Michael Kiwanuka wins the 2020 Hyundai Mercury Prize

Kiwanuka was the favourite to win, followed by Laura Marling, Kano and Moses Boyd.

Maya Radcliffe
  • By Maya Radcliffe
  • 25 Sep 2020
  • min read

Michael Kiwanuka has won the 2020 Mercury Prize for his third record, Kiwanuka.

Revealed on The One Show by Annie Mac last night, Kiwanuka beat the likes of Dua Lipa, Kano and Laura Marling to the £25,000 prize and one of the industry’s most prestigious awards.

The judging panel said: ‘KIWANUKA by Michael Kiwanuka is the well deserved winner of the 2020 Hyundai Mercury Prize 2020 for Album of the Year. Classic yet contemporary, drawing on the history of music while remaining an intensely personal work of self expression, this is an album that will stand the test of time. Songs such as Hero and You Ain’t The Problem deal with hot button topics like race and identity, but in a reflective way that draws the listener in. From its narrative flow to the interludes, from Civil Rights speeches to its panoramic mix of everything from psychedelic rock to piano jazz, KIWANUKA is not only a complete work, but also one that is borne of the courage of its creator to build his own world and invite us in. Warm, rich, hugely accomplished and belonging to no one genre but its own, KIWANUKA is a masterpiece.’

Michael Kiwanuka said: ‘I don’t even know what to say - I’m speechless. This is amazing…I don’t even have any words. This is ridiculous, it’s crazy! I’m so happy. Third time’s a charm. It’s blown my mind. I’m over the moon, I'm so excited - this is for art, for music, for albums. This is the only thing I've ever wanted to do so to win a Mercury is a dream come true. I’m so happy. Music and art means so much to me and this is an award that celebrates that so I’m over the moon.’

Kiwanuka won on his third attempt, having been nominated for each of his previous albums: Home Again (2012) and Love & Hate (2016).

Further Mercury Prize programmes this week are:

BBC Two, Friday, 25 September, 10pm to 10.45pm – ‘Later… with Jools Holland’: Hyundai Mercury Prize 2020

BBC Radio 6 Music: Thursday, 24 September, 7pm to 9pm, 2020 Hyundai Mercury Prize special with Tom Ravenscroft