Mercury Prize 2013: James Blake wins for his album Overgrown

Electronic artist beats David Bowie and the Arctic Monkeys to £20,000 award

Classically trained pianist turned electronic artist James Blake pulled off a shock by beating David Bowie and the Arctic Monkeys to win the Barclaycard Mercury Prize.

Londoner Blake triumphed at the second time of asking after he was nominated for the prize in 2011 for his self-titled debut album but lost out to PJ Harvey.

“I feel jubilant and confused, wonderful,” he said. “It's a moment you don't expect to happen to you, in fact you might even bet against it if you're British.”

The musician, who the bookies had put down as a 25/1 outsider, added that despite his surprise he deserved it “as much as anyone else did”.

Other artists in the running included favourite Laura Mvula, teenager Jake Bug and dance group Rudimental. Laura Marling also missed out on her third Mercury nomination.

Blake, who turned 25 last month, picked up the award and a cheque for £20,000, for his album Overgrown. He thanked his parents from the stage, “for showing me the importance of being self-sufficient”.

“This is the first award I ever won apart from a tennis trophy I won when I was 12 years old,” he said afterwards, before joking: “I hold them in equal esteem.”

When asked for the response when his name was read out, his eccentric response was to say: “It feels like a dream where you're punching through water. If you're lucky that dream hits them right on the nose. When what you thought wasn't going to happen does, that's very surreal.”

Blake, who studied popular music at Goldsmiths came to prominence when he placed highly in the BBC's Sound of 2011, was described in The Independent as a “blend of glitchy electronica and fragile soul stylings”.

The musician refused to define his own music, saying: “It keeps changing as I write new music.” He added the award would not change him as a person. “The thing that got me here in the first place was not wanting to bend to outside pressures.”

He said he did not know what he was going to do with the prize money. “I didn't really think in those terms when I was picking up the award.”

The only downside on the night for the winner was when host Lauren Laverne introduced his live performance by calling him fellow singer James Blunt.

The major scalp for Blunt was Bowie. Blake said: “He's amazing to be in the running for this prize after so many albums. A lot of people do their best work when they're young. It's disappointing to me when people don't continue in that vein and don't innovate. David Bowie is an example to people like me who want to keep on innovating.” The Thin White Duke did not travel to the award ceremony in London's Roundhouse.

Blake said it was a relief to win the prize for his second album rather than his first. “I think at that point I might not have been able to handle the pressure,” he said, adding: “I've been quite lucky. People have gone with me so far.”

The album sleeve art for James Blake's 'Overgrown' The album sleeve art for James Blake's 'Overgrown'

Blake is currently on tour and believes that one of the effects of his winning the prize his audiences might become louder.

The Mercury Prize chooses the winner from 12 albums of the year from the UK and Ireland from all genres of music. This year, the shortlist was chosen from 220 submitted albums.

It is decided on by an independent panel of judges, who met at 5pm and decided shortly before the winner's name was announced. 

It was set up in 1992, with the inaugural prize won by Primal Scream for the album Screamadelica. Last year, the prize was won by Alt-J for their debut album An Awesome Wave.

Bowie did premiere his new video at the awards, which was made for the grand total of $12.99.

Arts and Entertainment
Rachel McAdams in True Detective season 2

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Off the wall: the cast of ‘Life in Squares’

TV
Arts and Entertainment

Books And it is whizzpopping!

Arts and Entertainment
Bono throws water at the crowd while the Edge watches as they perform in the band's first concert of their new world tour in Vancouver

MusicThey're running their own restaurants

Voices
The main entrance to the BBC headquarters in London
TV & Radio
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

    Solved after 200 years

    The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
    Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

    Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

    Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
    Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

    Sunken sub

    Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
    Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

    Age of the selfie

    Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
    Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

    Not so square

    How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
    Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

    Still carrying the torch

    The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
    The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

    The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

    ...but history suggests otherwise
    The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

    The bald truth

    How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
    Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

    Tour de France 2015

    Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
    Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

    A new beginning for supersonic flight?

    Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash
    I would never quit Labour, says Liz Kendall

    I would never quit party, says Liz Kendall

    Latest on the Labour leadership contest
    Froome seals second Tour de France victory

    Never mind Pinot, it’s bubbly for Froome

    Second Tour de France victory all but sealed
    Oh really? How the 'lowest form of wit' makes people brighter and more creative

    The uses of sarcasm

    'Lowest form of wit' actually makes people brighter and more creative
    A magazine editor with no vanity, and lots of flair

    No vanity, but lots of flair

    A tribute to the magazine editor Ingrid Sischy
    Foraging: How the British rediscovered their taste for chasing after wild food

    In praise of foraging

    How the British rediscovered their taste for wild food