The Scottish singer, 24, has had two solo hit singles, Heaven and Daddy, and topped the charts when she featured on Professor Green’s Read All About It. She is currently supporting Coldplay on their tour.

Sande, who gave up medicine to pursue music, said winning the award was “a dream”.

“To win a BRIT Award so early in my career is beyond a dream come true. I am overwhelmed to be the recipient of such a prestigious award. Thank you so much,” she said.

Sande was in her fourth year of medical school in Glasgow when she had a burst of inspiration while hoovering her bedroom. She sat down and penned the hook for a song called Diamond Rings, which she sent to Chipmunk.

Diamond Rings went into the top ten after being released as a single, with Sande on guest vocals, and she was given a publishing deal by EMI.

Sande ditched university and  went on to feature on tracks by Tinie Tempah, Wiley and Professor Green. She also wrote songs for Cher Lloyd, Susan Boyle and Cheryl Cole.

Breaking into recording songs as an artist in her own right was not easy, however. Sande told The Daily Star:

“People were always interested in my songs, just not me as an artist. I don’t think we’re in an industry where people take risks, or at least we weren’t when I was trying to get signed.”

Winning the Critics’ Choice BRIT award stands Sande in good stead as she follows in the footsteps of Jessie J, Ellie Goulding, Florence And The Machine and Adele.

She beat rival newcomers Maverick Sabre and Michael Kiwanuka to scoop the prize.

Emeli Sande – Heaven