The three nominees for this year’s Critics’ Choice award at the Brits have just been announced. Cambridge-educated “urban wordsmith” George The Poet will face off against electropop trio Years And Years and singer songwriter James Bay for the award,  the winner of which will be announced on December 4th.

Sam SmithSam Smith won the critics choice award last year

Last year the award was won by Sam Smith, whose debut album In The Lonely Hour went on to become 2014's best-selling debut. Previous recipients have also included Adele, Jessie J, Florence and the Machine and Emeli Sande.

The shortlist is chosen from a list of over 100 candidates from a range of musical genres. Artists are eligible for consideration if they are signed to a record label and are set to release their debut album in 2015. The winner is then chosen by a panel of music industry experts and tastemakers as well as key players from television and radio stations.

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Speaking after the shortlist was announced, 23 year old George the Poet (real name George Mpanga) said, "I feel privileged to have been shortlisted for the Brits Critics' Choice Award. I always dreamed of reaching people and this nomination shows me that I'm on track.”

Learning of his nomination singer-songwriter James Bay said, “I still can't believe it. As much as I hoped, being nominated for the Brits Critics' Choice Award is not something I ever imagined would actually happen." "What a huge honour,” the 24 year old from Hitchin added.

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While London based trio Years and Years said, "We're so grateful to be making music and having this sort of recognition is crazy and ridiculous and nuts in a really good way."

The winner will be announced on December 4th and they will receive their trophy, designed by artist Tracey Emin, during the main Brit Awards ceremony on February 25th.