Fast-rising British star Declan McKenna has capped off a hugely successful 2017 by being named as BBC Introducing’s artist of the year.

The annual award recognises musicians and artists who have gained their exposure through the BBC Introducing scheme, which allows unsigned acts to get their material played on the corporation’s radio stations.

McKenna, now aged 18 and who started writing songs at school in his teen years, said that he was “delighted and honoured” to be recognised with the prize.

Declan McKennaDeclan McKenna has won BBC Introducing's artist of the year for 2017

“I uploaded a bunch of demos when I was 14 or 15 because there were all these amazing bands coming out of BBC Introducing at the time,” the singer told the BBC on Wednesday (December 6th). “I remember being played on Three Counties, which was my local station. They had me in the studio, which was cool, because I'd never done anything like that before.”

The Hertfordshire-born singer-songwriter received his break in 2014 when he submitted some of his early songs to the website.

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One of those tracks has since become his signature hit, ‘Brazil’, and it caught the attention of an executive at Columbia Records who signed McKenna backstage at Glastonbury Festival the following year.

With a clutch of Radio 1-endorsed singles behind him, McKenna released his debut album What Do You Think About The Car? in July this year, which hit no.11 in the UK Albums Chart. He’ll receive his award during Friday night’s broadcast of ‘The Year in Music 2017’ on BBC Two.

“I'd like to say a big thank you for relentlessly rooting for me throughout the years,” McKenna told the network. “No award could ever overshadow the time, effort and support given by so many others to get me to the point I'm at now, and for that I'm eternally grateful.”

Founded in 2014, former winners of the BBC Introducing artist of the year have included Catfish & The Bottlemen, Jack Garratt and Izzy Bizu. The likes of The 1975 and Florence + The Machine also used BBC Introducing as a platform.

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