BRITISH SINGER Ray BLK has topped the BBC’s Sound Of 2017 list, which aims to predict the most exciting new music for the year ahead.
It is the first time an unsigned artist has won the honour – which has previously gone to Adele and Sam Smith.
“I can’t believe this is happening,” said the 23-year-old, from south London. “It’s all just so ridiculous!”
Ray said she wanted her music to “empower women to live life as they want”.
The BLK in her name stands for Building Living Knowing, which she describes as her three main values.
“There are so many societal pressures on women, on how we should behave, and they’re all based on male privilege.”
The Sound of 2017 list was chosen by a panel of 170 DJs, critics and festival bookers.
Among them was Jamal Edwards, founder of SB:TV, who said he was “blown away” when he saw Ray BLK perform at one of his club nights last year.
“She is the whole package,” he said. “I know she’s going to have an amazing year.”
Ray added: “I feel so honoured to have topped the list this early in my career and join such an incredible alumni of winners. Thank you so much to the BBC and all the voters!
“I’m particularly proud to be a part of this year’s list as it’s full of so much talent, some of whom are independent artists like myself which I really hope inspires the next generation of artists.”