1. Rina Sawayama
Japanese-British musician, Rina Sawayama has been the talk of town since the release of her self-titled debut album in 2020 for its innovative fusion of electropop, R&B and nu-metal genres, which is why her ineligibility to qualify for the Mercury Prize caused much uproar. Told that she was "not British enough" despite living in the U.K. since she was four years old, Sawayama began a worldwide social media campaign to change the outdated rules of the music awards industry.
With the support of her fans, including Elton John who declared Sawayama his favourite album of 2020, the rules of the Brit Awards were recently changed to qualify artists who have been resident in the UK for more than five years. Igniting an important conversation on British culture and the increasingly globalised world, Sawayama's music is groundbreaking in more ways than one.