The singer/songwriter was chosen by a panel of industry experts and music journalists, over nominees Years & Years and George The Poet as the recipient of the prize, which has previously been awarded to rising stars such as Adele, Jessie J and Ellie Goulding.
James Bay, with his Tracey Emin-designed Brit award
He said: “I'm pretty speechless. After all the years I've spent watching the Brits and even after this year, watching my fan base grow so much, I never thought I'd actually be getting an award myself. And what a huge honour to be following the incredible artists who've won before!
“I'm really chuffed, thank you to everyone who has supported me.”
Last year’s winner, Sam Smith, went on to have a highly successful career after being named the Critics’ Choice, with his debut album ‘In The Lonely Hour’ topping the UK album chart when it was released in May.
James will be presented with the award during the ‘The Brits Are Coming’ nominations show, which is to be screened in January. The show will also feature a performance from James, as well as FKA Twigs and Clean Bandit.
When he was announced as one of the three nominees on the shortlist last month, he said: "As much as I hoped, being nominated for the Brits Critics’ Choice Award is not something I ever imagined would actually happen. What a huge honour."