Michael Kiwanuka has won the 2020 Mercury Prize Award.
The British singer-songwriter has been confirmed as the latest musician to be awarded the accolade for his third album Kiwanuka.
Kiwanuka was released in November last year and peaked at number two in the UK charts.
At the time of its release, the record was described as a “bold, expansive, heartfelt, sublime album” by critics.
Speaking after about the win, Michael said: “I don’t even know what to say – I’m speechless.
“This is amazing…I don’t even have any words. This is ridiculous, it’s crazy! I’m so happy.
“Third time’s a charm. It’s blown my mind. I’m over the moon, I’m so excited – this is for art, for music, for albums.”
The singer added: “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.”
Meanwhile, the Mercury Prize Award judging panel said: “KIWANUKA by Michael Kiwanuka is the well deserved winner of the 2020 Hyundai Mercury Prize 2020 for Album of the Year.
“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.
“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. Warm, rich, hugely accomplished and belonging to no one genre but its own, KIWANUKA is a masterpiece.”
As well as the glittering trophy, Michael will also receive a £25,000 prize packet.
The winner was announced live on The One Show by Radio 1 DJ Annie Mac as ongoing Covid social distancing guidelines made a usual awards ceremony all but impossible.
Mac explained how the judges made a unanimous decision to crown Kiwanuka the winner.
“I don’t think any of the judges walked away unhappy,” she said.
“Everyone felt the same thing about this album, which is that it thoroughly deserved to win the prize.”