The Mercury Prize winner is announced, and it's not Ed Sheeran

Posted by
Gary Ogden
Mercury Prize winner is announced

It was the good old Mercury Prize last night - you know, that awards ceremony where some good albums and some bad albums go up for awards, and then usually one of the bad albums wins. I’m not really sure what it all means in the grand scheme of things, but it seems to be quite a big deal with all those music-listening bods that populate the media scene. Who knew?

And last night it was the 2017 version of the event, which housed hopefuls like The xx, Stormzy, J Hus, Sampha, Commons, Kate Tempest and obviously Ed Sheeran. You can listen to all of the albums here, if you like. Or if you fancy something different, there’s always this. Up to you.

And yes, I know, it’s a surprise, but someone good won this year. 2017’s winner was: Sampha.

The south London (one of five nominees from the area) R&B singer-songwriter nabbed the top gong, courtesy of Idris Elba, with his soulful and mournful debut album ‘Process’. The LP ruminates on grief and loss and explores his feelings after his mum unfortunately died of cancer.

He told the BBC of his album:

“At the time… it was quite important for me to write music,

“It helped me through everything. So it’s this weird kind of document. But it’s nice, I guess, because I’ll have it for the rest of my life.”

And yesterday, upon winning, he said:

“It’s taken me quite a while to feel like I was emotionally stable enough to write my own record and people have just been incredibly lovely and understanding… It feels like a weight off my shoulders… My mum would be very proud. My dad would probably be embarrassingly proud.”

And asked what he would do with the £25,000 prize money (yes please), his answer was thankfully, nice and sensible:

“Put it away? Save it up? Saving is always good… I just want to see my family and friends, have a couple of drinks.”

More than a couple, for 25 grand, I’d wager.

Supposedly, this year’s judges’ deliberation was the longest ever, with music industry figures such as Ella Eyre, Jamie Cullum, Marcus Mumford, Lianne La Havas and MistaJam doing the deciding. How close the competition was hasn’t yet been revealed (it was rumoured to be close between Sampha and Kate Tempest), but Mumford told the BBC: 

“We were only allowed to talk about positive things. So I shut up quite a lot.”

Good stuff all round, then. Hopefully this only means bigger and better things for Sampha, and that he won’t suffer the curse of other Mercury winners and fade into obscurity. There’s a nice dose of positivity to start your morning! Bye!

(Image: Rex)


Share this article


Gary Ogden

Shortlist writer and "the least woke person in the office", Gary Ogden, likes horror movies, Cheestrings, tapping his leg under the desk, "having a drink", hiding from responsibility, screaming into the mirror whenever he is alone, and assorted other things. Mainly the screaming thing though. @garyblogden

Other people read

More from Music

More from Gary Ogden