London rapper Little Simz wins prestigious Mercury Prize

London rapper Little Simz wins prestigious Mercury Prize

The 28-year-old said she was 'very, very overwhelmed' as she picked up the $28,300 prize at the London ceremony
The 28-year-old said she was 'very, very overwhelmed' as she picked up the $28,300 prize at the London ceremony. Photo: Niklas HALLE'N / AFP
Source: AFP

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London rapper Little Simz on Tuesday won Britain's prestigious Mercury Prize for album "Sometimes I Might Be Introvert", beating off competition from "One Direction" singer Harry Styles, among others.

The 28-year-old said she was "very, very overwhelmed" as she picked up the £25,000 (28,700 euros, $28,300) prize at the London ceremony, and paid tribute to her brother and collaborator Inflo.

"We created this album together, there were times in the studio I didn't know if I was going to finish this record, I was feeling all the emotions and really going through it and he stuck by me and pushed me to deliver," she said.

The artist, real name Simbiatu 'Simbi' Abisola Abiola Ajikawo, explores personal and political themes on her fourth album.

She told the Guardian outlet that the album expressed her feeling of "being this introverted person that has all these crazy thoughts and ideas and theories in my head and not always feeling like I'm able to express it if it's not through my art".

The award ceremony at the legendary Apollo venue in Hammersmith, west London was broadcast by the BBC, and featured performances by all of the acts, although Styles had to pre-record his.

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Critical seal of approval

Created in 1992 as an alternative to the more mainstream Brit Awards, the prize is seen as a seal of critical approval and a springboard to wider fame.

But Styles, already a global superstar, also made the final cut for his album "Harry's House", the fastest-selling UK album of 2022 so far.

Brit Award winner Sam Fender was another high-profile artist on the shortlist for his second album "Seventeen Going Under", which tackles the issue of social deprivation in his native North East England.

Recognising the best British or Irish album of the last 12 months, the Mercury has previously gone to acts like Pulp, Arctic Monkeys and PJ Harvey.

Last year's winner was Arlo Parks, for her debut album 'Collapsed In Sunbeams'
Last year's winner was Arlo Parks, for her debut album 'Collapsed In Sunbeams'. Photo: SUZANNE CORDEIRO / AFP
Source: AFP

Also included in this year's 12-artist shortlist were art pop singer Self Esteem, previously of indie band Slow Club, for her album "Prioritise Please", a celebration of femininity.

Folk singer Gwenno, whose album "Tresor" is sung mostly in Cornish also made the list, along with indie duo Wet Leg, post-metallers Nova Twins and Scottish jazz act Fergus McCreadie.

McCreadie told BBC Radio 6 Music: "It is great to be part of that for Scottish music, to have this recognition, hopefully it can embolden musicians in Scotland."

Guitarist Bernard Butler, who won the second ever Mercury Prize with iconic indie band Suede in 1993, reappeared on the shortlist again, this time for his collaboration with actress Jessie Buckley.

The shortlist was completed by post-punk act Yard Act, soul singer Joy Crookes and rapper Kojey Radical.

Last year's winner was Arlo Parks, for her debut album "Collapsed In Sunbeams".

Source: AFP

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