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Dave wins 2019 Mercury Prize

By | Published on Friday 20 September 2019

Dave wins Mercury

I don’t think there was ever any doubt about Dave winning this year’s Mercury Prize. And now he has, so you can happily go about your day knowing that for a brief moment last night this topsy turvy world was in balance. Unless you put money on The 1975, like an idiot.

So, yeah, last night the music industry convened on the Hammersmith Apollo for a nice meal and a few performances – including Slowthai making his opinion of ‘Boris’ Johnson very clear. Then, at the end, Dave was handed a cheque for £25,000 in recognition of the fact that his ‘Psychodrama’ album was the best British or Irish album of the last year.

Released in March, ‘Psychodrama’ is a concept album, built around a therapy session and exploring various aspects of the rapper’s own upbringing, covering topics including mental health, absent fathers, racial inequality and domestic abuse. He has said that much of the inspiration for the record came from his older brother Christopher, who is serving a life sentence in prison.

Accepting the prize with his mother standing on stage beside him, Dave said: “I wanna thank everyone that made this happen. I wanna thank all of the exceptional musicians that came and performed tonight. I did not expect this. You guys, I respect you all so highly. Simz, Thai, Nao, I love you guys. I’m so, so happy to be in your company, all the exceptional musicians that are here today”.

“I wanna thank God, my mum, my family, my friends and everyone that’s here”, he added. “But, most importantly, I know I tell this story all the time, but I wanna thank my brother Christopher who inspired this album – this is your story that we told, and even though you can’t be here with us today, I know you’re watching us, bro. I’m so grateful”.

Explaining their decision, the Mercury Prize judging panel said: “‘Psychodrama’ is the musical equivalent of a literary masterpiece: a conceptual album about Dave’s experience of growing up in South London, structured in the form of a therapy session, which takes a deeply personal story and gives it universal relevance”.

“‘Psychodrama’ is a moving, musically sophisticated work that tackles complex themes of identity, class, relationships and politics and demands total attention from the listener”, they went on. “It will have lasting relevance for a generation and underlines the importance of the album as an art form, making it the perfect winner of the 2019 Hyundai Mercury Prize”.

Keeping up the praise, the UK MD of Dave’s publisher Warner Chappell, Mike Smith, said in a memo to staff: “Dave is one of the most important songwriters in the UK today and it’s an honour to represent his music. At a time when so many artists are better known for the one off tracks they release, Dave has pushed the boundaries with ‘Psychodrama’ showing what the album format is capable of in 2019”.

“His poetry has never shied away from the biggest issues of our times and he continues to be the most ambitious songwriter out there”, Smith added. “I know that we can expect more exceptional music from Dave in the near future, but for now join me in congratulating him on this fantastic win”.

Watch Dave perform ‘Psychodrama’ opening track ‘Psycho’ at last night’s ceremony here: