Michael Kiwanuka has been revealed as the 2020 Mercury Prize winner for his self-titled third album.
The singer’s success was announced live on The One Show on Thursday, with Annie Mac telling him the news before he was interviewed by Alex Jones and Amol Rajan.
Expressing his delight, Michael said: ‘This is ridiculous, it’s crazy! I’m so happy. Third time’s a charm… I’m so excited – this is for art, for music, for albums.
Congratulations! Michael Kiwanuka has been revealed as the 2020 Mercury Prize winner for his self-titled third album
‘This is the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do so to win a Mercury is a dream come true. I’m so happy. Music and art means so much to me and this is an award that celebrates that so I’m over the moon.’
Michael went up against musicians including Charli XCX, Dua Lipa and Stormzy for the 2020 Hyundai Mercury Prize for Album of the Year award.
Discussing his self-titled album, Michael said: ‘My name means a lot to me, it’s my heritage and who I am. And that’s something I want to be loud and proud about.’
While speaking about his impressive win, the singer also revealed that he’s often felt a little bit of ‘imposter syndrome’ in the past.
Album: The judges called Michael’s album (cover pictured) a ‘masterpiece’ filled with ‘hot button topics like race and identity’
He explained that this has: ‘Taken things away from my dream job, so I made the decision when making this album to really show myself and be as clear as I can be.
And turning his attention to the future, Mercury prize winner Michael said that he wants to continue creating.
He said: ‘I hope to continue making records, albums, and making music which can connect with as many people as possible. Hopefully this is an award that can do that… and will be music that can help people through their day.’
During his interview Michael was asked what his name means, leaving him a little bit flustered as he joked: ‘I don’t know what it means! Someone’s got to Google it.. my cousin’s going to be “like what!?” after this’
The big reveal: Annie Mac told Micheal that he had won the coveted award, leaving him speechless
Exciting: Michael said it was a ‘dream come true’ to win the award, something which he has always wanted to do
The judging panel said Kiwanuka was ‘the well deserved winner’ and praised the record for being its thoughtful and timely content.
They said: ‘Classic yet contemporary, drawing on the history of music while remaining an intensely personal work of self expression, this is an album that will stand the test of time.
‘Songs such as Hero and You Ain’t The Problem deal with hot button topics like race and identity, but in a reflective way that draws the listener in.’
They continued: ‘From its narrative flow to the interludes, from Civil Rights speeches to its panoramic mix of everything from psychedelic rock to piano jazz, Kiwanuka is not only a complete work, but also one that is borne of the courage of its creator to build his own world and invite us in.
Three cheers: Alex Jones and Amol Rajan clapped for the winner and said he would be a great ‘role model’ for lots of young musicians
‘Warm, rich, hugely accomplished and belonging to no one genre but its own, Kiwanuka is a masterpiece.’
Thursday night’s announcement was the first time the winner has been announced live on The One Show, with Radio 1’s Annie Mac delivering the news.
The award ceremony is usually a glamorous affair hosted by Hyundai in London, but due to coronavirus, Annie, 42, will deliver the judges’ verdict live on air instead.
The Hyundai Mercury Prize Album Of The Year celebrates the best of British and Irish music and recognises the achievement of artists across musical genres.
Female-dominated: Charli XCX (left) and Dua Lipa (right) were also in the running for the coveted award
Tough competition: Stomzy was also nominated for The Hyundai Mercury Prize Album Of The Year celebrates the best of British and Irish music across musical genres
Exciting: For the first time ever, Radio 1’s Annie Mac revealed which artist has been recognised as creating the best British or Irish album of the year on the BBC programme
Also up for the prize is Laura Marling – who has previously been shortlisted in 2008, 2010 and 2013 – with her acclaimed LP Song For Our Daughter (pictured 2017)
Also up for the prize was Laura Marling – who has previously been shortlisted in 2008, 2010 and 2013 – with her acclaimed LP Song For Our Daughter.
Rockers Sports Team’s debut album Deep Down Happy has also received the nod, and they’ve been celebrating ever since they found out.
Rapper Kano’s powerful LP Hoodies All Summer, Anna Meredith’s FIBS, Georgia’s Seeking Thrills, Lanterns On The Lake’s Spook The Herd and Moses Boyd’s Dark Matter will also go head-to-head.
The 12 albums were selected by a panel of artists and music industry professionals, including Anna Calvi, Annie Mac, Supergrass’ Gaz Coombes, Jamie Cullum and Jorja Smith.
The 2019 Mercury Prize went to Dave for his acclaimed debut LP Psychodrama.
The rapper beat off stiff competition from The 1975, IDLES, black midi, Foals, Fontaines D.C., Little Simz, NAO, Anna Calvi, Cate Le Bon, SEED Ensemble, and slowthai.
Exciting: Rapper Kano’s powerful LP Hoodies All Summer (pictured), Anna Meredith’s FIBS, Georgia’s Seeking Thrills were also nominated
Delighted: Dua admitted the honour feels ‘surreal’ because she didn’t think she was ‘cool enough’ for the nod for Future Nostalgia (pictured)
Up for the prize: Stormzy’s album Heavy is the Head was also been given a nod in the category
Charli XCX gave fans the thumbs up on Wednesday morning as she prepared for her imminent performance at the 2020 Hyandai Mercury Prize Albums Of The Year.
The singer, 27, will take place virtually in accordance with current safety measures, following the release of lockdown album How I’m Feeling Now in May.
And she was looking ahead to putting on a show after taking to Instagram with a cheerful selfie that appeared to be taken as she readied herself at home in Los Angeles.
Captioning the image, she wrote: ‘performing at the #hyundaimercuryprize 2020 on bbc four tonight at 10pm BST. sick.’
The singer won critical and commercial acclaim following the release of How I’m Feeling Now, an album inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic and written and recorded during a creatively frenetic six-week period.
Upbeat: Charli XCX gave fans the thumbs up on Wednesday morning as she prepared for her imminent performance at the ceremony
2020 HYUNDAI MERCURY PRIZE – THE SHORTLIST
Anna Meredith – ‘FIBS‘
Charli XCX – ‘how i’m feeling now‘
Dua Lipa – ‘Future Nostalgia‘
Georgia – ‘Seeking Thrills‘
Kano – ‘Hoodies All Summer‘
Lanterns on the Lake – ‘Spook the Herd‘
Laura Marling – ‘Song for Our Daughter‘
Michael Kiwanuka – ‘KIWANUKA‘
Moses Boyd – ‘Dark Matter‘
Porridge Radio – ‘Every Bad‘
Sports Team – ‘Deep Down Happy‘
Stormzy – ‘Heavy is the Head‘