Big name stars lined up for BBC Les Miserables TV series

David Oyelowo, Lily Collins and Dominic WestImage copyright
David Oyelowo

Image caption

Oyelowo, Collins and West will begin filming next month

The BBC is bringing Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables to the small screen and has announced an all-star cast.

Dominic West will play the leading role of Jean Valjean, while Lily Collins takes the role of Fantine.

David Oyelowo will star as Valjean’s nemesis, Javert, with Erin Kellyman as Eponine in the six-part series.

Bafta winning actress Olivia Colman will also feature in the 19th century classic, which is being adapted by Andrew Davies.

Davies has a string of successful TV adaptations to his name, including 2016′s War and Peace starring James Norton, 1995′s Pride and Prejudice starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle, and Charles Dickens’s Little Dorrit (2008), which won seven Emmy awards.

Image copyright
Jason Merritt

Image caption

Anne Hathaway won an Oscar for her role in the 2012 big screen adaptation of Les Miserables

Collins said of her upcoming role: “I’m so thrilled to be playing Fantine. Andrew’s wonderful dramatisation opens up the character in fresh ways that I’ve never seen before in previous adaptations.”

West said he couldn’t wait “to get stuck in”, while Oyelowo said: “To play an iconic role like Javert is any actor’s dream, but to play it as written by Andrew Davies goes beyond my wildest dreams.”

Filming will begin in February in Belgium and France.

Davis said: “This is such an intense and gut-wrenching story and I am delighted that this esteemed ensemble of actors will be bringing it to life.”

Tom Hooper’s big screen adaptation of Les Miserables won three Oscars in 2013, including best supporting actress for Anne Hathaway for her turn as Fantine.

Follow us on Facebook, on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts, or on Instagram at bbcnewsents. If you have a story suggestion email

Article source:

Christmas boxsets give iPlayer its best week on record

Image caption

The Branning family drama was a big drawer for EastEnders viewers over the festive period

BBC iPlayer had its best week ever in the period between Christmas and New Year.

This was after a number of popular box-sets were added to the streaming service, including Sherlock, Blue Planet and Miranda.

Binge-watch series like Peaky Blinders and Line of Duty helped the broadcaster reach 69.2 million requests to view.

The EastEnders Christmas Day episode was the most popular show, with nine other episodes also in the top 20.

Peaky Blinders

Image caption

Episode six of Peaky Blinders was the third most popular iPlayer show

It received 1.6 million requests, while the Boxing Day episode had 1.5 million.

Peaky Blinders was the most successful of the reinstated box sets, with 8m requests, whilst episode six was the third most-watched show of the week.

The BBC received over 10 million more requests for programmes in the same week compared to last year after releasing old shows.

Sir David AttenboroughImage copyright

Image caption

Sir David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II helped boost viewing figures

It could be seen as a move to rival its competitors Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Charlotte Moore, BBC Director of Content, says: “It’s hugely exciting to see such unprecedented numbers come to BBC iPlayer this Christmas.

“The public have responded in their millions to the amazing range of content we’ve offered – and for those who are loving our special Christmas box set collection there are still a few days to go.”

Presentational grey line

Follow us on Facebook, on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts, or on Instagram at bbcnewsents. If you have a story suggestion email

Article source:

Meryl Streep and Mariah Carey had a major Globes mix-up

Image copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

Mariah and Meryl had a bit of a seat mix-up at the 2018 Golden Globes

Seat fillers at awards ceremonies are normally paid a pretty penny to cover for celebrity guests when they go to the toilet.

At this year’s Golden Globes, Mariah Carey did the job for free after accidentally taking Meryl Streep’s seat during an ill-timed toilet break.

The diva tweeted that she found herself sitting next to Steven Spielberg and asked Streep to forgive her.

Luckily Meryl saw the funny side and said she could take her seat any time.

Skip Twitter post by @MariahCarey

Bella Thorne ‘sexually abused’ until she was 14

Bella ThorneImage copyright
Getty Images

Bella Thorne has revealed she was sexually and physically abused as a child in a candid Instagram post.

