5 Things You Didn’t Know About Celeste, The Winner Of BBC Music's Sound of 2020

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If the singer Celeste isn't on your radar yet, she definitely should be. The 25-year-old just won BBC Music's Sound Of 2020, an award previously awarded to the likes of Adele, Haim and Ellie Goulding.

"I'm really, really happy," the British-Jamaican soul singer said after being told she had won. "It's like all of the work that went in throughout the [last] year wasn't invisible."

The award, voted on by a panel of 170 industry professionals – from Billie Eilish and Lewis Capaldi, to journalists and DJs – it recognises musicians tipped for success in the coming years. Scooping second place this year was indie band Easy Life, followed by pop-punk firebrand Yungblud in third.

Celeste's soulful voice has been described by BBC Radio 1 DJ Annie Mac as "phenomenal" and recently won her another accolade – the Brits Rising Star award – back in December.

Born Celeste Epiphany Waite in Los Angeles, the songstress was raised in Brighton and is now based out of London. She's dropped two EPs to date: 2017’s The Milk and The Honey and 2018’s Lately. Last year, Compilation 1.1 gathered seven tracks in one compilation, including her breakthrough song "Strange," which has amassed more than 1.2 million views on YouTube.

There's no doubt that she is destined for a bright future, not least as a BBC Music's Sound Of alumn, so in here are five things you didn't (and should) know about her.


She Was Fired For Skipping Work To Go To The Studio

Celeste moved to London three years ago with only £100 in her pocket, according to the BBC. She was later fired from her job for skipping work in favour of going to the studio and writing songs. "I'd rather call in sick and go to the studio than have the money for that month," she said. "And there was a couple of months where I was like, 'What am I going to do?'"


Her First Song Was An Accident Of Sorts

Her first song, "Sirens", inspired by her father's death, was something of an accident. She was only 16 and writing with her then bandmates. “I started writing songs a bit more seriously [after that]," she told Dummy magazine. "That was the real beginning of writing for me.” That same song was the one that went on to attract the attention of a prospective manager.


She already has a legion of celebrity fans

She may not be a household name just yet, but Celeste has a host of celebs backing her. Lily Allen's label, Bank Holiday Records Label, released her debut single; James Corden tweeted that he couldn't stop listening to her back in October, and Jorja Smith, Elton John and Sam Fender are also fans.


She has diverse musical inspirations

From Tyler The Creator, to Solange and Frank Ocean, Aretha Franklin, Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday, Celeste has many musical muses. "I’d be at my nan and grandad’s house and [theirs] was the first music that I heard, really, from a really young age," she told Interview Magazine. "As I got older, I got used to that music falling upon my ears, and it not really seeming like a thing."


She was super shy about her talent from the start

She may have opened for a number of huge stars – including Michael Kiwanuka, Janelle Monáe and Neneh Cherry – but she wasn't always that confident. “When I realised I could sing and I wanted to sing in front of people, I remember saying to my mum in my bedroom, ‘I think I can sing, by the way, and I want you to listen but I’m going to turn off the light and I need you to turn around,” she told Dummy Magazine.