A COVENTRY rapper has won this year’s BBC Sound of competition, previously awarded to Adele, 50 Cent, Jessie J and Keane.
Pa Salieu, who moved to the city at the age of eight from the Gambia, impressed a panel of 160 industry experts and alumni artists, including Billie Eilish, Stormzy, Jorja Smith, Wolf Alice and AJ Tracey.
The 23-year-old said: “I was just really happy to even be included on the list alongside some amazing artists, a few of who I know personally.
“They’re all crazy talented, so to be the winner of something like this so early in my journey just feels mad.”
Coventry has inspired Pa’s breakout track Frontline and his debut mixtape Send Them To Coventry which received widespread acclaim when it arrived on the scene late in 2020.
And it comes just months before Coventry’s year as the 2021 City of Culture gets under way.
Pa began his journey with BBC Music back in the summer of 2019, with his track Dem A Lie premiering on BBC Radio 1Xtra for Target Embargo.
He has since recorded freestyles for Toddla T and Tiffany Calver on 1Xtra, and joined the likes of Headie One, Ghetts and Burna Boy on the bill for 1Xtra Live 2020.
And he has performed live in session for Radio 1’s Future Sounds with Annie Mac.
His recent single My Family featuring BackRoad Gee made the longlist for Annie’s Hottest Record of the Year 2020 and he has also picked up consistent Tune Of The Week support from Nick Grimshaw and Clara Amfo.
Annie Mac said she was delighted for Pa.
“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.”