Sampha beats Sheeran to win Mercury Prize
Sampha has been named as the winner of the Mercury Prize for his debut album Process.
The south London singer-songwriter took home the album of the year award, beating Ed Sheeran’s Divide and Stormzy’s Gang Signs & prayer, as well as nine other shortlisted records.
The star received a standing ovation from the crowd at London’s Eventim Apollo, and told them: “I feel like I’m dreaming a little bit, this is incredible. Thank you to the judges for thinking that my album was good enough for this.”
He dedicated the prize, which includes a cheque for £25,000, to his parents, saying: “I had the best upbringing possible.”
Host Lauren Laverne said his win was the result of the longest ever deliberation by Mercury judges, which this year included Jamie Cullum, Ella Eyre, Marcus Mumford and Jessie Ware.
Cullum tweeted his congratulations after the show, writing: “Thrilled to have been part of the @MercuryPrize again to celebrate a worthy winner. Congratulations @sampha.”
Actor and DJ Idris Elba presented Sampha with the award after saying that “English music is at the best it’s ever been, ever”.
After collecting his prize, Sampha performed (No One Knows Me) Like The Piano.
The judging panel said: “Sampha’s Process is a beautifully intimate record. With its unique creativity, rich musicality, depth and vulnerability, it resonates emotionally and speaks to the heart.”
Shortlisted candidates performed a song from their nominated album throughout the evening, apart from Ed Sheeran who is touring in the US.
Stormzy performed First Things First and Blinded By Your Grace, Skepta – who won the award in 2016 – performed Man.
Other performances came from Alt-J, Blossoms, Dinosaur, Glass Animals, J Hus, Kate Tempest, Loyle Carner, The Big Moon and The xx.
The Mercury Prize began in 1992, and was won by Primal Scream with their album Screamadelica.