Written by Rahoul Naik
South London’s Sampha is officially 2017’s Mercury Prize Winner, one of the most prestigious music awards for British music.
Last year Skepta made waves by winning the Prize for his album, Konnichiwa, the first ever grime album to win the prestigious award.
This year, the judging panel included Marcus Mumford, Lianne La Havas, Ella Eyre, Mistajam, Jamie Cullum, Jessie Ware, and broadcaster Clara Amfo, and Head of Music at BBC Radio 6 and Radio 2, Jeff Smith.
Stormzy and Sampha were the bookies favourites to win the award, coming in at 4/1. Ed Sheeran, the xx, alt-j and Blossoms were behind at 6/1, and lesser known artists Loyle Carner, Kate Tempest, J-Hus, Glass Animals, Dinosaur and The Big Moon sat at 8/1 and 10/1 respectively.
11 out of the 12 nominees performed on the night, opening up with The XX’s Hold On and finishing with Glass Animal’s very energetic performance, the crowd were kept entertained. Stormzy’s performance would have to be one of the standouts with him recreating his album cover on stage for First Things First and Blinded By Your Grace Pt1. and it was clear he had taken notes from Skepta, who also performed Man on the night with a surprise guitarist in the form of Rex Orange County.
This year’s guest presenter was Idris Elba who was cool, calm and even just a little bit funny as he joked about there not being enough East Londoners on the shortlist. He was very happy to give the award to Sampha who looked in absolute shock.
In a very short speech, Sampha said that he felt like he was ‘dreaming a little bit’ and even in a post-event interview, he just seemed to be trying to let it all sink in. He also gave a big thank-you to his parents, as most artists do, for always supporting him.
Presenter, Lauren Laverne did in fact say that this year’s shortlist had the longest deliberation out of the 25 years the prize has been going and it is safe to see why; with such a big range of musical styles and talent available it was a very enjoyable show for the musically neutral.
Finally, a big congratulations to Sampha for winning this year’s Mercury Prize and an additional well done to the other 11 nominees. Check out Sampha’s performance below:
Credit: BBC Music