Sam Smith has been named BBC Sound of 2014.

The 'Lay Me Down' singer was ''completely speechless'' when he was chosen by 170 UK-based critics, broadcasters and bloggers and past winners including Ellie Goulding, Jessie J and Adele.

Sam, 21, said: ''It's a huge compliment to be recognised by the industry and the BBC in this way. I really didn't expect it.

''Being amongst names like Ellie, Jessie J, Adele is just incredible because they inspire my music so much.''

Sam has also been named the winner of the Critics' Choice award by the BRITs, and will pick up his trophy at the ceremony on February 19.

The BBC's head of music, George Ergatoudis, said: ''Sam Smith is blessed with a distinctive mellifluous voice that imbues his lyrics with real emotion and soul.

''The public are looking for authentic artists with genuine talent and Sam more than fits the bill. He is going to enjoy huge success this year.''

Sam got his big break in 2012, as the featured vocalist on 'Latch', by Mercury-nominated dance act Disclosure.

The single spent 15 weeks in the UK top 40, peaking at number 11 - and he later featured on the track 'La La La', a collaboration with British producer Naughty Boy.

The single went to number one and became the fifth biggest-selling song of 2013.

Sam's debut album 'In The Lonely Hour' will be released on May 26.