Thursday 22 August 2019

Benjamin Clementine dedicates Mercury Prize to Paris

Benjamin Clementine dedicated his Mercury Prize to the terror-hit city of Paris
Benjamin Clementine dedicated his Mercury Prize to the terror-hit city of Paris
Lauren Laverne at the 2015 Mercury Music Prize at BBC Broadcasting House in London. (Ian West/PA Wire)
Florence + The Machine's album How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful was shortlisted for the 2015 Mercury Prize
Jamie xx's album In Colour is on the shortlist for the 2015 Mercury Prize

Musician Benjamin Clementine has won the prestigious Mercury Prize for his album At Least For Now, dedicating his win to the the still-reeling city of Paris.

The record, which was recorded at RAK Studios in London and produced by both Clementine and Jonathan Quarmby, beat the likes of Florence + The Machine and Jamie xx to become the latest Album of the Year winner.

Clementine relocated to Paris after being raised in north London and spent many years busking before he signed a record deal.

Speaking at the award presentation in London, softly-spoken Clementine fought back tears as he said: "Before I finish, I just want to say that I dedicate this - I know this is about music - but I dedicate it to what happened about four or five days ago in Paris."

Twelve acts were shortlisted for the accolade, which was announced at London's BBC Broadcasting House.

Host DJ Lauren Laverne said before the ceremony it would be difficult to pick a winner, but the award represented an invaluable opportunity for any nominee.

Soak - Belfast-born Bridie Monds-Watson, 19 - was nominated for her debut album Before We Forgot How To Dream and described the red carpet experience as "surreal".

The singer-songwriter began writing from the age of 13, but said she had learned from touring with musicians she admires since then.

Former Supergrass frontman Gaz Coombes - nominated for his album Matador - said the shortlist spoke volumes of the calibre of the UK's music industry.

He said: "I think it's varied, it's exciting, it's thriving."

Florence's How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful competed against established acts such as former nominee Ghostpoet's third offering, Shedding Skin.

Nominated for his debut album Architect - made in his bedroom in Glasgow - was Scottish composer C Duncan, were up against newcomers Wolf Alice with My Love Is Cool, punk duo Slaves and their album Are You Satisfied? and Zimbabwean-born folk singer Eska's eponymous offering.

Aphex Twin's Syro rounded out the nominees.

PA Media

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