Ezra Collective was announced tonight, Thursday, 7 September 2023, as the overall winner of the 2023 Mercury Prize with FREENOW for Album of the Year. The Awards Show was hosted by BBC Music’s Lauren Laverne and guest presenter, Jamz Supernova announced the overall winner on behalf of the judging panel. The event was held at the Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith.
An overjoyed Ezra Collective collected the winner’s trophy and cheque for £25,000, and then performed a song from the winning album ‘Victory Dance’ to a standing ovation from the audience.
The judging panel said...
“Virtuosity, community, listening to each other to work out where to go next… who knew that such seemingly old-fashioned values would come to the fore on the winning album of the 2023 Mercury Prize with FREENOW? It wasn’t easy to choose an overall winner from such an eclectic and exciting list, but ultimately the judges were unanimous: Ezra Collective, the London five-piece made up of Femi Koleoso on drums, TJ Koleoso on bass, Joe-Armon Jones on keys, James Mollison on saxophone and Ife Ogunjobi on trumpet are a living argument for putting the hours in, achieving musical brilliance, and tapping into a joyous spirit that ensures their album is as fun as it is impressive. The British jazz renaissance of the past decade has been one of the most significant developments in modern music. Now, ‘Where I’m Meant To Be’, with its touches of reggae, soul, Latin and Afrobeats, its call and response riffs and rhythmic intensity, is a landmark not only for jazz, but for contemporary music in general.”
The Show featured live performances from any of the 2023 shortlisted ‘Albums of the Year’ including Ezra Collective, Jessie Ware, Jockstrap, Lankum, Loyle Carner, Olivia Dean, RAYE, Shygirl and Young Fathers. With a short films being shown about the albums by Arctic Monkeys, Fred again.. and J Hus
The Prize’s broadcast partner, BBC Music, will be providing live television and radio coverage of the event, as well as online and on social media.
BBC Four broadcast ‘Mercury Prize 2023 with FREENOW: Album of the Year’ on Thursday, 7 September 2023 from 9pm to 10.15pm.
BBC Radio 6 Music also provided coverage of the Awards Show for listeners from 7pm to 12am on Thursday, 7 September. The programme was presented by Tom Ravenscroft and Deb Grant, with Matt Everitt reporting from the ceremony and interviewing the shortlisted artists. The show included the announcement of the winning album, which was then be played out in full on air.
Also available on BBC Sounds from Monday 4th September is a Mercury Prize 2023 collection, which will feature Matt Everitt’s Pocket Guides (3 x 60) to all 12 shortlisted albums, along with two playlists – one celebrating this year’s shortlisted artists and another celebrating previous Mercury Prize winners.
Both TV and radio programmes will feature live performances from the shortlisted artists as they lead up to the live announcement of this year’s overall winner.
FREENOW, the Mobility Super App with the largest vehicle choice for consumers across Europe, returns as the headline sponsor of the 2023 Mercury Prize. The sponsorship is part of a multi-year commitment to support British music, through which FREENOW reinforces its pledge to give people the freedom they need to enjoy the city and its unique moments.
As part of its ongoing commitment to supporting UK recorded music, renowned British premium audio brand, Bowers & Wilkins, continues as long-term official audio partner of the Mercury Prize. At the forefront of music creation for over 40 years, it is uniquely placed to help the Mercury Prize celebrate the album format and the shortlisted artists’ creative achievements.
The 2023 Mercury Prize with FREENOW ‘Albums of the Year’ are:
Arctic Monkeys ‘The Car’
Ezra Collective ‘Where I'm Meant to Be’
Fred again.. ‘Actual Life 3 (January 1 - September 9 2022)’
J Hus ‘Beautiful And Brutal Yard’
Jessie Ware ‘That! Feels Good!’
Jockstrap ‘I Love You Jennifer B’
Lankum ‘False Lankum’
Loyle Carner ‘hugo’
Olivia Dean ‘Messy’
RAYE ‘My 21st Century Blues’
Young Fathers ‘Heavy Heavy’