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Ezra Collective wins 2023 Mercury Prize for Album of the Year

Ezra Collective was announced as the overall winner of the 2023 Mercury Prize with FREENOW last night for their album, Where I’m Meant To Be.

The awards show was held at the Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith and hosted by BBC Music’s Lauren Laverne, while guest presenter Jamz Supernova announced the overall winner on behalf of the judging panel. Ezra Collective collected the winner’s trophy and cheque for £25,000 and then performed a song from the winning album Where I’m Meant To Be.

The group - consisting of Femi (who also drums for Gorillaz) as drummer and bandleader, Joe Armon-Jones on keys, James Mollison on saxophone, Ife Ogunjobi on trumpet, and Femi’s younger brother TJ on bass guitar - originally came together in 2012 as teenagers at the youth band of Tomorrow’s Warriors, a music education initiative at the South Bank Centre in London. They have since shot forward to become architects of a new phase in their city’s musical journey, a hybrid time in which black genres - jazz, grime, afrobeat and more - can dovetail and harmonise fluidly, at new, forever rising levels.

Where I’m Meant To Be is a thumping celebration of life, an affirming elevation in the Ezra Collective’s winding hybrid sound and refined collective character.

The awards show featured live performances from many of the 2023 shortlisted ‘Albums of the Year’ including Ezra Collective, J Hus, Jessie Ware, Jockstrap, Lankum, Loyle Carner, Olivia Dean, RAYE, Shygirl and Young Fathers. There was a filmed live performance shown to celebrate the albums by Arctic Monkeys and Fred again.. as they are currently on tour.

The Prize’s broadcast partner, BBC Music provided live television and radio coverage of the event, as well as online and on social media. BBC Radio 6 Music provided coverage of the awards show for listeners – 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 overall winning album, which was then played out in full on air.

Also available on BBC Sounds is a Mercury Prize 2023 collection, which features Matt Everitt’s Pocket Guides to all 12 shortlisted albums, along with two playlists – one celebrating this year’s shortlisted artists and another celebrating previous Mercury Prize winners.

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.

The 2023 Mercury Prize with FREENOW ‘Albums of the Year’:

Arctic Monkeys - The Car

Ezra Collective - Where I'm Meant to Be - WINNER

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

Shygirl - Nymph

Young Fathers - Heavy Heavy