Singer-songwriter Michael Kiwanuka has won the 2020 Mercury Prize for his soul-searching third record, Kiwanuka.

Kiwanuka’s victory was revealed by Radio 1’s Annie Mac live on The One Show, after Covid-19 restrictions made the annual award ceremony impossible.

The Mercury Prize, formerly called the Mercury Music Prize, is an annual music prize awarded for the best album released in the United Kingdom by a British or Irish act.

The 33-year-old, whose Ugandan parents escaped Idi Amin’s regime to settle in Muswell Hill, London, is a former session musician who dropped out of the Royal Academy of Music to become a solo artist.

The DJ, who was on the panel of judges alongside the likes of Jamie Cullum and Jorja Smith, said it had been a “unanimous” decision.

“I don’t think any of the judges walked away feeling unhappy,” she said.

A lush, immersive album of politicised soul, it sees the star exploring themes of self-doubt, faith and civil rights.

Released last November, Kiwanuka beat best-sellers like Dua Lipa’s Future Nostalgia and Stormzy’s Heavy Is The Head to win the £25,000 prize.


Kiwanuka cemented his reputation with 2016’s Love And Hate, which made him a star in the US when the opening song, Cold Little Heart, became the theme tune to the TV series Big Little Lies.