Everyone at BIMM is thrilled, proud and incredibly happy to announce that another of our ex-students, James Bay, has won the prestigious BRITs Critics’ Choice Award.
A panel of music industry experts picked James as the most exciting new artist to watch in 2015, beating the hotly-tipped George the Poet and Years and Years. And James is the second BIMM student to win this award, after Tom Odell was also named as the Critics’ Choice in 2013.
The award means that James — who studied Guitar at BIMM Brighton — is suddenly catapulted to wider consciousness in the UK and beyond.
James said: “I’m pretty speechless. After all the years I’ve spent watching the BRITs and even after this year; watching my fan base grow so much, I never thought I’d actually be getting an award myself. And what a huge honour to be following the incredible artists who’ve won before! I’m really chuffed, thank you to everyone who has supported me.”
The BRITs Critics’ Choice Award has jump-started the careers of a string of artists who went on to become household names. BIMM’s Tom Odell ,Adele, Florence + the Machine, Ellie Goulding, Jessie J, Emeli Sandé and Sam Smith have all been worthy winners since the inaugural award took place in 2008.
Now James joins that illustrious list, and the Hertfordshire-born singer-songwriter can be justly considered among the brightest young talents in the world today.
2014 has been a year of high-profile success for James. He’s had a sell-out UK tour, supported Irish sensation Hozier in America, performed live for Fearne Cotton on BBC Radio 1, and provided the live soundtrack to a major Burberry fashion show.
Vaseema Hamilton, principal of BIMM’s London, Brighton and Bristol colleges, was overjoyed and full of pride for James:
“If any young professional deserves to reap the rewards of their prodigious talent, hard work and absolute dedication to their music it is James Bay. As soon as James joined us at BIMM in Brighton we knew he was something very special – an incredible guitar player with a mature, blues based sound, combined with unique and memorable vocals.”
“Since James graduated from BIMM we have followed his emerging career with pride and delight. He has worked so hard for it: gigging constantly and working to develop a real maturity and authority in his writing, whilst honing his captivating performance technique. 2015 is certainly going to be a massive and life-changing year for him and he deserves all the success that this prestigious award will bring with it.”
Adam Bushell, BIMM Brighton college manager, was thrilled but hardly surprised at James’ victory:
“James really is one of the good guys, and his feet are firmly on the ground – I’m delighted to see all his hard work, effort and belief is paying off. It couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.”
We couldn’t be happier for James — he’s a wonderfully talented musician and a totally deserving winner. Well done James, we’re all going to be celebrating on your behalf today!
And with two BRITs Critics’ Choice Award wins in three years, it goes to show that BIMM is the place to be if you want to maximise your talent, plug straight into the music business and hit the ground running!