Jorja Smith is the recipient of 2018's BRITS Critics' Choice Award.

Drake's protégé beat off stiff competition from London rapper Stefflon Don and R&B star Mabel to receive the prestigious accolade.

The 'Get Together' singer said of the news: ''I cannot believe it, it's been an unforgettable 2017 during which I've fulfilled so many of my dreams and this is such a special way to end the year... and to be part of an all-female shortlist alongside Mabel and Stefflon Don, who've both had incredible 2017s, makes it even better! There's lots more to come in 2018 from all of us and I will do my best to make it another memorable year!''

BRITs Chairman and Chairman & CEO of Sony Music UK & Ireland Jason Iley added:

''The Critics' Choice Award has an incredible track record of showcasing some of the most exciting up-and-coming artists for the last ten years. Jorja Smith has a huge future ahead of her and looks set to follow in the footsteps of the most successful past Critics' Choice winners.''

Stefflon Don and Mabel have had exceptional years too.

'Envy Us' hitmaker Stefflon - whose fans are called dons - came to prominence this year after collaborating with US pop star Demi Lovato and Jax Jones on 'Instruction' and the rapper said she was feeling ''lit'' about being shortlisted for the prestigious accolade previously handed to the likes of Ellie Goulding, James Bay and Adele.

She said of the honour: ''I am so excited to be nominated for this amazing award. A big shout out to all my fans and dons for their support. 2017 has been lit and I can't wait for 2018! Mad love to you all.''

The last in the all-female list who was in the running for the accolade, was Mabel - the daughter of singer and songwriter Neneh Cherry and Massive Attack record producer Cameron McVey - who said she was over the moon with the nomination.

She commented: ''Being nominated for the Critics' Choice award really is a dream come true for me. So much hard work has gone into getting to this point, so to be acknowledged by something like the BRIT Awards means the world.''

Since its inception in 2008 - when Adele won - the Critics Choice Award has helped launch the careers of the likes of Florence + The Machine, Jessie J, Emeli Sande, Tom Odell, Sam Smith, Jack Garratt and this year's winner Rag 'n' Bone Man.

The 2018 BRIT Awards, sponsored by Mastercard, takes place on February 21 at London's The O2 arena.