Debrett’s 20 Most Influential People In British Music

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Damon Albarn, Sam Smith and Ed Sheeran have all been included in the 2015 Debrett’s annual list of Britain’s most influential people.

For nearly 250 years Debrett’s has been recognising people of influence and achievement in British society.

The music section highlights individuals who contributed and impacted the most on the music industry, from record labels, critics, DJs and musicians.

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The top 20 most influential people in music featured Blur’s frontman Damon Albarn, who was described as: “arguably the cleverest musician of his generation, on every level imaginable.”

“From comedy club singalong to the stage of the Sydney Opera House, exceptional talent is the common tune throughout Albarn’s work. 2014 saw the release of his debut studio solo album, Everyday Robots, which was nominated for the Mercury Prize Album of the Year. Albarn has also bagged a nomination for Male Solo Artist at the BRITs.”

Singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran: “shattered the music world with his debut album + three years ago, he’s managed to cover every landscape, singing with everyone from Sir Elton John to Wayne Rooney. He’s entirely modern but with such versatility that few playing musicians remain unfamiliar with his work. Following a meteoric rise to stardom, Sheeran is as at ease with the kings as he is on the street.”

“Having left school at the age of 16 and moved to London shortly after, Sheeran gigged relentlessly: he never had any money and occasionally had to sleep rough, selling CDs from his bag to afford food. Seizing four 2015 BRIT Award nominations, Sheeran is a playing example of ‘practice makes perfect’ having subsequently smashed the industry with his acoustic soul.”

Debrett’s also named singer-songwriter Sam Smith, describing his humble beginnings in 2012: “Smith was cleaning loos in a London bar, walking home because he couldn’t afford the tube. October 2012 brought his rise to fame when he featured on Latch, Disclosure’s breakthrough single, and he secured his first number one in May 2013.

“In January 2015, Smith’s debut studio album In the Lonely Hour chased Ed Sheeran to become the second best-selling album of 2014, and the singer-songwriter looks on track to rule the BRITs, having ensnared five nominations including Male Solo Artist, Breakthrough Act and Album of the Year.”

Full list below:

Bob Shennan, Calvin Harris, Damon Albarn, David Joseph, Ed Sheeran, Gareth Malone OBE, Geoff Taylor, George Ergatoudis, James Blake, Jason Iley, Lucian Grainge CBE, Mark Cooper, Max Lousada, Oliver Schusser, One Direction, Sam Smith, Simon Cowell, Simon Moran, Sir Antonio Pappano, Stephen Hough CBE.