Ezra Collective win 2023 Mercury Prize with FREE NOW Album Of The Year

7 September 2023, 22:28 | Updated: 8 September 2023, 10:03

Ezra Collective won the 2023 Mercury in Hammersmith this evening.
Ezra Collective won the 2023 Mercury in Hammersmith this evening. Picture: Press

The London jazz quintet triumphed at the prestigious awards ceremony, which took place in London on Thursday.

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Ezra Collective have won the title of 2023 Mercury Prize with FREE NOW Album Of The Year for their second full-length outing, Where I'm Meant To Be.

Receiving the award - which comes with a cheque for £25,000 - drummer and band leader Femi Koleoso said "First of all let me thank God, because if a jazz band winning the Mercury Prize doesn't make you believe in God, I don't know what will."

The band - who comprise Femi Koleoso on drums, TJ Koleoso on bass, Joe-Armon Jones on keys, James Mollison on saxophone and Ife Ogunjobi on trumpet - met at the London-based music education programme Tomorrow's Warriors, and Koleoso paid tribute by saying: "We met in a youth club. This moment is testimony to special people who put time and effort into young people playing music.

"This is not just a result for Ezra, but for every single organisation ploughing their energy into young people playing music. Let's continue to support that."

The judges said of the winning album: "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 prestigious ceremony, which took place tonight (Thursday 7th September) at the Hammersmith Eventim Apollo, saw performances from Loyle Carner, Raye, Jockstrap and Jessie Ware.

Loyle Carner performs onstage during The Mercury Prize 2023 awards show at the Eventim Apollo Hammersmith.
Loyle Carner performs onstage during The Mercury Prize 2023 awards show at the Eventim Apollo Hammersmith. Picture: JMEnternational/Getty Images

The event celebrated the best British and Irish albums of the past year and Ezra Collective beat out stiff competition from the likes of Arctic Monkeys with The Car, Young Fathers with Heavy Heavy and Raye's My 21st Century Blues.

Ezra Collective join last year's winner Little Simz and the likes of Wolf Alice, Arlo Parks, Arctic Monkeys and PJ Harvey to be given the award.

Raye performs onstage during The Mercury Prize 2023 awards show
Raye performs onstage during The Mercury Prize 2023 awards show. Picture: JMEnternational/Getty Images

READ MORE: 21 albums that incredibly didn't win the Mercury Prize

Who won the 2023 Mercury Prize?

Ezea Collective has been awarded the 2023 Mercury Prize with FREE NOW Album Of The Year for their second album Where I'm Meant To Be.

Jessie Ware performs onstage during The Mercury Prize 2023 awards show
Jessie Ware performs onstage during The Mercury Prize 2023 awards show. Picture: JMEnternational/Getty Images

Who was on the Mercury Prize 2023 shortlist?

The 2023 Mercury Prize with FREE NOW Albums Of The Year shortlist was:

  • 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
  • Shygirl - Nymph
  • Young Fathers - Heavy Heavy

Who performed at the 2023 Mercury Prize?

Jessie Ware, Ezra Collective, Olivia Dean, Jockstrap, Young Fathers, Lankum, Raye, Shygirl and Loyle Carner all performed at the Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith. Arctic Monkeys, J Hus and Fred Again were all represented by pre-recorded video performances.

Graham Hastings and Kayu Bankole of Young Fathers perform onstage during The Mercury Prize 2023
Graham Hastings and Kayu Bankole of Young Fathers perform onstage during The Mercury Prize 2023. Picture: JMEnternational/Getty Images

Who won the Mercury Prize in 2022?

2022's winner was Little Simz for her album Sometimes I Might Be Introvert.

Georgia Ellery of Jockstrap performs onstage during The Mercury Prize 2023 awards show at the Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith
Georgia Ellery of Jockstrap performs onstage during The Mercury Prize 2023 awards show at the Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith. Picture: JMEnternational/Getty Images

Who has previously won the Mercury Prize?

  • 1992: Primal Scream - Screamadelica
  • 1993: Suede – Suede
  • 1994: M People - Elegant Slumming
  • 1995: Portishead - Dummy
  • 1996: Pulp - Different Class
  • 1997: Roni Size Reprazent - New Forms
  • 1998: Gomez - Bring It On
  • 1999: Tavin Singh - OK
  • 2000: Badly Drawn Boy - The Hour Of Bewilderbeast
  • 2001: PJ Harvey - Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea
  • 2002: Ms Dynamite - A Little Deeper
  • 2003: Dizzee Rascal - Boy In Da Corner
  • 2004: Franz Ferdinand - Franz Ferdinand
  • 2005: Antony & The Johnsons - I Am A Bird Now
  • 2006: Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am That's What I'm Not
  • 2007: Klaxons - Myths Of The Near Future
  • 2008: Elbow - The Seldom Seen Kid
  • 2009: Speech Debelle - Speech Therapy
  • 2010: The xx - xx
  • 2011: PJ Harvey - Let England Shake
  • 2012: Alt-J - An Awesome Wave
  • 2013: James Blake - Overgrown
  • 2014: Young Fathers - Dead
  • 2015: Benjamin Clementine - At Least For Now
  • 2016: Skepta - Konnichiwa
  • 2017: Sampha - Process
  • 2018: Wolf Alice - Visions Of A Life
  • 2019: Dave - Psychodrama
  • 2020: Michael Kiwuanuka - Kiwanuka
  • 2021: Arlo Parks - Collapsed In Sunbeams
  • 2022: Little Simz - Sometimes I Might Be Introvert
Little Simz wins the Mercury Prize: Albums of the Year 2022
Little Simz wins the Mercury Prize: Albums of the Year 2022. Picture: JMEnternational/Getty Images

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