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
Tate Modern chief Chris Dercon, who will be leaving to run a Berlin theatre company
arts
Arts and Entertainment
Tasos: 'I rarely refuse an offer to be photographed'
arts + ents
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Girls on the verge of a nervous breakdown: Florence Pugh and Maisie Williams star in 'The Falling'
Film
Arts and Entertainment
Legendary charm: Clive Owen and Keira Knightley in 2004’s ‘King Arthur’
FilmGuy Ritchie is the latest filmmaker to tackle the legend
Arts and Entertainment
Corporate affair: The sitcom has become a satire of corporate culture in general

TV review

Broadcasting House was preparing for a visit from Prince Charles spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: There are some impressive performances by Claire Skinner and Lorraine Ashbourne in Inside No. 9, Nana's Party spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Glastonbury's pyramid stage

Glastonbury Michael Eavis reveals final headline act 'most likely' British pair

Arts and Entertainment
Ewan McGregor looks set to play Lumiere in the Beauty and the Beast live action remake

Film Ewan McGregor joins star-studded Beauty and the Beast cast as Lumiere

Arts and Entertainment
Charlie feels the lack of food on The Island with Bear Grylls

TV

The Island with Bear Grylls under fire after male contestants kill and eat rare crocodile
Arts and Entertainment
Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Quicksilver and Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch, in a scene from Avengers: Age Of Ultron
filmReview: A great cast with truly spectacular special effects - but is Ultron a worthy adversaries for our superheroes? spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Ince performing in 2006
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
Beth (played by Jo Joyner) in BBC1's Ordinary Lies
tvReview: There’s bound to be a second series, but it needs to be braver spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry, the presenters of The Great Comic Relief Bake Off 2015

TV
Arts and Entertainment
A still from Harold Ramis' original Groundhog Day film, released in 1993

Theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Christopher Eccleston (centre) plays an ex-policeman in this cliché-riddled thriller

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey looks very serious as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones

TV This TV review contains spoilers
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Wiz Khalifa performs on stage during day one of the Wireless Festival at Perry Park in Birmingham

music
Arts and Entertainment
Festival-goers soak up the atmosphere at Glastonbury

music

Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars creator George Lucas

film

Arts and Entertainment

music

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

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

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

    Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
    Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

    Aviation history is littered with grand failures

    But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

    Fortress Europe?

    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
    Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

    Never mind what you're wearing

    It's what you're reclining on that matters
    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
    How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

    How to survive a Twitter mauling

    Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
    Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

    At dawn, the young remember the young

    A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

    Follow the money as never before

    Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

    Samuel West interview

    The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
    General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

    The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence