December 31, 2012 12:00 PM

>In the aftermath of 21, the music world hoped to find someone like Adele in 2012. Which helps explain the wave of Brits who invaded our shores. They have more than the Union Jack in common with their compatriot, though: These are real singers and songwriters with a depth of talent and soul. Tops was Ed Sheeran, whose folkie-freshness earned him a Song of the Year Grammy nomination (for “The A Team”) and who collaborated with the likes of Taylor Swift and 1D. But other smashing new U.K. imports like Emeli Sandé, Rebecca Ferguson, Graffiti6 and Michael Kiwanuka also suggested there must be something in the tea over there.

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