Trio beat James Bay, Stormzy and Raury to top spot
London electronic pop trio Years & Years have been named as the winners of BBC Sound of Music 2015.
The prize, voted for by 139 music industry tastemakers, aims to judge the artist most likely to succeed in the coming year. It has previously been awarded to current big-name acts including Adele, Sam Smith, Ellie Goulding and Jessie J.
Speaking about the award, Years & Years frontman Olly Alexander called it “pretty overwhelming” and said the band would continue on as normal. “It’s a mixture of emotions – mainly so grateful and happy that we’ve got this recognition, but also quite terrified of crashing and burning!” he said.
“We’ve all been doing our own thing for long enough now, so we’re not going to let this disrupt us. We’ve taken a lot of time to discover stuff and make mistakes and learn about the music we want to make. We’ve always done everything ourselves – the music, the videos – so it feels like we know who we are now. That’s done us alright so far, so our plan is to keep the blinkers on and keep doing that.”
Years & Years were picked out of a longlist of 15 acts, including BRITs Critics’ Choice winner James Bay, who came in second, grime artist Stormzy who was third, and singer-songwriter Raury and spoken word artist George The Poet, who came fourth and fifth respectively.
Announcing the verdict on Radio 1, Huw Stephens praised the band’s ideas and “clear vision”. “Years & Years have already and will continue to capture imaginations with their electronic melodies and lively on stage sets,” the DJ said. “They are a young band with loads of ideas and a clear vision of the music they want to make, and that will take them far this year.”
George Ergatoudis, Head of Music for BBC Radio 1 & 1Xtra, added that the band “fully deserve” to top the poll. “Lead singer Olly Alexander is blessed with a distinctive, intoxicating voice that works beautifully with the band’s emotive, electropop production,” he said.
Years & Years have been making music since 2009, releasing singles through electronic label Kitsune before signing to Polydor in 2014. The band supported last year’s winner Sam Smith on tour in 2014.
Smith, who has since become the only artist to sell more than a million albums in both the UK and US, and is nominated for six Grammy awards this year, said Years & Years have “such amazing talent” and advised the band to “take all that support and bring the right songs and go for it.”