The grime artist is declared the winner of this year’s award with his fourth album ‘Konnichiwa’, over odds-on favourite Bowie
Grime MC, songwriter and producer Skepta has won the 25th Mercury Music Prize for his fourth studio album, Konnichiwa. The Londoner’s record was selected ahead of other nominees Laura Mvula, Kano, Jamie Woon, David Bowie, Anohni, Bat For Lashes, Michael Kiwanuka, Radiohead, Savages, The 1975 and The Comet Is Coming. The 12 shortlisted albums are chosen based solely on artistic merit by a panel of judges that include Jarvis Cocker, Jessie Ware, Naughty Boy, Jamie Cullum and Clara Amfo.
This evening’s Awards Show featured live performances from almost all the shortlisted artists, with a special performance by Michael C. Hall – the principal performer in the play Lazarus – to represent Bowie’s Blackstar album, which had been the bookies’ favourite to win. Announcing the winner and presenting the award, Cocker also referenced the departed rock legend saying, “The winner came down to a contest between two black stars. And we, as a jury, decided that if David Bowie was looking down on the Hammersmith Apollo tonight…he would want the 2016 Hyundai Mercury Prize to go to Skepta.”
Past winners have included PJ Harvey, Pulp, Arctic Monkeys, Elbow and Dizzee Rascal. 2015’s contest was won by British-French poet and singer-songwriter Benjamin Clementine.