2017 had to be one of the most hotly contested shortlists for the Mercury Music Prize in a few years yet. Idris Elba put it pretty squarely when he said “British music is the best it’s ever been, ever”, and notably much of that talent included 5 artists from South London.
Tonight following performances from the 12 shortlisted artists and last years winner Skepta, the 2017 prize was awarded to Sampha for his debut album ‘Process’, a truly deserved win for an unassuming artist and unique musician.
Sampha is almost the best kept secret in music. While he doesn’t consider himself famous, he has worked with the likes of Kanye West, Solange, SBTRKT, Drake and Jessie Ware, yet his modesty and humbleness is almost enviable: “Life grounds me to be honest! That’s what grounds me. It’s like life says, ‘yeah you’re feeling like this let me throw this in your way’! Life literally grounds me, it constantly tests”. Having lost his Mother during the making of ‘Process’ and his Father in 1998, his music is marked with his own personal experiences of loss and grief, but that’s not to say ‘Process’ is a miserable album, in fact, it’s far from that.