London-based singer/songwriter Arlo Parks has won the 2021 Mercury Prize, it was announced on Thursday. Parks took home the award on the strength of her acclaimed debut album Collapsed In Sunbeams, which Paste hailed as one of the best LPs of both January and the year (so far).
With its victory, Collapsed In Sunbeams breaks through an absolutely stacked 2021 Mercury Prize shortlist, which also included Berwyn’s DEMOTAPE/VEGA, Black Country, New Road’s For The First Time, Celeste’s Not Your Muse, Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders & The London Symphony Orchestra’s Promises (Paste’s album of the mid-year), Ghetts’ Conflict of Interest, Hannah Peel’s Fir Wave, Laura Mvula’s Pink Noise, Mogwai’s As The Love Continues, Nubya Garcia’s Source, Sault’s Untitled (Rise) and Wolf Alice’s Blue Weekend.
At 21, Parks is one of the youngest Mercury Prize winners to date, following in the footsteps of previous early-20s winners like Ms. Dynamite (2002), Arctic Monkeys (2006), Dave (2019) and Dizzee Rascal, who remains the youngest-ever winner: The rapper was just 19 when his debut album Boy in Da Corner took home the award in 2003, as The Guardian points out.
“It took a lot of sacrifice and hard work to get here, and there were moments where I wasn’t sure whether I would make it through. But I’m here today. So thank you very much,” Parks said in her acceptance speech.
Watch Parks accept her Mercury Prize and perform her album track “Too Good” during the ceremony below, and check out the rest of Collapsed in Sunbeams here if you haven’t already (or if you have).