Little Simz, who has won the prestigious accolade with her album Sometimes I Might Be Introvert, saw off strong competition from the likes of Self Esteem, Sam Fender, Joy Crookes, Wet Leg, and Harry Styles in an eclectic 12-act shortlist.
Accepting the award at Hammersmith’s Apollo, Little Simz said she was “very overwhelmed” before thanking her family, the Mercury awards, prominent collaborator and producer Inflo, and the rest of the contestants.
As is the custom of the Mercury Prize, which promotes the best of UK and Irish music, the show featured several performances from almost all of the acts who were shortlisted, bar Harry Styles, who is currently on tour in the States. Styles did provide a pre-recorded video, however, thanking the fact his album Harry’s House had been nominated.
Touching moments among the performances included when Kojey Radical passed his Album Of The Year trophy, granted to all shortlisted acts, to his mum whilst performing his track ‘Gangsta’. Little Simz’s performances of ‘How Did You Get Here’ before and after she was awarded the prize were also near-impeccable.
The original ceremony had been scheduled to take place on 8 September but was postponed after news of the Queen’s death, with many of the acts having already rehearsed for the show by the time the decision to reschedule was made.
Some intriguing additions to this year’s line-up also included Welsh singer-songwriter Gwenno Saunder’s Tresor album, sung almost entirely in Cornish (the first ever non-English album to be nominated for the prize); and the pairing of Bernard Butler (who previously won the Mercury Prize as guitarist for Suede) and BAFTA Award-winning actress Jessie Buckley. Butler and Buckley released their album For All Our Days That Tear The Heart earlier this year.
Leeds band Yard Act, jazz musician Fergus McCreadie and rock duo Nova Twins were also up for the award.
The event also saw a recorded speech from last year’s winner Arlo Parks, who picked up the award with her album Collapsed In Sunbeams.
With Little Simz having now won the prize this year, which DJ and broadcaster Jamz Supernova announced, not only will she have the prestige, but the £25,000 cash prize too.