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James Blake wins 2013 Mercury Music Prize

James Blake

Story by Jack Foley

JAMES Blake has won this year’s Barclaycard Mercury Prize (2013) for his second album, <>Overgrown.

The electronic artist took home the highly coveted £20,000 prize ahead of bookies’ favourite Laura Mvula and acts like David Bowie and Arctic Monkeys.

Judges called his record “inventive, poetic and poignant”, adding that “James Blake makes music like no one else”.

Overgrown was released in April and reached number eight in the UK album chart.

Clearly stunned by winning, 25-year-old Blake kept his speech short and thanked his parents “for showing me the importance of being self-sufficient”.

He later told the BBC that he had bet against himself going into the evening and that he had previously only won one other trophy, for a tennis trophy at the age of 12.

He also paid tribute to his fellow nominees, especially Bowie who he described as a continued inspiration for his continually pioneering work.

A classically-trained pianist who studied popular music at Goldsmiths University, Blake emerged from the dubstep scene before standing out in the genre for his more cerebral and ambient approach to the electronic music genre.

Going into the evening, Mvula had been hotly tipped for the prize but she told the BBC afterwards that the nomination itself felt like its own award.

Other names on the shortlist had included dance acts Disclosure and Rudimental, Nottingham teenager Jake Bugg, folk band Villagers, Laura Marling, female punk group Savages, Oxford rockers Foals and dance musician Jon Hopkins.

Established in 1992, The Mercury Prize is awarded to the best British or Irish album of the year.

This year’s ceremony took place at the Roundhouse in north London.