The actress, who starred in Disney’s Shake It Up and is now aged 20, said the abuse took place “from the day I can remember till I was 14″.

She said she was sharing her experience in support of the Time’s Up movement.

Several actresses wore black to Sunday night’s Golden Globes as part of the campaign, which aims to draw attention and put an end to sexual abuse.

Writing on Instagram, Thorne said: “Over and over I waited for it to stop and finally it did. But some of us aren’t as lucky to get out alive. Please today stand up for every soul mistreated. #TimesUp”

Skip Instagram post by bellathorne

I was sexually abused and physically growing up from the day I can remember till I was 14..when I finally had the courage to lock my door at night and sit by it. All damn night. Waiting for someone to take advantage of my life again. Over and over I waited for it to stop and finally it did. But some of us aren’t as lucky to get out alive. Please today stand up for every soul Mistreated. #timesup

A post shared by BELLA (@bellathorne) on Jan 7, 2018 at 1:43pm PST

End of Instagram post by bellathorne

Instagram post by bellathorne: I was sexually abused and physically growing up from the day I can remember till I was 14..when I finally had the courage to lock my door at night and sit by it. All damn night. Waiting for someone to take advantage of my life again. Over and over I waited for it to stop and finally it did. But some of us aren't as lucky to get out alive. Please today stand up for every soul Mistreated. #timesupImage Copyright bellathorne

Campaigns such as Me Too and Time’s Up, which are focused on bringing about change for women in all industries, not just entertainment, were the main focus of the Golden Globes.

Hollywood has been hit by a string of sexual abuse allegations in recent months, as a result of the Harvey Weinstein scandal.

Follow us on Facebook, on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts, or on Instagram at bbcnewsents. If you have a story suggestion email

Article source:

Snow Patrol return after writer’s block fight

Gary Lightbody

Image caption

Gary Lightbody struggled with writer’s block for four years during the making of Snow Patrol’s upcoming new release, #SP7

Finding out where Snow Patrol fits in the world of music after a seven-year break will be a challenge, frontman Gary Lightbody has said.

They released their last album, Fallen Empires, in 2011, with new release #SP7 due out in May 2018.

“The way people listen to music, view it, buy it – everything has changed,” said the 41-year-old singer.

“But I’m more certain than I’ve ever been in my life that this record is an incredible one.”

In a wide-ranging interview with BBC Radio Ulster’s Sunday News programme, Lightbody, who is originally from Bangor, County Down, also revealed he faced another battle with writer’s block during the making of the album.


“I had four years of writer’s block on this one, it was only six months on Fallen Empires so it seems to be getting worse,” he said, explaining how it left him feeling like he was useless.

“There’s a lot of depression that is attached to it as well, because you feel like: ‘Maybe the only gift I have has deserted me,’ and you’re kind of inconsolable really.”

Lightbody said he got through the struggle by taking advice from fellow musicians and friends to “keep writing – even if it’s jibberish”.

“I don’t want anyone to ever see the piles of notepads in my house that I had to write through to get to the good stuff,” he joked.

With the new album comes the prospect of Snow Patrol getting back on the road, touring.

Belfast gig date?

Lightbody remained tight-lipped about the finer details, but told BBC News NI that once the album is released, the first step will be announcing a Belfast tour date – so watch this space.

While no-one can doubt the Northern Irish band’s incredible success over the past 15 years, Lightbody has big plans for the future.

“You have to make new dreams for yourself as you go along. It’s not that I’m not satisfied, but I am ambitious,” he admitted.

“I think that’s a side of myself I hadn’t quite allowed to be out there. As a Northern Irish person we’re not that good at selling ourselves, but I’m trying to be more confident about what I want.

Image copyright
Press Eye

Image caption

Gary Lightbody said the band will announce a tour date for Belfast after their new album comes out in May

“I would love Snow Patrol to headline stadiums. We’ve been away a long time so we would need two or three big records in a row, but who’s to say what happens.”

