- 07 Jan 21
The Gambian-British rapper released his debut mixtape, Send Them to Coventry, last year.
Less than a year-and-a-half after the hotly tipped rapper was shot in the head outside a pub in Coventry, Pa Salieu has been crowned the winner of the prestigious BBC Music Sound of 2021.
The 23-year-old was selected by a panel of 160 industry experts and artists, including Billie Eilish, Stormzy, Jorja Smith, Wolf Alice, AJ Tracey, YUNGBLUD, Foals, and Charli XCX.
Previous winners of the highly coveted award include Celeste, Sam Smith, HAIM, Michael Kiwanuka, Jessie J and Adele.
Pa Salieu was born in Slough, and spent his formative years in The Gambia, before moving to Coventry at the age of 8. He released his debut mixtape, Send Them To Coventry, in 2020 to widespread acclaim.
“I was just really happy to even be included on the list alongside some amazing artists, a few of who I know personally," he says. "They’re all crazy talented, so to be the winner of something like this so early in my journey just feels mad."
“I’m delighted for Pa Salieu winning the prestigious Sound of 2021," Annie Mac adds. "As a man whose childhood was split between The Gambia and Coventry, he has a unique perspective on Britain. His songs are exquisitely produced, with enough restraint for Pa’s voice to shine through and have the space to tell the stories of his life. They are stories of friendship and family, of violence, exclusion and racism and they act as timeless evidence of British street life at the turn of new decade.”
The top five artists for Sound of 2021 are:
- Pa Salieu
- Holly Humberstone
- Greentea Peng
The longlist for Sound of 2021 also included Alfie Templeman, Bree Runway, Dutchavelli, girl in red and The Lathums.