Arlo Parks has won this year’s Mercury Prize, with her album Collapsed In Sunbeams
Parks picked up the award at the ceremony at the Hammersmith Apollo in west London, bagging herself a cheque for £25,000 as well as the coveted winner’s trophy.
She also performed a track from the winning album Too Good, with the audience giving her a standing ovation.
Accepting the award, Parks told the room: “I am completely speechless. I don’t have the words. I just want to say a big thank you to my family. My mum and my dad are somewhere in the room today.
“I want to thank my team as well. This is something that came with a lot of hard work from a lot of different people. I want to thank Transgressive, Pias, my managers Ally and Sarah.
“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.”
The songwriter has had a stunning year, winning best new artist at the Brit Awards as well as her album racing up charts around the world.
The judging panel said: “It was extremely difficult to choose a winner of the 2021 Hyundai Mercury Prize.
“There were so many strong albums, of such diversity and character. But in the end we decided that Arlo Parks was an extremely worthy winner.
“Addressing such complex issues as mental health and sexuality with real empathy, displaying a lyrical wisdom that belied her 21 years, with ‘Collapsed In Sunbeams’ Arlo Parks has created an album that has captured the spirit of the year in a positive, forward thinking fashion.
“It has the ability to reach out and remind a wider audience of the timeless art of the album. Arlo is an artist who connects deeply with her generation and reflects the plurality of contemporary British life.”
The show was hosted by BBC presenter Lauren Laverne, and saw live performances from each of the 12 nominated artists.
Parks joins the likes of last year’s winner Michael Kiwanuka, Dave and Wolf Alice on the list of recent winners of the prestigious award.
Albums by British artists with a UK release date between 18 July 2020 and 16 July 16 were eligible for the prize.