LONDON • Musician Sampha beat singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran to win the Mercury Prize, the biggest award for British pop music, on Thursday for his debut album, Process.
“I feel like I’m dreaming. This is incredible,” Sampha said as he collected his prize from actor Idris Elba at the Apollo venue in west London. “I’d like to dedicate this award to my parents. You know, they came over from Sierra Leone and they just wanted to give us the best upbringing possible.”
He beat nominees including Sheeran, grime artist Stormzy and former winners The xx.
The Mercury Prize showcases a range of genres by celebrating the best album by a British or Irish artist each year.
“Sampha is an exceptional singer-songwriter – compelling, yearning and inspirational,” organisers said when the shortlist was announced.
His debut album was described by NME magazine as a “finely crafted and devastating take on the loss of his mother to cancer” when it was released in February.
The winner sees an instant sales boosts and takes home £25,000 (S$45,200).