The up-and-coming British songwriter Tom Odell has been named as the winner of the Brits Critics’ Choice Award. He got his break in the music industry when a friend of Lily Allen’s took her to see him play and she was instantly drawn to the singer’s talents. Odell recently released his debut EP ‘Songs From Another Love’ and has expressed his surprise at learning that he’s been awarded the accolade of Critics’ Choice – becoming the first ever male artist to do so.

“I genuinely can’t believe it. Thank you so much. Looking at the list of amazing female artists who have won the Award already, I just hope I don’t let the boys down!" said Odell. Lily Allen – now known as Lily Rose Cooper – had already tipped Tom for success in NME, revealing “I went to see him play and signed him to my label straight away. His voice is fragile yet powerful and he sings mainly love songs. I'm not usually a massive fan of singer-songwriter stuff, but when I saw him live his energy onstage reminded me of David Bowie. It's not soppy and moany at all, it's energetic and insightful. And he's totally gorgeous as well! Blond hair and blue eyes, and simply just lovely.”

The Critics’ Choice award is chosen by a panel of industry insiders every year and is awarded to an artist who is yet to have released a debut album. Previous winners have included Emeli Sande, Jessie J and Ellie Goulding.