Michael Kiwanuka has won the 2020 Hyundai Mercury Prize for his most recent album ‘Kiwanuka’. A bookies’ favourite since the nominees were announced in July, the genre-merging London songwriter beat out the likes of rapper Stormzy, electronic pop artist Georgia and jazz drummer Moses Boyd to take home the prize on BBC’s The One Show last night.
Incorporating elements of soul, gospel and psych-rock into his naturally soulful songwriting, ‘Kiwanuka’ immediately found critical acclaim upon its release in November 2019. Tracks like ‘Hard to Say Goodbye’ and ‘Hero’ are among the many highlights, featuring lush orchestration, succinct grooves and soaring vocals, combined to dreamy effect through Danger Mouse’s grandiose production.
Kiwanuka was previously nominated for the Mercury Prize for both his 2012 debut album ‘Home Again’, and its 2016 follow-up ‘Love & Hate’, losing out to indie band alt-J’s ‘An Awesome Wave’ and grime artist Skepta’s ‘Konnichiwa’ respectively. Other past winners include Primal Scream’s ‘Screamadelica’, PJ Harvey’s ‘Let England Shake’ and The xx’s ‘xx’, and in 2020 ‘Kiwanuka’ joins these modern classics as examples of Britain’s most prestigious musical talent.