Laura Mvula has said was “robbed” after losing out on the Mercury Prize to Arlo Parks.
The musician, 35, was nominated for the third time for the gong, this time for her album Pink Noise, for which she eschewed her classical influences in favour of 1980s soul and pop.
The prize went to Parks for her debut album, Collapsed In Sunbeams, which attracted widespread critical praise.
Mvula was also shortlisted for previous studio albums Sing To The Moon and The Dreaming Room but has never won.
After missing out on the prize, she wrote: “I get robbed. A lot.”
She added: “Mercury Prize can lose my number.”
After one fan replied: “Be happy for Arlo smh,” Mvula responded: “You miss my point.”
Mvula was among the 12 nominees for the prize, which recognises the best British album of the year, who performed at the awards ceremony at the Eventim Apollo in London on Thursday night.
Parks, 21, accepted the prize on stage at the event and 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 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.