British singer-songwriter Arlo Parks has won the 2021 Hyundai Mercury Prize for her debut album Collapsed In Sunbeams.

Parks was announced as the overall winner at a music ceremony at the Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith last night (September 9).

“It took a lot of sacrifice and hard work to get here and there were moments where I wasn’t sure if I would make it through, but I’m here today,” Parks said, accepting the 2021 Hyundai Mercury Prize.

“I’m completely speechless. I don’t even have the words. I just want to say a big thank you to my family, my mum and my dad are somewhere in the room today,” Parks said, in an emotional acceptance speech.

“I want to thank my team as well, this is something that came with a lot of hard work from a lot of different people. I want to thank Transgressive, PIAS, my managers Ali and Sarah. 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.”

The shortlist for this year highlights “how remarkably creative and diverse British music is at the moment,” guest presenter Annie Mac said.

There were twelve artists nominated for the Mercury best album award were Arlo Parks, Berwyn, Black Country, New Road, Celeste, Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders and the London Symphony Orchestra, Ghetts, Hannah Peel, Laura Mvula, Mogwai and Nubya Garcia.

The Hyundai Mercury Prize judging panel offered a statement on why it was “difficult” to assign a winner: “There were so many strong albums, of such diversity and character. But in the end we decided that Arlo Parks was an extremely worthy winner.

“Addressing such complex issues as mental health and sexuality with real empathy, displaying a lyrical wisdom that belied her 21 years, with Collapsed In Sunbeams Arlo Parks has created an album that has captured the spirit of the year in a positive, forward thinking fashion. It has the ability to reach out and remind a wider audience of the timeless art of the album. Arlo is an artist who connects deeply with her generation and reflects the plurality of contemporary British life.”

You can watch Arlo Parks’ incredible performance of Too Good here or below: