South London musician Sampha has beaten competition from the likes of Stormzy, Ed Sheeran, and The xx, to win 2017’s Mercury Prize, for his album Process.
The annual awards ceremony was held at London’s Eventim Apollo, to celebrate the best of British and Irish music form the last 12 months, with votes being cast by a panel of experts, tastemakers, as well as fellow artists.
Sampha won from a full shortlist that included Alt-J, Blossoms, Dinosaur, Ed Sheeran, Glass Animals, J Hus, Kate Tempest, Loyle Carner, Stormzy, The Big Moon and The xx to pick up the £25,000 prize. The award was announced by actor and DJ Idris Elba.
Upon accepting the award, the singer quickly thanked his parents, saying “I’d like to dedicate this award to my parents,” he said. “They came over from Sierra Leone and just wanted to give us the best life possible.”The ceremony saw all nominated acts- aside from Ed Sheeran- take tot he stage, as well as Skepta, who won last year for his album Konnichiwa.
The panel had the longest deliberation to decide a winner in the history of the award, before settling on the SBTRKT and Drake collaborator as their victor. New judges on the panel this year included Marcus Mumford from Mumford and Sons, Lianne La Havas, Ella Eyre, and DJ and broadcaster MistaJam. Jamie Cullum and Jessie Ware also featured on the panel alongside broadcaster Clara Amfo and Jeff Smith, Head of Music at BBC 6 Music and Radio 2.