British singer-songwriter Arlo Parks has won the prestigious Mercury Prize for her debut album ‘Collapsed in Sunbeams’.
The singer-songwriter took to her Instagram page to share a heartfelt note: “I won the 2021 Hyundai @MercuryPrize!!! These moments are always so complicated to describe but right now I feel this warm, heavy sense of happiness deep inside – my heart is still pounding, I still keep welling up randomly, this means an awful awful lot to me.”
Arlo (21) beat singer Celeste, rapper Ghetts and bands Wolf Alice and Mogwai to win the 25,000 pound ($30,000) prize, which recognises the outstanding British or Irish album of the year.
“I grew up near the Apollo, I remember meeting my friends at the McDonald’s in the Hammersmith Broadway as a kid. This journey started with looking up ‘how to make odd future beats’ on YouTube and pretending to be a pop star in the mirror. There’s a purity to how this all came together,” she wrote.
Parks, who won the best new artiste award at this year’s Brit Awards, cites an eclectic array of musical inspirations, including Harry Styles, Frank Ocean, Solange and Massive Attack.
The judges’ panel said the album “captured the spirit of the year” and addressed “complex issues such as mental health and sexuality with real empathy, displaying a lyrical wisdom that belied her 21 years”.
Accepting the award, Parks said, “It took a lot of sacrifice and hard work to get here and there were moments where I wasn’t sure whether I would make it through, but I am here today… so thank you very much.”
Established in 1992 and open to acts from Britain and Ireland, the Mercury Prize often favours the eclectic and the innovative over better known performers.
Previous winners of the award include Michael Kiwanuka, Skepta, James Blake and Arctic Monkeys.