Asked if there is a Chasing Cars-style anthem to look forward to on #SP7, the answer was a definite ‘no’, but Lightbody acknowledged the importance of the song in helping raise Snow Patrol’s profile.

“I’m very proud of that song, it gave us so much, but I don’t think that’s possible any more.

“Music has moved on from that point, the big anthem guitar song has been done to death.”

While we won’t know the verdict on the new album for a few months yet, Lightbody has high expectations for it.

“I don’t want to sound trite and say it’s the best record we’ve ever done, but I’m really proud of it, I can’t wait for people to hear it.”

This interview was broadcast on The Sunday News on BBC Radio Ulster on Sunday, 7 January at 13:00 GMT. You can listen again here or on the BBC iPlayer radio app.

Article source:

Men’s Fashion Week: How Craig Green conquered menswear

Craig GreenImage copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

Green’s catwalk shows have been described as the highlight of men’s fashion week

For most of us, January is the month you can finally relax.

Christmas is done and dusted, New Year is out of the way, and you can watch half your friends attempt regimes with names like Dry Veganuary.

But if you’re a menswear fashion designer, it’s a different story.

While most of us have been in a post-Christmas stupor, they have been busy finalising their latest creations after months of painstaking work in preparation for London Fashion Week Men’s (LFWM), which returned this weekend.

The event was established in 2012 and now runs twice a year, a month ahead of the main Fashion Weeks.

And few catwalk shows attract as much attention as Craig Green’s.

The 31-year-old, who has been named British Menswear Designer of the Year for the last two years in a row, premieres his latest collection on Monday – the last day of LFWM.

Image copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

Many of Green’s designs are based on ideas of functionality

Sitting down with BBC News just before Christmas, Green seems remarkably chilled out – but a great deal of work has gone into his latest collection.

“It’s a very long process,” he says. “Because the shows are six months apart, we start planning a month after the last show.

“But it’s continuously changing, we order fabrics, we get things back that we think are going to be great, and then we see them, we’re cutting them up, changing them, developing them in the studio.

“It’s a five-month process, and we work long hours!”

But, judging by the press Green has received in recent fashion weeks, the work is paying off.

The Financial Times described his shows as “a highlight of the London menswear schedule”, while GQ’s style editor Luke Day recently said: “It’s the quiet confidence of his work that defines him as the most exciting new menswear designer of our time.”

Image copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

Drake was seen in one of Green’s jackets at London’s Wireless festival

For someone who only set up his own label in 2012, shortly after graduating from Central Saint Martins college, Craig’s star has risen rapidly.

He was enlisted by Ridley Scott to design costumes for 2015′s Alien: Covenant, and his creations have been worn by the likes of Rihanna, Will Ferrell, Jay-Z and Drake.

“We were asked to create something custom for the opening look of Rihanna’s tour,” Green explains.

“But someone like Jay-Z, he just bought that T-shirt, so we didn’t know about that until we saw it. Sometimes they just go into a store and buy it.”

Big names aside, Green says his biggest thrill often comes from seeing people in the street wearing his clothes.

“I remember after the first collection, I was walking past Liberty’s and I saw someone wearing one of our knitted hats, and I didn’t know them, they weren’t a friend or fashion journalist, and I remember how weird it was.

“And to realise that that person made a conscious choice to go into a shop and buy it, that’s very strange in the beginning, but also exciting.”

Image copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

Green’s SS18 collection included a series of colourful designs printed onto blanket wraps

Green’s success and critical acclaim are particularly notable for the fact he “didn’t come from an art or fashion-based family”.

“I come from north-west London, and my dad is a plumber and my mum was a nurse,” he says. “Art was just the subject that I seemed to do well in at school.”

After a friend recommended going to an open day at Central Saint Martins, which Green hadn’t heard of at the time, he ended up securing a place to study art.

Green initially had the idea of being a portrait painter or sculptor, but ended up being most taken with fashion – enjoying the community feel of the course, the pace of the work and the ability to experiment.

