Rapper Pa Salieu

Rapper Pa Salieu wins BBC Sound of 2021

Rapper Pa Salieu wins BBC Sound of 2021

Rapper Pa Salieu wins BBC Sound of 2021

The BBC Music Sound Of poll has named 23-year-old Gambian-British rapper Pa Salieu as its 2021 winner.  

Salieu was selected by a panel of 160 industry experts and alumni artists, including Billie Eilish, Stormzy, Foals, Charli XCX, Aj Tracey and Jorja Smith.  

Born in Slough, Salieu spent his childhood in The Gambia before moving to Coventry with his family, aged eight.  

His new home became the backdrop for his debut mixtape, Send Them to Coventry, released last year to critical praise.  

“I was just really happy to even be included on the list alongside some amazing artists, a few of who I know personally,” Salieu said in a statement.  

“They’re all crazy talented, so to be the winner of something like this so early in my journey just feels mad.”

Previous winners of the BBC Music Sound Of poll include Adele, Sam Smith, Michael Kiwanuka, Years & Years, and HAIM. 

Radio 1 presenter Annie Mac said: “I’m delighted for Pa Salieu winning the prestigious Sound of 2021. As a man whose childhood was split between The Gambia and Coventry, he has a unique perspective on Britain.”  

She continued: “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:

You can find a list of more new artists tipped by The Independent as ones to watch in 2021, here.  


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