Grime artist Skepta won the 2016 Mercury Prize yesterday in a year of heavy competition: his album, Konnichiwa, was up against legends like David Bowie for Blackstar and Radiohead for A Moon Shaped Pool (Radiohead are the most nominated performers in Mercury Prize history); also shortlisted were previous winner Anohni for her electro-pop protest album Hopelessness, Laura Mvula for The Dreaming Room (Mvula also was nominated in 2013 for her gorgeous debut album, Sing to the Moon), Jamie Woon for Making Time, Michael Kiwanuka for Love & Hate, The 1975 for [I’m not writing out the full album title], Kano for Made in the Manor, Bat for Lashes for The Bride, Savages for Adore Life, and The Comet Is Coming for Channel the Spirits.
Quoted in BBC, Skepta said backstage at the Mercury Prize of his winning fourth studio album, “I wouldn’t say [Konnichiwa‘s] a grime record. It’s a really good time for grime but I think this is a revolution in freedom.” Skepta also performed a track — “Shutdown” — from Konnichiwa at the award ceremony:
One of the refreshing things about the Mercury Prize is that, unlike most of these other award ceremonies, there’s just one award to be announced, and the event itself ends up being more about the performances than stiff acceptance speeches. Michael C. Hall’s performance of Bowie’s Blackstar track “Lazarus” — which he had to sing nightly earlier this year in the production of the musical of the same name that he starred in — was at once electrically good yet sad, both an impressive feat in his ability to sing it with such emotional potency, as well as a reminder of Bowie’s absence. Watch it here:
Another highlight was Laura Mvula’s performance of “Phenomenal Woman”:
as was The Comet Is Coming’s performance of “Space Carnival”:
…and Bat for Lashes’ “Sunday Love”:
Check out all the performances on NME.