Skepta says he hopes his Hyundai Mercury Prize win will show to other musicians that they can afford to leave their record company deals.
Skepta’s winning album ‘Konnichiwa’ was released on his own Boy Better Know label, having left a deal with Island Records in 2012.
Speaking at a press conference after his win, Skepta said: “But I really did this for people to see freedom. I want to inspire people who do other genres of music too to be: ‘Why am I with this record label? I don’t understand what they’re doing for me. They tell me what to do. When I first came in here, they told me I’d have all the freedom I could have, but now I’m in this deal, I don’t feel like myself any more, I’m getting out. Because Skepta and Boy Better Know did it.’ I want this to get into people’s heads. This is real. I’m not signed. This is independent.”
Skepta added that, nine years after his debut album ‘Greatest Hits’, he was glad that his win had come at this stage of his career.
He said: “I’m happy that it’s happening at this stage in my life. When I was younger, I was very wild and I didn’t really have my head screwed on properly. So I’m happy that people are finding me at this stage of my life, because I’m much more content, much more comfortable, much more relaxed, and my swagger’s the one I want to go out to the world. The positive one, rather than the negative one.”