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The most coveted prize in British and Irish music was awarded to the 21-year-old London artist in a ceremony held at the Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith, London tonight (September 19).
Dave – whose full name is David Orobosa Omoregie – collected the winner’s trophy and cheque for £25,000, and then performed ‘Psycho’ from his winning album.
“I don’t know what to say,” the soloist said in his acceptance speech. “I want to firstly thank God. I want to invite my mum up onto stage.
“I want to thank everyone that made this happen, I want to thank all of the exceptional musicians who performed tonight…I respect you all so highly”. He also thanked “my mum, my family, my friends.”
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Dave gave nods to fellow nominees including Little Simz, Nao, and Slowthai, and paid tribute to his older brother Christopher, who is currently in prison. “Even though you can’t be here today, I know you’re watching this bro. I’m so grateful.”
Some notable figures in the music industry were quick to applaud Dave’s achievement. BBC Radio 1 DJ Greg James Tweeted: “It HAD to be. Legend.”
Lauren Lavern hosted the ceremony, which featured performances from many of the 12 nominees including Dave.
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Annie Mac was the special guest presenter who announced Dave as the overall winner for Album of the Year. She said ‘Psychodrama’ showed “remarkable musicianship”.
“It showed true artistry, it showed courage, it showed honesty. It’s simply exceptional,” she concluded.
Other artists performing included Anna Calvi, Black Midi, Cate Le Bon, Foals, Fontaines D.C., Idles, Little Simz, Nao, SEED Ensemble’s Cassie Kinoshi and Slowthai. The 1975 are in the middle of their world tour so were unable to attend tonight’s ceremony.
Judges on the night were:
Annie Mac (Broadcaster and DJ)
Clara Amfo (Broadcaster and DJ)
Danielle Perry (Broadcaster and Writer)
Gaz Coombes (Musician and Songwriter)
Jamie Cullum (Musician and Broadcaster)
Jeff Smith (Head of Music, 6 Music and Radio 2)
Jorja Smith (Musician and Songwriter)
Mike Walsh (Head of Music at Radio X)
Phil Alexander (Creative Director at Kerrang! and Contributing Editor at Mojo)
Stormzy (Musician and Songwriter)
Tshepo Mokoena (Editorial Director at VICE.com)
Will Hodgkinson (Chief Rock and Pop Critic at The Times)
Prior to tonight’s award ceremony, the judges said in a collective statement: “This year’s Hyundai Mercury Prize celebrates both the striking diversity of British and Irish music-makers and their shared purpose in exploring issues of identity and belonging at a time of division and disagreement. And all this is done with music of passion, wit, insight, ambition and heart-stirring optimism!”
In 2018, Wolf Alice took home the award for ‘Visions of a Life’.