Arlo Parks is the winner of the 2021 Hyundai Mercury Prize: the award that annually names and commemorates the best British album of the year.
Parks' debut studio album Collapsed in Sunbeams, which was released in January of this year, beat out records by Sault, Nubya Garcia, Wolf Alice, Floating Points and Pharoah Sanders, Berwyn, Mogwai, and more for the prize. 21-year-old Parks, who was left "completely speechless" by her victory, is the first Mercury Prize winner to be born in the 21st Century.
Judges called her a "singular voice" who "demonstrates how to be quietly strong in a world of extrovert noise".
"It took a lot of sacrifice and hard work to get here," Parks said while receiving the prize, after regaining her composure on stage. "There were moments where I wasn't sure whether I would make it through - but I am here today, so thank you very much."
The Mercury Prize, given to the best British or Irish album of the past 12 months, is now in its 30th year. Previous winners include era-defining records such as Primal Scream's Screamadelica, Pulp's Different Class and Dave's Psychodrama. Last year, Michael Kiwanuka took home the prize for his third studio album Kiwanuka.
Parks also gave a live performance at the ceremony for the prize, where she sang the song "Too Good" for the audience.
Watch her performance below.
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Article Image: Arlo Parks posing for cameras at the 2021 BET Awards. (Kathy Hutchins via Shutterstock.)