Belfast Telegraph

Outsider James Blake lands Mercury Prize for Overgrown

IAN JOHNSTON

James Blake has won this year's Mercury Prize for music for his album Overgrown.

Blake, who was nominated for the £20,000 award once before in 2011, was considered a relative outsider with bookmakers William Hill quoting odds of 25-1 for him, compared with front-runners Laura Mvula (7-4) and Foals (4-1).

Speaking at the awards, he thanked his parents for teaching him to be "self-sufficient".

In a review in The Independent last month, Holly Williams described his music as "heady and hypnotic".

"Listening to James Blake can feel like being underwater; his waves of electronica swell and retreat, building up and breaking over you, drowning with a thick, wobbling bass and looping, lapping vocals," she wrote.

The awards ceremony opened with a performance by Foals, whose frontman Yannis Philippakis fought off flu to take part.

William Hill spokesman Rupert Adams said that before the result was announced so many bets had come in for Mvula, who also performed, that her odds had tumbled from 16/1 only a few weeks ago.

Arctic Monkeys – who won the prize in 2006 – and singer Laura Marling both made the shortlist for a third time.

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