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Drop-out tipped for success in 2010

A 22-year-old who dropped out of university to pursue a music career has been tipped as the breakthrough act of 2010.

Ellie Goulding, whose music has been branded "folktronica", topped a poll which has previously heralded the careers of artists such as Mika and 50 Cent.

The list of promising music acts, who more often than not go on to chart success, is compiled with the help of 165 music experts including NME editor Krissi Murison.

Goulding, whose music blends traditional acoustic singer-songwriter style with electronica, said she was "absolutely honoured" to top of the list.

She continued: "I didn't expect to get anywhere a few years ago. I didn't even expect to have a record deal, let alone be put in such a prestigious thing so I'm very happy. I think the list this year is great and I really believe in a lot of the acts."

Goulding learned to play the guitar and write her own folk-inspired music at the age of 15.

It was when she was studying drama at university that she was exposed to electronic music and developed her own sound.

Since leaving university and moving to London she has released the single Under The Sheets, which made it to number 53 in the British charts.

The list seeks to find the best, most exciting music acts which are still unknown. It is in its eighth year and previous winners have also included Keane and Corinne Bailey Rae.

Goulding's debut album Lights is due out on March 1.