The 33-year-old musician was announced as the winner of the prestigious annual music accolade for his third album, ‘Kiwanuka’, which was released to critical acclaim in November 2019.
The announcement was made by Annie Mac on ‘The One Show’ on Thursday (24.09.20), after plans for a physical awards show were axed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement, Michael said of his win: “I don’t even know what to say - I’m speechless. This is amazing … I don’t even have any words. This is ridiculous, it’s crazy! I’m so happy. Third time’s a charm. It’s blown my mind. I’m over the moon, I'm so excited - this is for art, for music, for albums.
“This is the only thing I've ever wanted to do so to win a Mercury is a dream come true. I’m so happy. Music and art means so much to me and this is an award that celebrates that so I’m over the moon.”
Michael beat the likes of Stormzy, Dua Lipa, and Charli XCX to take home the sought after trophy, after the judging panel called his music “warm, rich, and hugely accomplished”.
They said: “‘Kiwanuka’ by Michael Kiwanuka is the well deserved winner of the 2020 Hyundai Mercury Prize 2020 for Album of the Year. Classic yet contemporary, drawing on the history of music while remaining an intensely personal work of self expression, this is an album that will stand the test of time.
“Songs such as ‘Hero’ and ‘You Ain’t The Problem’ deal with hot button topics like race and identity, but in a reflective way that draws the listener in. From its narrative flow to the interludes, from Civil Rights speeches to its panoramic mix of everything from psychedelic rock to piano jazz, ‘Kiwanuka’ is not only a complete work, but also one that is borne of the courage of its creator to build his own world and invite us in. Warm, rich, hugely accomplished and belonging to no one genre but its own, ‘Kiwanuka’ is a masterpiece.”