— BBC Music (@bbcmusic) September 14, 2017
In the U.K., there is no more prestigious award in music than the Mercury Prize. The winners over the last 25 years read like a who’s who of important British musicians, including Arctic Monkeys, Pulp, Portishead, and last year’s winner Skepta. The deck of 2017 nominees was a murder’s row of talent, including grime phenomenon Stormzy, the XX, who had won the award in year’s past, and Ed Sheeran. But when Idris Elba opened the envelope, it was Sampha’s name he read.
“This is incredible,” the Process singer said once he made it onstage at the ceremony. He actually seemed quite stunned by the whole thing, and didn’t bring a prepared speech. He did, however, remember to shout out his parent while at the podium. “I’d like to dedicate this award to my parents…they just wanted to give us the best upbringing possible.”
While he didn’t take home the Mercury Prize, Stormzy made his presence known that evening through a jaw-dropping performance of his hit single “First Things First.” The grime rapper actually brought the cover of his No. 1 album Gang Signs And Prayers to life as he spit fire through the microphone. Check out a clip below.