LONDON – Electronica singer-songwriter James Blake won Britain’s prestigious Mercury Prize on Wednesday for his second album, “Overgrown.”
The 25-year-old art school graduate beat off competition from bookmaker favorite Laura Mvula, legendary singer/songwriter David Bowie and Sheffield rockers Arctic Monkeys to claim the £20,000 ($32,000) prize at a ceremony in London.
The bashful winner thanked his parents — his father is also a musician — for teaching him to be “self-sufficient,” before forgetting to pick up his award.
Blake was nominated for the prize, which honors the best British or Irish album of any genre released in the year to July.
He immediately gained critical acclaim for his musicality and fusion of different styles including hip-hop, dubstep, electro and soul.
Bowie received a nomination for “The Next Day,” his first studio album in a decade.
Organizers claim the Mercury Prize is Europe’s top arts award in terms of influence and media coverage, but winners have often fallen back into obscurity.