Singer-songwriter and musician Declan McKenna has said he is “eternally grateful” to have been crowned BBC Music Introducing artist of the year.
The 18-year-old’s accolade is the first of this year’s BBC Music Awards to be announced, with the remaining three titles set to be revealed during The Year In Music 2017 programme on BBC Two this Friday.
McKenna’s achievement follows his Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition win in 2015, and his inclusion in the long-list for the BBC Sound of 2017 poll.
McKenna said: “I’m delighted and honoured to accept this award from BBC Music Introducing.
“I’d like to say a big thank you for relentlessly rooting for me throughout the years. 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!”
McKenna, from Hertfordshire, scored a musical breakthrough with his self-released world cup protest track Brazil, which he originally uploaded to BBC Music Introducing in Beds, Herts and Bucks in 2014 when he was 15.
The song’s popularity eventually caught the attention of Columbia Records, where he was later signed as an artist, and he was also adopted by Radio 1.
In 2017, McKenna performed at Radio 1’s Big Weekend for a second time, and he took to the stage at the 10th anniversary of BBC Introducing Live at the O2 Academy Brixton.
His critically-acclaimed debut album What Do You Think About The Car? peaked at number 11 following its release in July.
Dan Roberts, editor for BBC Music Introducing, said: “For the past 10 years BBC Music Introducing has supported the best new and emerging artists, taking them from bedroom demos to Maida Vale sessions, and local gigs to UK and international festivals.
“Having first uploaded his music to Introducing when he was just 15 years old, Declan makes the perfect recipient for this year’s award. BBC Music Introducing has been at every step through Declan’s musical career and we look forward to hearing what comes next.”
The winners of BBC Music artist of the year, British album of the year and live performance of the year will be presented with their awards during the broadcast of The Year In Music 2017, hosted by Claudia Winkleman with guest presenter Clara Amfo.
The Year In Music 2017 airs on BBC Two, Friday December 8 at 9pm.