Here’s a great ‘whoops’ for the award ceremony history books as electronic singer-songwriter James Blake walked away with one of the UK’s most coveted music prizes overnight.
Overgrown, the follow-up to James Blake’s 2011 eponymous debut album, took out the Mercury Music Prize, the 25-year-old producer-performer beating out 11 nominees – including bookies’ favourites David Bowie and Arctic Monkeys – to claim the £20,000 cash prize and ‘Album of the Year’ honours.
But during the awards ceremony, held at London’s Roundhouse last night (30th October), Blake was mistaken for James Blunt by the awards host ahead of his live performance.
Much to the bemusement of the crowd, Mercury Prize host Lauren Laverne experienced a major slip of the tongue and introduced James Blake as the Australia-bound ‘You’re Beautiful’ singer-songwriter ahead of his performance of Overgrown single ‘Retrograde’, as NME reports.
It didn’t take long before social media lit up over the faux pas, with Laverne herself tweeting about the three-letter mix-up while James Blunt himself cheekily weighed in on the conversation.
— Lauren Laverne (@laurenlaverne) October 30, 2013
— James Blunt (@JamesBlunt) October 30, 2013
Taking over the crown from last year’s winner, Alt-J and their debut An Awesome Wave, James Blake becomes the 22nd artist to win the Barclayard-sponsored Mercury Music Prize.
The genre-bending artist was considered one of the outsiders of the 12 nominees, with British betting agencies pegging Blake (and not Blunt) for 25/1 odds for the gong, as The Independent reports, despite his previous full-length album, James Blake, being nominated in 2011.
Soul singer Laura Mvula was considered the favourite to win at the 11th hour, for her album Sing To The Moon, while others had previous Mercury winners Arctic Monkeys as a shoe-in for their sixth and latest album AM (recently named by NME as one of the greatest albums of all time).
David Bowie’s The Next Day, one of the year’s best selling UK releases, was also odds-on for victory, with the 66-year-old tipped to take out home the £20k award over younger, emerging nominees like Nottingham singer-songwriter Jake Bugg (for his self-titled debut LP), and the Howard brothers of Disclosure (for their debut album Settle).
“Well, I lost a bet… on the other hand, I should thank a couple of people,” said Blake during his acceptance speech according to BBC News, thanking his parents “for showing me the importance of being self-sufficient.”
Speaking backstage after the win, Blake said he felt “jubilant and confused,” about his victory. “This is the first award I’ve ever won apart from a tennis trophy I won when I was 12,” he said.
When asked about how he felt beating David Bowie, Blake responded: “I don’t think I beat him… A lot of people do their best work when they’re young – and it’s always disappointing when they don’t keep going and don’t keep innovating. So David Bowie’s an inspiration to people like me.” He added: “I feel like I deserved it as much as anyone else did.”
Overgrown, which was described as a “sound and honest collection of heartbreaking tracks…that will certainly stay with you long after the last beat fades away,” by our Tone Deaf reviewer, is expected to enjoy a significant sales boost in the wake of the Mercury win.
The Official Charts Company have already noted increases of 23,000 copies or more for nominees Rudimental, Jake Bugg, and Disclosure in the last month.