The acts are (in alphabetical order):
girl in red
Last year Celeste was crowned the winner ahead of a strong longlist featuring the likes of YUNGBLUD, Arlo Parks and Beabadoobee. Artists named on the list over the years include Stormzy, Adele, Sam Smith, Lady Gaga, Foals, Dizzee Rascal and Lewis Capaldi.
The countdown of the Top 5 will kick off on Sunday 3 January and will continue throughout the week. The Sound of 2021 winner will be announced on Thursday 7 January 2021.
The list was compiled using recommendations from over 160 influential music experts, including artists, DJs, radio and TV producers, journalists, streaming experts and festival bookers.
All participants were asked to name their favourite three new acts, who could be performers from any country and any musical genre, whether or not they are signed. They cannot have been the lead artist on a UK top ten album or more than one UK top ten single before 30 October 2020.
They must not already be widely known by the UK general public (for example, a member of a hit band going solo, a soap star or a winner of a national talent search show such as X Factor or The Voice in the last three years).
Further details of the panel and how the list was compiled are available on the BBC Music Sound Of 2021 website.
Alfie Templeman started writing songs at home in the small village of Carlton in Bedfordshire after being inspired by a televised Rush concert at the age of eight. Now with four EPs to his name aged just 17, Templeman has taught himself to play 10 instruments, including the keyboard, mandolin and harmonica. Describing the title track of his 2020 EP Happiness in Liquid Form as "colourful sugary disco pop", he has hopes to perform as many shows as possible as soon as he's able to get back on the road.
Rapper and singer BERWYN was born and raised in Trinidad and Togabo and moved to London at the age of nine. Self-taught on the piano, guitar, drums and violin, he wrote his debut mixtape Vega in two weeks from a mattress on the floor of a room he was renting at the time. He has collaborated with the likes of Headie One and Fred again.. and was described by Pitchfork as the breakout star of Richard Russell's collaborative project Everything Is Recorded earlier this year.
Raised on an eclectic range of music at her childhood home in Hackney, London, Bree Runway's work draws on a range of styles, including pop, trap, dance, R&B, rock and country. She began making music while she was still at school and recorded her debut EP in a DIY studio in her bedroom, counting Missy Elliott, Gwen Stefani and The Neptunes among her musical heroes. Describing her upcoming work as 'genre fluid and destructive', she is looking ahead to a tour and an album in the near future.
Born in Birmingham and raised in the Netherlands, rapper Dutchavelli moved to East London aged 12. Growing up with parents of Jamaican and Trinidadian heritage, music played a big part in his upbringing, with rap juggernauts Tupac and Eminem among his inspirations. The summer of 2020 saw him collaborate with Tion Wayne and Stormzy ahead of releasing his debut mixtape Dutch From The 5th.
girl in red
21 year-old Norweigan singer-songwriter and producer girl in red, aka Marie Ulven, was gifted a guitar eight years ago and never looked back. Later learning keyboard before beginning to experiment with production, she now has two EPs under her belt as she prepares to release her debut album. With themes around mental health and her experiences as a self-described queer artist prevalent in her work, she has already amassed a legion of fans worldwide, with the New York Times describing her as a 'growing phenomenon'.
R&B singer Greentea Peng, aka Aria Wells, hails from South London and credits Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu and Finley Quaye among her influences. After starting to write her own songs at the age pof 12, she released her debut EP Sensi in 2018 and her follow-up, RISING, in 2019. She has since worked with The Streets and Donae'o and is working on her debut album.
19 year-old Singer, songwriter and producer GRIFF began honing her production and song writing skills after school at her family home in Hertfordshire, with Taylor Swift's album Fearless as one of her earliest inspirations. GRIFF released her debut single shortly after completing her A Level exams in 2019 with her debut EP following later that year, and has since worked with the likes of Hailee Steinfeld and Zedd.
20 year-old Holly Humberstone, who grew up in the Lincolnshire countryside, garnered the attention of Lewis Capaldi early in 2020, joining him to open on his European tour before releasing her debut EP Falling Asleep At The Wheel later in the summer. With themes encompassing everything from falling in love to mental health, the EP was described by NME as both 'staggering' and 'deeply affecting'.
22 year-old rapper Pa Salieu was born in Slough and spent his formative years in Gambia before moving to Coventry at the age of 10. His new home later became the inspiration behind his breakout track Frontline and his debut mixtape Send Them To Coventry, which he dropped late in 2020 to widespread acclaim. His recent single My Family featuring BackRound Gee was recently longlisted for Annie Mac's Hottest Record of the Year on Radio 1.
Wigan four-piece The Lathums, comprising of Alex Moore, Scott Concepcion, Ryan Durrans and Jonny Cunliffe, embarked on their first headline tour in early 2020 before their summer release The Memories We Make landed them a spot in the top 20 of the UK album chart. They later released their follow up EP Ghosts and landed a spot on Later...With Jools Holland, with new tour dates lined up for 2021.
2020 – Celeste
2019 - Octavian
2018 - Sigrid
2017 - Ray BLK
2016 - Jack Garratt
2015 - Years & Years
2014 - Sam Smith
2013 - HAIM
2012 - Michael Kiwanuka
2011 - Jessie J
2010 - Ellie Goulding
2009 - Little Boots
2008 - Adele
2007 - Mika
2006 - Corinne Bailey Rae
2005 - The Bravery
2004 - Keane
2003 - 50 Cent