September 10, 2021
In a strong field including career highs from Wolf Alice and Ghetts, the 21-year-old singer-songwriter prevailed with an album full of tangible lived experience
Arlo Parks’ warm voice and diaristic lyrics rightly earn her the Mercury prize
• News: Arlo Parks wins the 2021 Mercury prize
Last year, thanks to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Mercury prize unexpectedly enjoyed a moment in the mainstream spotlight: in lieu of an actual ceremony, it was hoisted from the netherworld of BBC Four and newspaper think pieces such as this, and ended up being presented to Michael Kiwanuka for his album Kiwanuka on BBC One early evening institution The One Show. It seemed to do the trick, at least in commercial terms: Kiwanuka’s album got the kind of sales boost – silver at the time it won the award, it was gold weeks later – which, as certain previous winners can ruefully attest, bagging the Mercury doesn’t always deliver.
Related: Mercury prize 2021: Arlo Parks wins for Collapsed in Sunbeams
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