Edinburgh hip hop trio Young Fathers have been awarded the 2014 Mercury Prize for their debut album, ‘Dead’.
The award ceremony took place last week (Wednesday 30th October) at the Roundhouse in London. BBC Radio’s Nick Grimshaw hosted the event, announcing the surprise winner of the prize and £20,000 cheque following performances from all 12 nominees.
As previously reported, the shortlist also included Royal Blood, East India Youth, Damon Albarn and Anna Calvi alongside Jungle, Kate Tempest, FKA Twigs, Nick Mulvey, Bombay Bicycle Club, Polar Bear and GoGo Penguin. Young Fathers were an outside bet at 12/1, whilst FKA twigs were favourites at 2/1.
Chair of the Mercury panel Simon Frith said: “Young Fathers have a unique take on urban British music, brimming with ideas – forceful, unexpected and moving”.
Young Fathers (pictured above grinning like loons at the news) are signed to Big Dada and also won the Scottish Album of the Year (SAY) award in June this year for 2013 EP ‘Tape Two’. They subsequently commented on the Mercury in this interview with The Guardian, saying: “To win is the icing on the cake. But awards and stuff like that – they’re not telling us anything that we don’t already know”. The act are reportedly off to Berlin to record a new album.
Whether Young Fathers will continue to be xx rated or left speechless debelle remains to be seen but at least the panel awarded a genuinely innovative album this year.
The so called Mercury effect is notoriously unreliable- the Official Charts Company revealed last week that a quarter of the shortlist had sold less than 1,000 additional albums since the nominations but this week reported that sales of ‘Dead’ have almost doubled, with the album now headed for the top 40. Surely in the era of streaming, many people will just be dipping into the nominated albums, meaning that such figures are no longer indicative of the effect this has on an artist’s profile or potential longevity.
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