World News – GB – Michael Kiwanuka wins the 2020 Mercury Prize


Folk-soul singer wins £ 25,000 prize in third attempt for album Kiwanuka, described by The Guardian as one of the best albums of the past decade

The 2020 Mercury Award for Best British Album of the Year went to Michael Kiwanuka for his self-titled album, Kiwanuka

“I’m over the moon, so excited,” he said of receiving the award. “This [award] is for art, for music, for albums – it’s the only thing I always wanted to do so, winning a Mercury is a dream come true… It blew me away « He wins £ 25,000

Kiwanuka won on her third attempt, having been nominated for each of her previous albums: Home Again (2012) and Love & Hate (2016)

His album, released in November 2019, draws inspiration from both folk and soul as the songwriter sings about freedom, love and struggles both personal and collective; one track samples protests during the 1960s civil rights movement in the United States It has been described in a Guardian review as a « daring, expansive, heartfelt, and sublime album It Sneaked In At The Final Whistle, But it is surely one of the best of the decade « It reached the second place on its release and spent 18 weeks in the UK charts

He thanked his producers, Inflo and Danger Mouse, “some of the best musicians, artists and creatives around, they really helped me grow” When asked why he gave the name to the album, he said he suffered from « impostor syndrome … it took things away from the experience of doing my dream job so I made the decision by making this album that I wanted to be myself , appreciate it and not hold me back, and show me as clear as possible ”He also said he wanted to be“ strong and proud ”of his African heritage, as a son of Ugandan immigrant parents

Kiwanuka was the bookies’ favorite to win, followed by Laura Marling, Kano and Moses Boyd After his nomination he told the Guardian: “The Mercury is a place where you can celebrate artistic merit – one of the few places that confirm this in the mainstream « 

Marling has now been surpassed four times, with previous nominations for Alas I Cannot Swim (2008), I Speak Because I Can (2010) and Once I Was an Eagle (2013), as well as her album this year, Chanson for our daughter Only Radiohead has been nominated more times without winning, with five nominations

The winner was chosen by a panel of 12 members, including musicians Anna Calvi, Jorja Smith, Jamie Cullum and Supergrass frontman Gaz Coombes; broadcasters Annie Mac, Danielle Perry and Gemma Cairney; journalists Phil Alexander, Tshepo Mokoena and Will Hodgkinson; and industry figures Jeff Smith and Mike Walsh

Prize organizers had to make a series of changes amid the coronavirus pandemic, canceling the traditional event live and announcing the winner on The One Show on BBC One, with Annie Mac “It’s a prize artistic – you see it like you would the Turner Prize for Art or the Booker Prize in the novel, it’s so prestigious, « Mac said

Other nominated artists were Anna Meredith, Charli XCX, Dua Lipa, Georgia, Kano, Lanterns on the Lake, Laura Marling, Moses Boyd, Porridge Radio, Sports Team and Stormzy

While Mercury’s shortlist has been hailed for its diversity, with more women nominated than ever before, it has also come under fire for requiring artists to hold UK passports in order to be eligible

Anglo-Japanese pop singer Rina Sawayama, who has lived in the UK for 25 years and has been on indefinite leave, said of her ineligibility: “Things like this highlight, eg if I’m even British It’s just very upsetting « Sarathy Korwar, a musician of Indian descent who has lived in the UK for a decade, said: » Only one in many ways, the alteration occurs We live here We pay our taxes here We make our music here but… « 

Sawayama said he was later informed by the BPI, which hosts the Mercury Prize, that he was reconsidering the eligibility criteria for next year’s prize

Mercury Prize 2020

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