Arlo Parks has won the 2021 Hyundai Mercury Prize for her album Collapsed In Sunbeams.
Parks was crowned the overall winner at a live ceremony at the Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith last night (September 9).
Parks was the bookies’ favourite to win before the ceremony, beating competition from the likes of SAULT, Ghetts and Laura Mvula.
Accepting the trophy, an emotional Parks said: “I’m completely speechless. I don’t even have the words. I just want to say a big thank you to my family, my mum and my dad are somewhere in the room today.
“I want to thank my team as well, this is something that came with a lot of hard work from a lot of different people. I want to thank Transgressive, PIAS, my managers Ali and Sarah. It took a lot of sacrifice and hard work to get here and there were moments where I wasn’t sure whether I would make it through, but I’m here today.”
She then performed a live rendition of Collapsed In Sunbeams track “Too Good” to a standing ovation.
— Mercury Prize (@MercuryPrize) September 9, 2021
One of the prize judges Annie Macmanus said on behalf of the panel: “It was extremely difficult to choose a winner of the 2021 Hyundai Mercury Prize. There were so many strong albums, of such diversity and character. But in the end we decided that Arlo Parks was an extremely worthy winner.
“Addressing such complex issues as mental health and sexuality with real empathy, displaying a lyrical wisdom that belied her 21 years, with Collapsed In Sunbeams Arlo Parks has created an album that has captured the spirit of the year in a positive, forward thinking fashion.
“It has the ability to reach out and remind a wider audience of the timeless art of the album. Arlo is an artist who connects deeply with her generation and reflects the plurality of contemporary British life.”