In the beginning, “I made a few really bad dresses for a charity fashion show”, he laughs. “I didn’t know how to sew – they were pretty much stapled together I think.”

But he soon discovered his passion for menswear.

Skip Instagram post by craig__green

SKEPTA @skeptagram – in CRAIG GREEN x MONCLER – CAPSULE C – @moncler – Launching Tomorrow at DOVER STREET MARKET London – @doverstreetmarketlondon #craiggreen #MonclerC

A post shared by CRAIG GREEN (@craig__green) on Aug 24, 2017 at 1:35pm PDT

End of Instagram post by craig__green

Instagram post by craig__green: SKEPTA @skeptagram - in CRAIG GREEN x MONCLER - CAPSULE C - @moncler - Launching Tomorrow at DOVER STREET MARKET London - @doverstreetmarketlondon #craiggreen #MonclerCImage Copyright craig__green

“My designs always play on ideas of function, things that used to be functional or things that look like they do something but they don’t.

“Excessive numbers of pockets, strings that pull in your waist, or strings look like if you pulled them maybe would inflate – it’s that play on functionality. It’s about looking at things that aren’t initially romantic and finding something interesting or beautiful in them.

“And I don’t know why, but we always go back to ideas of uniform or having lots of guys wearing the same kind of thing.

“It might just be because people don’t really wear uniforms any more, and I think there’s something romantic about having a communal way of dress, or that one size fits all utilitarian workwear feeling.”

Image copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

Green says he enjoys experimenting with the ideas of workwear and uniform

Green remembers one particular fashion show that inspired him to get into the industry.

“I went to a show when I was in college and it was so thrilling and exciting and it had so much energy, people were pushing to get in, people were jumping over barriers, there was so much energy in the room,” he says.

“And really, a fashion show is just people walking up and down with music on for a few minutes. But I was so surprised that you could make someone feel something or have so much excitement with just clothes, models and music.

“So when we approach a show, it’s almost like it’s meant to be a kind of exciting or creative fantasy version of what’s available to sell. We don’t sell the pieces with wooden elements, for example, but a lot of those more extreme kind of sculpture pieces end up as part of museum collections.

“We make those pieces because it’s about creating a world or a strong visual, but then we also sell jackets and shirts and things that are more accessible for people.”

Of course, one of the main issues the public can have with designer labels is pricing. Why spend more money on a jacket with a particular label when you can get it cheaper elsewhere?

But, Green explains: “The way things are priced are directly relative to the cost. So if you’re making a smaller number of things in an Italian factory, it’s a different price to making things en masse.

“And usually we choose high quality fabrics, it’s the technique, the complicated aspects of the construction. There’s a whole pricing structure, and then in the store they buy wholesale so they add their percentage on.”

Image copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

Green was named Menswear Designer of the Year in both 2016 and 2017

That attention to quality and detail seems to have paid off for Green so far.

The fashion industry will watching with interest as he unveils his new collection Monday to find out where he might go next.

Craig Green will show his Autumn/Winter collection at 10:00 BST on Monday as part of London Men’s Fashion Week.

Follow us on Facebook, on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts, or on Instagram at bbcnewsents. If you have a story suggestion email

Article source:

Golden Globes 2018: Stars wearing black on the red carpet

The red carpet at the 75th Golden Globes has been dominated by one colour – black.

Actresses are wearing black gowns in support of the Time’s Up movement, standing in solidarity with victims of sexual assault and harassment.

Many men are wearing Time’s Up pin badges or wearing all black.

Image copyright
Getty Images

Outlander star Caitriona Balfe, Will and Grace’s Debra Messing and The Handmaid’s Tale’s Yvonne Strahovski are among the many wearing all black.

Image copyright

Some chose to wear a splash of colour – including singer Kelly Clarkson, singer turned actress Mandy Moore and Get Out actress Allison Williams.

