Video: James Blake beats Arctic Monkeys to win Mercury Prize
Singer-songwriter sees off competition including Villagers with album Overgrown
James Blake, the electronic singer-songwriter from London, claimed last night’s prestigious Mercury Prize for his album Overgrown, beating off stiff competition from the likes of David Bowie and the Arctic Monkeys for the £20,000 (€23,000) prize. Irish outfit Villagers were also in the hunt for the prize – their second nomination – which is awarded to the best British or Irish album of the year.
After DJ Lauren Laverne mistakenly introduced him on stage at London’s Roundhouse as James Blunt, the musician said it was “amazing” to be in the running for an award with chart veteran Bowie.
He added: “This is the first award I’ve ever won apart from a tennis trophy which I won when I was about 12 years old at my school, and I’ll hold them in equal esteem.”
Laverne later apologised on Twitter for her slip-up, writing: “Never felt better than I do tonight about artists who have fractionally dissimilar fore and surnames. #MercuryPrize #Irony”.
Blake, a 25-1 outsider to win, is a graduate of Goldsmiths College in London and he was previously nominated for the Mercury for his self-titled debut album which he recorded at his home in New Cross, south east London.
The musician, whose father was a member of the band Colosseum, produced his second album himself and it features contributions from Brian Eno and RZA from Wu-Tang Clan. The judges described it as “late night music for the digital age. An inventive, poignant and poetic record of great beauty”.
He beat 11 other acts including bookies’ favourite Laura Mvula.
(Additional reporting: PA)