James Blake describes ‘surreal’ Mercury Prize win

Singer-songwriter says he feels 'weird and confused' after taking home prize for his album 'Overgrown'

James Blake has said that he feels “weird and confused” about having won the 2013 Barclaycard Mercury Prize for his album ‘Overgrown’.

The album, his second, was picked above competition from Arctic Monkeys, Disclosure, Villagers, Rudimental, David Bowie and the bookies’ favourite Laura Mvula at a London ceremony last night (October 30). Upon winning the award, the 22nd Mercury Prize, he delivered a short speech on the night, and said: “Thank you to my parents for showing me the importance of being independent.”

Speaking to the media in a press conference after the ceremony had ended, Blake was asked how he felt to have won, to which he replied: “I feel weird and confused. But wonderful. It’s a moment you don’t expect to happen to you. In fact you might even bet against it if you’re British. This is the first thing I’ve ever won apart from a tennis trophy when I was 12. And I hold them in equal esteem. I’ll be putting them on the shelf next to each other.”

Going on to describe the “surreal” feeling of being a Mercury-winner, Blake continued: “It’s like when one of those of dreams you have when you’re punching through water and if you’re lucky you end up punching it right on the nose. And what you thought wasn’t going to happen has happened. It’s very surreal.”

Blake also paid tribute to fellow nominee David Bowie, but admitted that he does not feel like he scored a victory over the iconic British star. “I don’t think that’s how this prize works,” said Blake. “It’s amazing for him to be in the running for this prize after so many years. A lot of people do their best when they’re young, and I think it’s always disappointing when people don’t continue in that vein and don’t continue innovating, and I think David Bowie is an example to people like me who want to continue doing that.”

James Blake follows in the footsteps of Primal Scream, PJ Harvey, Badly Drawn Boy, Elbow, Ms Dynamite, Roni Size, Antony & The Johnsons, Speech Debelle and Alt-J, who have all won the prize. The ceremony, presented by BBC 6 Music’s Lauren Laverne, was held at London’s Roundhouse.