Image copyright

Many celebrities are sporting lapel pins and badges in favour of Time’s Up and 50:50, campaigns intent on fighting sexual harassment and gender inequality in the entertainment industry.

Above, Stranger Things actor David Harbour and William H Macy are seen sporting Time’s Up lapel pins, while The Crown’s Claire Foy wears a 50:50 button on the cuff of her striking tuxedo jacket.

Image copyright
Getty Images

Classic options were chosen by nominee Jessica Chastain, Gillian Anderson and Millie Bobby Brown on the red carpet.

Image copyright
Getty Images

Kate Hudson was joined in wearing black by Swedish actress Alicia Vikander and Downton Abbey star Lily James.

Image copyright
Getty Images

The Greatest Showman actor Zac Efron, actress and rapper Abbie Cornish and Baby Driver star Ansel Egort also showed their support for the campaign.

Image copyright
Getty Images

German actress Veronica Ferres walked the carpet in black, with La La Land star Emma Stone, former tennis champion Billie Jean King and Hollywood royalty Sharon Stone.

Image copyright
Getty Images

Former figure skater Tonya Harding, Actress Maggie Gyllenhaal and Game of Thrones star Lena Headey join the protest on the red carpet.

Image copyright
Getty Images

Actresses Reese Witherspoon, Eva Longoria, Salma Hayek and Ashley Judd pose together to show their support.

Image copyright
Getty Images

Actress Angelina Jolie arrives with her son Pax, activist Tarana Burke joins actress Michelle Williams, and Ugly Betty’s America Ferrera stands with fellow actress Natalie Portman, all dressed in black.

Image copyright
Getty Images

Nicole Kidman, named best actress in a limited series or motion picture made for TV for Big Little Lies, with her husband, musician Keith Urban.

Article source:

Desert Island Discs: Black Mirror’s Charlie Brooker on his ‘goofy’ persona

Charlie Brooker Radio 4

Image caption

Charlie Brooker is the latest Desert Island Discs castaway

Charlie Brooker says people are surprised to meet him in real life – as he’s not the “horrible deadpan sarcastic monster” they see on TV.

Satirist and writer Brooker revealed he’s “goofier and more awkward” than many people think.

The Black Mirror creator told Kirsty Young on Radio 4′s Desert Island Discs that he adopts a “comic persona”.

His song choices were influenced by his love of video games, his worries about the world and being an insomniac.

‘Less certain of opinions’

Appearing as a castaway on the long-running radio show, he said: “It’s become clear as I do more of the ‘Wipe’ shows that it is a comic persona I adopt, which is a world-weary cynic who will almost say anything and is bitterly angry and will say incredibly dismissive things and is very hard to dismiss.

“Whereas in real life I’m goofier and more awkward and far less certain of my opinions than I am on screen.”

Brooker’s first song choice was Tomorrow Never Knows by The Beatles, which he described as “where pop meets experimentation”, saying he could listen to it endlessly.

Image copyright

Image caption

Annabel Jones and Charlie Brooker are Netflix’s Black Mirror screenwriters

It lead to a discussion of how Brooker feels about the world now, with him saying he is a worrier.

“You could pretty much show me any object – you could show me a cotton ball – and I would extrapolate from that to how it would ruin my life or kill me, or destroy the world,” he said.

“Somehow I could pretty much catastrophise anything.”

He said his worries stem from fearing nuclear war when he was a child, as well as watching news programmes he wasn’t supposed to when he was 11.

Image copyright

Image caption

Brooker won two Emmys for Black Mirror episode San Junipero

He told Young that video games are a big part of his life, saying the luxury item he would take to a desert island would be a Nintendo Switch handheld games console.

“I was fascinated by this thought that you could control an image on a television, it was like a magical thing to me,” he said.

“From that point on I was hooked. I remember getting a ZX80 [games console], I saved and I begged until I got a Spectrum in 1982.

“From a very early age I thought – there is something about this as a form of entertainment that I can’t get enough of.”

One of Brooker’s song choices was Anyone Who Knows What Love Is by Irma Thomas – which Black Mirror fans will recognise from several episodes.

