Arlo Parks has won the 2021 Mercury Prize with her debut album Collapsed In Sunbeams.
The west London-raised singer, 21, fended off competition from artists including Wolf Alice, Celeste and Mogwai.
Accepting the award on stage, she said: “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.”
After thanking her record label and team, she added: “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 12 shortlisted artists also included grime star Ghetts, jazz saxophonist Nubya Garcia, electronic composer Hannah Peel and rapper Berwyn.
Hosted by radio DJ Lauren Laverne at the Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith, west London, the ceremony saw live performances from many of the nominees and was broadcast on BBC Four.
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.”
Last year’s Mercury Prize was won by Michael Kiwanuka with his third album Kiwanuka, fending off competition from Stormzy, Laura Marling and Dua Lipa.
In a break from tradition, his win was announced live on the BBC’s The One Show due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Kiwanuka featured among the judging panel for 2021, alongside industry figures such as DJ Annie Mac, musician Jamie Cullum and songwriter Anna Calvi,
Albums by British artists with a UK release date between July 18 2020 and July 16 2021 were eligible for the prize.