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breaking down borders and recognising emerging European rock, pop and dance artists who achieved success in countries other than their own

The British band Years & Years are announced as the eighth winner of the 2016 European Border Breakers Awards (EBBA), the European music awards for emerging artists.

Lauded as the ‘Sound of 2015’ by the BBC, Years & Years are well on their way to world fame. Formed in London in 2010, the band consists of frontman Olly Alexander, bassist Mikey Goldsworthy and keyboardist Emre Türkmen.

Their catchy electropop, fusing synth with 90s-style R&B vocals, first caught the eye of French independent label Kitsuné Records, which released early singles Trap and Real. The video for the latter featured Ben Whishaw, best known for portraying Q in the James Bond films; he also co-starred with Olly Alexander in a West End play.

Years & Years subsequently signed with Polydor, which released King, their first No 1 single, in February this year. The song also made the top 10 in nine European countries. Their debut album, Communion, followed in July and instantly topped the charts. Years & Years have just started a major European tour, with shows planned in Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Switzerland, Austria, Poland, the Czech Republic, Italy and the UK. They will also tour extensively in the US in Spring 2016.

Watch the video here:

Earlier this month Carnival Youth (Latvia), AURORA (Norway), Oscar and The Wolf (Belgium), KOVACS (Netherlands), Alvaro Soler (Spain), SOAK (Ireland) and Seinabo Sey (Sweden) were unveiled as 2016 EBBA winners. Two more winners across Europe will be announced and filmed in the coming weeks. The footage will form part of a unique ‘road-trip’ mini-movie, which will be shared via the EBBA social media account and website.

The EBBA are about breaking down borders and recognising emerging European rock, pop and dance artists who achieved success in countries other than their own. These unique European music awards are funded under the European Union (EU) Creative Europe programme. With the EBBA, the European Union wishes to highlight the success of 10 debuting European artists in selling albums and touring outside their home territory.

From Adele (2009) to Milky Chance (2015), the winners of the EBBA represent the full breadth of European talent and diversity. Other previous winners include Stromae, Emeli Sandé, Gabriel Rios, Hozier, Melanie De Biasio, Of Monsters and Men, Woodkid, Mumford & Sons, Caro Emerald, Lykke Li, Disclosure, Katie Melua, John Newman, The Ting Tings, C2C, Tokio Hotel, The Script, Zaz, Nico & Vinz, Saybia, Damien Rice, KT Tunstall, Alphabeat, Milow and Afrojack.

Europe's cultural and linguistic diversity is a strong part of its cultural appeal, but linguistic barriers sometimes make it harder for artists to work internationally and achieve cross-border sales success. The EBBA seek to help them overcome these obstacles.

To be eligible for the 2016 awards, the artists must have achieved border-breaking success with their first international release in Europe between 1 August 2014 and 31 July 2015.

The winners are selected on the basis of data from Nielsen Music Control research, the European Broadcasting Union, EBU radio stations, and from festivals participating in the European Talent Exchange Programme.

The winners will receive their awards in a ceremony hosted by TV personality and musician Jools Holland at the Eurosonic Noorderslag festival in Groningen, Netherlands, on January 13, 2016. The ceremony will feature performances of the winning acts.

One of the winners will receive a Public Choice Award based on votes cast on the EBBA website from December 1, 2015 until January 1, 2016. Up to 15 voters, chosen at random from different countries, will be invited to the award ceremony: each will be able to bring a friend and the prize includes their flight and hotel costs.

The EBBA, now in their 13th year, is organised by Eurosonic Noorderslag in partnership with the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), with support from Buma Cultuur, the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, Province of Groningen, the City of Groningen and Music Week.

Nikki McNeill|Global Publicity
+44 (0) 7957434517

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