Sampha has been awarded the Hyundai Mercury Prize tonight (September 14) for the album Process at the award ceremony in London.
The debut album, released via Young Turks/XL, has total sales of 26,433, according to Official Charts Company data. The record can now expect a significant boost from the Mercury Prize win, as former winners have recounted.
"I feel like I'm dreaming," he told the audience at the Eventim Apollo. Dedicating the award to his parents, Sampha also thanked Young Turks, XL Recordings and Beggars Group.
Eleven of the shortlisted acts – Blossoms, J Hus, Stormzy, Glass Animals, The xx, Kate Tempest, The Big Moon, Alt-J, Dinosaur, Loyle Carner and Sampha – recorded performances at the ceremony, which featured in the live coverage on BBC Four and Radio 6 Music.
Ed Sheeran is on a US tour and was unable to appear, but sent a message describing his early ambition to play Shepherd's Bush Empire and bag a Mercury nomination. "I didn't expect it to happen," said Sheeran, who was shortlisted for the first time.
Hollywood star and part-time DJ Idris Elba was a guest presenter at the Hyundai Mercury Prize award show, which was hosted by Lauren Laverne. Elba, an East Londoner, acknowledged the presence of five shortlisted artists from South London. The prize, which provides a platform to recognise the album, is open to acts from the UK and Ireland.
There was a standout performance from Stormzy, who recreated his Last Supper-style album sleeve with his grime gang in balaclavas during a muscular rendition of First Things First. There was also a positive reaction in the room for J Hus (who's the big winner among the nominees in sales terms) Sampha and Kate Tempest, while the indie contingent - Blossoms and The Big Moon - enjoyed their award show moments. The xx opened proceedings with On Hold, while label mate Sampha closed the evening with a second performance of (No One Knows Me) Like The Piano.
Last year’s victor Skepta also performed at the ceremony for the album prize, which propelled the Boy Better know member into the mainstream. His winning album, Konnichiwa, peaked at No. 2 and has total sales of 146,948, according to the Official Charts Company.
The prize - marking its 25th anniversary this year - includes £25,000 for the winning artist.
The BPI provides operational support for the Mercury, drawing on their experience of the BRIT Awards.
Speaking before the result, chief executive Geoff Taylor told Music Week: “It’s very different to the BRITs but it plays a very important role for the independent community and for new artists. We’re really passionate about growing it as a platform that can reach as many fans as possible.”