The writer is currently promoting the fourth season of the Netflix series, first shown on Channel 4.

It is credited for its moments of light and shade, with Brooker seamlessly combining elements of both comedy and horror into the hit show.

Image copyright

Image caption

Brooker handles modern day romance in the latest series of Black Mirror

“I always knew I wanted to work in comedy but couldn’t find a way into it,” he told Young.

“I started off writing video game reviews for a magazine because I’d been making comic book strips for a video game shop and one of the writers said: ‘Why don’t you try writing some video game reviews?’.

“I remember thinking, ‘I’m not qualified for this’. I was annoyed I didn’t know my way into things.”

Brooker, married to former Blue Peter presenter Konnie Huq, also confessed he hasn’t had a break in quite a long time.

He said he might consider “an early retirement” or a “five year break”, admitting he’s something of a workaholic.

The father-of-two chose Radiohead’s Present Tense as one of his final choices, saying it helps him get to sleep at night and combat the insomnia he has suffered from for years.

Desert Island Discs is on BBC Radio 4 at 11:15 GMT on Sunday and will be available on iPlayer later.

Follow us on Facebook, on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts, or on Instagram at bbcnewsents. If you have a story suggestion email

Article source:

Golden Globes: Sex scandal fallout expected to dominate Hollywood awards

Reese Witherspoon and Daniel KaluuyaImage copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

Reese Witherspoon and Daniel Kaluuya, star of Get Out, are among the nominees

Film awards season gets under way with the Golden Globes later – the first major ceremony since Hollywood was hit by its sexual harassment scandals.

Stars of film and television are expected to wear black on the red carpet in a protest against misconduct.

Acceptance speeches – and host Seth Meyers’ opening monologue – are also expected to focus on the issue.

Guillermo del Toro’s otherworldly romance The Shape of Water has the most nominations of any film, with seven.

Its stars include Britain’s Sally Hawkins, who is nominated for best actress in a film drama.

It’s also up for best drama film, alongside Call Me By Your Name, Dunkirk, The Post and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

The best comedy or musical film nominees are The Disaster Artist, Get Out, The Greatest Showman, Lady Bird and I, Tonya.

You can find out more about some of those films here.

US comedian Seth Meyers has said he will address the issue of Hollywood sexual abuse and harassment in the light of accusations made against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein and others.

Meyers told The Hollywood Reporter he had spoken to the women in his life, including his wife, about how to address the topic on stage, saying: “We all agreed it’s an opportunity to be able to say some things that you wouldn’t be able to see in previous years.”

Image copyright

Image caption

The host is US comedian Seth Meyers

Christopher Plummer is among the nominees for best actor in a film drama, for Ridley Scott’s film All the Money in the World. Plummer replaced Kevin Spacey in the role of John Paul Getty after Spacey was accused of sexual harassment.

British stars Dame Helen Mirren and Dame Judi Dench are nominated in the best actress in a comedy or musical film category – for The Leisure Seeker and Victoria and Abdul respectively.

They face competition from Margot Robbie, (I, Tonya), Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird) and Emma Stone (The Battle of the Sexes).

Other British nominees include Gary Oldman, who’s tipped to win best actor in a film drama for playing Sir Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour.

Oldman faces competition from Timothee Chalamet (Call Me By Your Name), Daniel Day-Lewis (Phantom Thread), Tom Hanks (The Post) and Denzel Washington (Roman J Israel, Esq).

London-born Daniel Kaluuya is up for best actor in a comedy or musical for Get Out. Other nominees in the category are Steve Carrell (The Battle of the Sexes), Ansel Elgort (Baby Driver), James Franco (The Disaster Artist) and Hugh Jackman (The Greatest Showman).

Television awards

Nicole Kidman and Robert De Niro are among the nominees in the television categories.

Kidman and Reese Witherspoon are both nominated for best actress in a limited series for their roles in Big Little Lies.

