The 2015 Mercury Prize has been awarded to Benjamin Clemantine, a London born singer-songwriter, for his album At Least for Now.
The 25 year-old managed to fend off quite a few high profile acts to win the award, with the likes of Florence + The Machine, Aphex Twin, Gaz Coombes and Slaves being amongst the nominees, with Jamie XX being the Bookie’s favourite for the win after his acclaimed debut In Colour.
In typical Mercury Prize fashion the judges ignored the bookie’s favourite’s and the chart toppers, instead choosing the relatively obscure Benjamin Clemantine. If you aren’t acquainted yet, Clemantine was born in London, then spent some time in Paris sleeping rough and busking on the Métro, before being discovered by a couple of French producers and returning to England. His Mercury Prize winning album, At Least for Now, is a collection of striking piano-led ballads, that are equal parts emotive and breathlessly stunning.
During his acceptance speech Clemantine paid tribute to Paris in the wake of the recent terror attacks there, saying “I’d like to dedicate this to the people of Paris”.
He later posted a thank you message on Facebook, that you can read here. In the message he wrote “This accolade belongs to all of those who were nominated and I would like to thank you for all the artists who were shortlisted“, and that “This award has personally come at a time where we could all be sad and mourn over the loss of those innocent people who died in Paris and the likes, but I would say that it should rather be a triumph.”