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Who is BBC Sound of 2022 winner PinkPantheress?

PinkPantheress (Brent McKeever/PA)
PinkPantheress (Brent McKeever/PA)

PinkPantheress is the first winner of the BBC’s prestigious Sound Of poll to have carved out her career predominantly on TikTok.

The 20-year-old singer and producer has managed to maintain relative anonymity while building enough career momentum to claim an accolade previously won by high-profile artists including Sam Smith, Ellie Goulding and Adele.

Born in Bath, she moved to Kent at the age of five with her mother, a carer of Kenyan background, and her English father, who worked as an academic.

While still a teenager, PinkPantheress fronted a band covering American alternative rock groups such as My Chemical Romance and Paramore.

However, it was at university in London when she began making music for TikTok, combining dance music genres such as drum and bass and UK garage with pop and alternative rock.

In December 2020, she began uploading clips of her music to the social media platform and, 10 months later, it named her song Just For Me its breakout track of the summer.

The song, produced by Mura Masa, subsequently reached number 27 in the UK singles chart.

“It took me until I was 19 to realise that there was a way of getting into music without having loads of industry connections,” she told the Guardian.

PinkPantheress has more than one million followers and 8.1 million likes on the site.

The Sound of 2022 list, selected by a panel of more than 130 industry experts and major artists, features other young acts who have bypassed the usual music industry routes through sites such as TikTok.

Capital’s Jingle Bell Ball 2021 – Day One – O2 Arena – London
Mimi Webb performs with Tom Grennan (Matt Crossick/PA)

Singer-songwriter Mimi Webb, who claimed third place, has 1.2 million followers and 23 million likes on the site, while rapper Central Cee, who was in fifth, has 1.6 million followers and 15.6 million likes.

In October, PinkPantheress released her debut mixtape To Hell With It, which featured the songs Pain and Passion, and won her fans such as Lizzo, Grimes and Charli XCX.

Coldplay recently covered her song Just For Me in Radio 1’s Live Lounge, introducing it to their vast international audience.

Despite this, she has managed to withhold her real name and maintain a normal daily life as a university student.

However, after being named the BBC’s Sound of 2022, it is unclear how long this anonymity will last.

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