Brits Rising Star award: British girlband Flo beat Nia Archives and Cat Burns

London-based trio say ‘it’s truly a dream come true’ after their 90s-influenced pop-R&B wins over panel of critics and industry professionals

Flo have become the first group to win the Brits Rising Star award (formerly known as the Critics’ Choice award).

The British girl group beat producer Nia Archives and songwriter Cat Burns to the prize. In a statement they described themselves as “shocked and grateful” at releasing their first music and winning a Brit award in the same year.

“It’s truly a dream come true,” they said. “We feel so empowered creating the music we love and we hope others feel that too.”

The London-based trio of Jorja Douglas, Stella Quaresma and Renée Downer, all aged 19 or 20, formed Flo in 2019. Quaresma and Downer met at the Sylvia Young theatre school, and met Douglas at the auditions that produced the band.

Flo: Cardboard Box – video

They signed to Island records in 2020 and released their debut single, Cardboard Box, produced by MNEK, in March 2022, following a stint in artist development and at writing camps. The throwback R&B song earned them comparisons to Sugababes and TLC, artists that the band have said they discovered through their parents. In July, they released their debut EP, The Lead, which has been streamed more than 70m times.

The trio made their US TV debut on Jimmy Kimmel Live! in October, and their UK TV debut on Later… With Jools Holland a month later.

Flo are the rare girlband in an otherwise barren pop landscape, following Little Mix’s farewell tour earlier this year. Of the dearth, Douglas theorised to NME that “it’s hard putting girls together as the chemistry is not easy to find. We haven’t had to sell our friendship or force it to come across authentically, as for us it comes so naturally.”

Of their ambitions, she said: “Take the Spice Girls for example, it wasn’t just about the singing, you knew each of their personalities … we really want to show who we are, too.”

The Rising Star shortlist is selected by an invited panel of editors, critics, radio and music TV executives along with songwriters, producers and promoters. The award is open to British artists who, as of 31 October 2022, have not had an album in the UK Top 20, or more than one UK Top 20 single.

The 2023 Brit awards take place on 11 February at London’s O2 Arena.


Laura Snapes

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Soul singer Celeste named winner of Brits rising star award
The British Jamaican artist beat Beabadoobee and Joy Crookes to the prize, formerly known as the critics’ choice award

Laura Snapes

06, Dec, 2019 @12:00 AM

Article image
Nia Archives, Cat Burns and Flo nominated for Brits Rising Star award
The prize, formerly known as the Critics’ Choice award, has previously tipped the likes of Adele, Florence + the Machine and Sam Smith for success

Laura Snapes

29, Nov, 2022 @12:01 AM

Article image
Celeste, Beabadoobee and Joy Crookes nominated for Brits rising star award
The award, previously won by Adele and Sam Smith, is voted for by music industry figures predicting 2020’s biggest new stars

Ben Beaumont-Thomas

27, Nov, 2019 @12:01 AM

Article image
Brits awards 2018: Stormzy and Dua Lipa beat elders to snatch top prizes
London grime MC honoured on night when artists carry white roses in protest against sexual harassment

Nadia Khomami and Ben Beaumont-Thomas

21, Feb, 2018 @10:30 PM

Article image
Brits 2019: we need female creativity for British music to stay relevant
It was bracing to have my comments about misogyny in music read out on stage by the 1975 – but the British industry needs actions, not words, if it is to let female talent flourish

Laura Snapes

21, Feb, 2019 @8:00 AM

Article image
Jack Garratt wins the Brits critics' choice award
The singer, songwriter and producer scoops the prize that pretty much guarantees success – as it did for Adele and Sam Smith

Michael Hann

27, Nov, 2015 @12:01 AM

Article image
Rag'n'Bone Man wins 2017 Brits critics' choice award
Unlikely bluesman scoops the prize that helped launch Adele

Michael Hann

08, Dec, 2016 @12:01 AM

Article image
Brit awards: Griff wins 2021 Rising Star award
Hertfordshire pop songwriter beats Pa Salieu and Rina Sawayama to gong previously given to Sam Smith and Adele

Laura Snapes

19, Mar, 2021 @9:27 AM

Article image
Brits 2019: who will – and should – win every award
Can Dua Lipa have a second successful Brits year in a row, or will George Ezra dominate the biggest categories? Ahead of tonight’s ceremony, we ponder the likely winners

Ben Beaumont-Thomas and Laura Snapes

20, Feb, 2019 @7:00 AM

Article image
The Brits open a new chapter in making British pop look moribund
A second posthumous nomination for Amy Winehouse, the grime artists who were the stars of last year’s show ignored … is this the best the Brits can do?

Alexis Petridis

14, Jan, 2016 @6:00 PM