Monday, 23 November 2015

Benjamin Clementine: Mercury Award winner

A well-deserved Mercury Music Awards win on Friday for Benjamin Clementine, with his debut album
At Least For Now recognised as the album of the year.

When I first heard he was on this year's shortlist I was pretty confident he was the best artist there. I really should have bet £10 that he would have won.

It's a remarkable album, poetic and confident, like nothing else but probably the closest I've heard to French chanson in the English language.

The winner was selected by a panel of musicians, music writers and broadcasters and is seen as one of the UKs most presigious music awards, on account of it being awarded for the artistic merit of the winning album rather that simply by their popularity.

Previous winners since the award was first presented in 1992 include Pulp, PJ Harvey, Portishead and Anthony and the Johnsons

There were 12 acts on this year's shortlist, including Aphex Twin, Florence and the Machine, Slaves and Jamie XX

Clementine graciously dedicated his win to Paris, the city that became his adopted home and the scene of the tragedy that unfolded just one week before.

Clementine has featured on this blog many times previously, and despite being from London, he lived in Paris for several years, sleeping rough until he was discovered working as a busker. He signed to a French label and established his reputation as a performer there, with gigs at events like the Transmusicales festival building his name.

The album was a number one seller in France.

He may have won the UK's most prestigious musical awards, but he's very much an honorary French artist too.

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