Ray BLK is 'surprised' by the strong male audience for her women-centred tracks
BBC Music Sound Of 2017 winner, Ray BLK, has said she is surprised by the size of her male audience as her music is mainly written for women.
Describing herself as a "girl's girl", the 22-year-old revealed she bases her R&B songs on her life as a woman growing up in south London.
After just one year of recording professionally, her EP, Havisham, and singles 50/50 and Patience, have earned her the prestigious national title.
Following the announcement on Friday she said: "What has surprised me is that I have a lot of men in my fan-base.
"I make music predominantly to speak to women, because it's about the life of a woman, but men have been really receptive.
"I see them at my shows and they sing along, which always confuses me, but it's amazing.
"I write all my own music and it's about empowerment. I'm also a girl's girl and I love being around women."
Adding that the positives and negatives of love are also common themes in her music, she explained that she based Havisham on the jilted Charles Dickens character while studying a degree in English Literature at London's Brunel University.
Although she has been making music for herself since the age of 10, she revealed that her only music training came in the form of opera-singing lessons during a short scholarship programme while at university.
"It wasn't really for me, but it definitely gave me confidence," she said.
Ray follows in the footsteps of hit artists such as Adele, Ellie Goulding, Jessie J and Sam Smith, who have previously topped the BBC Music Sound list.
"I see it as such an honour to be part of that alumni," she said.
"Every time people say those names it kind of makes me laugh because I just can't believe that my name is being mentioned somewhere next to theirs."
Since her achievement was announced, Ray has faced criticism for beating blues and soul star Rag'n'Bone Man, who came second in the list after reaching number one in charts across Europe with his hit single Human last year.
Admitting that she was surprised by the result, she responded: "I believe the list is compiled by at least 170 voters from around the world who are experts in the industry, so I feel like they picked whoever was best for them."
But while she said she hoped the accolade would "open more ears" to her music and revealed plans for more singles to come over the year, the artist confessed she was "definitely not" ready to start work on a full album.
She said: "I feel like an album is such a serious thing and you have to put it out at the right time and make sure it's perfect to represent you.
"So I won't be doing that until I feel like I'm there, and I won't be there any time soon. But it's coming for sure."
:: BBC Music Sound Of 2017 and Ray BLK's new track Patience (Freestyle) is out now.