Scottish singer-songwriter Emeli Sande on Thursday won the Critics' Choice Award organized by the BRITs to honor up-and-coming music stars.
Previous winners have included Jessie J, Ellie Goulding and Adele, whose second album "21" is set to be this year's global top seller.
"To win a BRIT Award so early in my career is beyond a dream come true," said Sande, who decided to drop her first name Adele and use to her middle name instead after Adele's rise to fame.
"I am overwhelmed to be the recipient of such a prestigious award."
The other two shortlisted artists for the prize, which has helped young artists gain wider media attention, were runner-up Maverick Sabre and third-placed Michael Kiwanuka.
Sande, in her early 20s, began her career in music writing songs for other artists including Chipmunk, Professor Green and Tinie Tempah.
She rose to public prominence in 2009 when she featured on the song "Diamond Rings" by Chipmunk.
"Heaven," the first single from Sande's upcoming debut album "Our Version of Events," hit shelves in August and went to No. 2 in the British singles charts.
Sande recently performed on tour and is currently supporting Coldplay across Britain and Europe. "Our Version of Events" is released is set to be released in February, 2012.