Ray BLK has taken the top spot on the annual BBC Sound of award. She edged out Rag n Bone Man, who many expected would be crowned the top artist to look for in 2017.

Speaking about winning the prestigious honor, the 22-year old singer from south London commented on what this means as an independent artists and hopes it serves an inspiration for others. She is the first independent artist to win the award.

"Winning the BBC sound of 2017 has to be the most surprising thing that's happened to me thus far. I feel so honored to have topped the list this early in my career and join such an incredible alumni of winners," says Ray BLK. "Thank you so much to the BBC and all the voters! I'm particularly proud to be a part of this year's list as its full of so much talent, some of whom are independent artists like myself which I really hope inspires the next generation of artists."

Ray BLK joins other past winners such as Sam Smith, Adele, 50 Cent & Haim.

There had been some criticism leveled at the BBC Sound of list because it had seemingly grown stale with very bland (though talented) selections such as Jack Garratt, Years & Years and Tom Odell, instead of looking towards more niche corners of the UK music scene such as grime or r&b. The long list redeemed themselves this year by including plenty of nominees in that realm and most importantly picking a singer with street, soul and pop appeal as the winner.

Below is the top five that were revealed in a shortlist and then the remaining that were unveiled in the 15-strong long list in December.

1. Ray BLK
2. Rag n Bone Man
3. Raye
4. Jorja Smith
5. Nadia Rose
AJ Tracey
Anderson .Paak
Declan McKenna
Maggie Rogers
Stefflon Don
The Amazons
The Japanese House
Tom Grennan