Speech Debelle wins Mercury Prize
Speech Debelle was the surprise winner of the Barclaycard Mercury Prize on Tuesday night (08.09.09), beating favourites Florence and the Machine, Kasabian and Friendly Fires to the prestigious accolade.
Speech Debelle was the winner of the Barclaycard Mercury Prize on Tuesday night (08.09.09).
The little-known British rapper surprisingly beat off stiff competition from the 11 other nominees, including Florence and the Machine, Kasabian, La Roux and Friendly Fires, to take home the prestigious accolade for her debut LP 'Speech Therapy'.
As host Jools Holland announced she was this year's recipient of the award - which recognises the best UK or Irish album of the last 12 months - the hip-hop star was mobbed by everyone sat at her table at London's Grosvenor House Hotel.
Upon collecting her statuette and a cheque for £20,000, Debelle joyously said: "Eh! Thank you to the panelists for picking the album. Thank you to my band The Therapist with Incrediboy. Thanks to my mum I love you so much, my gran's even over there. Thank you to whoever's name is on the cheque. Thank you."
She also paid tribute to losing act The Invisibles - who were up for their self-titled debut - saying: "Big up to Invisibles!"
Earlier in the evening, all the nominated acts - except for Glasvegas who couldn't play because singer James Allan was ill - performed tracks from their nominated albums.
Kasabian kicked off proceedings with their hit single 'Fire', from third record 'West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum'.
Afterwards, frontman Tom Meighan told the audience: "It's not often I'm lost for words. Thank you for nominating us for the Mercury Prize, God bless, love you all."
They were followed by Friendly Fires who played 'Jump In The Pool', taken from their self-titled debut LP, accompanied by drummer Jack Savidge who made the ceremony after discharging himself from hospital earlier in the day.
Performances by Florence and the Machine, La Roux and Bat for Lashes - who received her second nod in three years for latest album 'Two Suns' - all impressed the star-studded crowd, which included Gossip singer Beth Ditto, Charlatans frontman Tim Burgess and 'Mighty Boosh' star Noel Fielding.
Other nominate albums included The Horrors' 'Primary Colours', Led Bib's 'Sensible Shoes', Sweet Billy Pilgrim's 'Twice Born Men' and Lisa Hannigan's 'Sea Sew'.
Kasabian would have been more disappointed than most to lose out as Tom had earlier predicted the band were set for an extra-special feeling if they had won.
He said: "If we win it will be the best orgasm ever! I've got close before but never gone the whole way! I'm looking forward to hitting the bar afterwards."
The annual prize is selected by industry experts and doesn't take into account commercial success or live performances.
Last year, Elbow took home the accolade for their fourth studio album 'The Seldom Seen Kid', while previous winners include Arctic Monkeys, Pulp, PJ Harvey and Dizzee Rascal.
Nominees for the 2009 Barclaycard Mercury Prize:
Speech Debelle - 'Speech Therapy' (Winner)
Florence and the Machine - 'Lungs'
Kasabian - 'West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum'
Bat for Lashes - 'Two Suns'
Glasvegas - 'Glasvegas'
La Roux - 'La Roux'
The Horrors - 'Primary Colours'
Lisa Hannigan - 'Sea Sew'
Friendly Fires - 'Friendly Fires'
Led Bib - 'Sensible Shoes'
The Invisible - 'The Invisible'
Sweet Billy Pilgrim - 'Twice Born Men'