Unknown Rapper Takes Home Mercury Prize
Relative unknown U.K. rapper Speech Debelle beat out competition from established Brits Kasabian, La Roux and Florence and the Machine to take home this year's (09) prestigious Mercury Prize in London on Tuesday (07Sep09).
The 25 year old Londoner was the shock winner of the coveted music award, with her debut album Speech Therapy getting the nod as Britain's best album of the past year.
The release only hit stores a month ago (Aug09) and has yet to appear on the official U.K. chart, but experts predict the win will dramatically boost sales, which will further swell DeBelle's overnight fortune - she picked up $30,000 (£20,000) as the Mercury Prize victor.
The favourites to win the 2009 prize were Florence And the MAChine, who hit the number one spot on the British album chart, and big-name rockers Kasabian were also named as frontrunners.
Debelle, who penned her material after she was thrown out of home by her mother, was ecstatic she had come out on top.
She told the audience, "I feel so good, it feels better than I imagined. My family's here, my friends are here. I'm from south London, I don't get emotional - I'm emotional."
The 2009 ceremony was supposed to be the first time all 12 acts nominated for the Mercury Prize were slated to perform, but nominated Scottish band Glasvegas were forced to pull out after singer James Allen was struck down with a mystery illness.
Other nominees included Friendly Fires, Bat For Lashes and The Horrors.
Previous winners of the Mercury Prize - founded in 1992 to celebrate the best of British and Irish music - include the Arctic Monkeys, Elbow and Dizzee Rascal.