The 26-year-old pipped the likes of Florence + The Machine, Aphex Twin, Wolf Alice and bookie favourite Jamie xx to claim one of the world’s most coveted music gongs in London overnight, and used his acceptance speech to honour the city that he spent so much time busking in during his days as a struggling muso.
“I’d like to dedicate this to the people of Paris,” he said, breaking down in tears.
“I always believed in my music but after Paris happened, I was very down,” he said, reflecting on his Mercury Prize win. “I didn’t think I would win. I always wanted to be nominated for this award, but I didn’t think to myself that I’d win it. I always made a joke about it!”
Clementine performed his soulful piano-powered track Cornerstone at the ceremony, and invited all of the other nominees up onstage with him during his acceptance speech.
Young Fathers won the award last year for their album Dead, while James Blake took the prize in 2013 for his album Overgrown.
Check out Clementine’s Mercury Prize-winning song, Cornerstone, below.
Watch: Benjamin Clementine – Cornerstone