with producer Paul Epworth on new songs including “Fake”, which she debuted on The Late Late Show. She can also be heard performing this year’s John Lewis Christmas song, a cover of 1984 track “Together in Electric Dreams” by Philip Oakley and Giorgio Moroder.
“I can’t believe I’ve been nominated for this award. It feels surreal and completely unexpected,” Young said. “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!”
The winner will be announced on Friday 10 December. The Brit Awards take place on 8 February 2022.
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