De Niro is nominated for best actor in a limited series for The Wizard of Lies, alongside Jude Law for The Young Pope and Geoffrey Rush for Genius.

That category is completed by Ewan McGregor, who is nominated for Fargo, and Kyle MacLachlan, for Twin Peaks.

Image copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman star in Big Little Lies

Big Little Lies has six nominations in total – making it the most-nominated TV series this year.

Kidman and Witherspoon are up against Jessica Biel, who is nominated for her role in The Sinner, and Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon, both of whom are nominated for Feud: Bette and Joan.

The Golden Globes, run by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, are seen as pointers to the Oscars, which take place on 4 March. The Academy Award nominations are announced later this month.

The 75th annual Golden Globe Awards ceremony starts at 17:00 local time – which is 01:00 Monday GMT.

Follow us on Facebook, on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts, or on Instagram at bbcnewsents. If you have a story suggestion email

Article source:

Ray BLK: Sound of 2017 winner looks back

Image copyright

Image caption

The singer is planning to release her debut album in 2018

Ray BLK never expected to win the BBC’s Sound of 2017.

“I just remember thinking it was a prank,” she laughs. “I wasn’t prepared for it at all.”

The soul singer was the first unsigned artist to top the annual list, which predicts the biggest new stars in music – but she resisted the temptation to rush out an album.

“It would have been too soon,” she says. “People were only just getting to know me at that point.”

On her first single of 2017, Patience (Freestyle), the 24-year-old explained she’d only bother us when she had something to say.

They’re running just to get in first place / I’m walking, going at my own pace,” she sang. “They say slow and steady wins the race.”

Skip Youtube post by RAYBLKVEVO

End of Youtube post by RAYBLKVEVO

Youtube post by RAYBLKVEVO: Ray BLK - Patience (Freestyle)Image Copyright RAYBLKVEVO

That’s not to say Ray, who was born Rita Ekwere in Nigeria, has been dragging her heels.

Over the last 12 months, she’s appeared on albums by Tinie Tempah and Gorillaz, spoken in Parliament, been nominated for two MOBO Awards and sold out her first headline tour of the UK.

Ahead of the announcement of the Sound of 2018 next week, the singer reflects on the highs and lows of her first year in the spotlight.

My first autograph was improvised

Image copyright

I went to the Brits in February and someone asked me for my autograph. I was like, “Wait, I don’t really have one!”. So I had to make it up on the spot, which was hilarious.

But that night was very exciting, to be honest. It was inspiring to see all of these people I look up to performing. It made me want to hustle and grind so I could be there one day.

I forced a stranger to take my Instagram photos

Image copyright
Ray BLK/Instagram

I was in LA by myself and I just really, really wanted a picture by the pool. I mean, if you’re in LA, you have to get a picture by the pool to make everyone in London jealous.

So, the only person by the pool was this like 60-year-old guy sunbathing and I just begged him, “Please will you take a picture of me?’ and he was like, “I’d looove to”.

In the end, I had him kneeling on the floor to get my angles right- because if you take a picture pointing the phone up it gives you longer legs!

He did a great job, although I think he enjoyed it a bit too much.

I stayed independent, and took my time

Media captionRay BLK recalls the first lyrics she wrote

I’ve received offers from record labels – but one of the reasons I think people are drawn to me is because of the authenticity of [my music], and I think that comes from my autonomy – being able to do things my way, which I don’t think I’d be able to if I was signed by a label.

So I haven’t really felt the pressure to put an album out this year. I’ve spent a lot of time in the studio collecting the songs I want to release.

2018′s going to be dope.

Speaking at the House of Commons was humbling

Skip Instagram post by rayblk

Yesterday it was such an honour to be speaking with these intelligent, successful and inspiring women at The House of Commons. Thank you @inspirational_u for having me on the Women On Top panel, it was so emotional speaking to the young girls from my old school. Heidi Alexander MP, Ronke phillips @officialjamelia Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE, Funke Abimbola thank you for sharing your stories, I left feeling so empowered.

Article source: