By John Curley
PJ Harvey became the first two-time winner of the Mercury Prize when her latest album, Let England Shake, took top honors during ceremonies held at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London last night. The Mercury Prize, which has been awarded annually since 1992, honors the top album from the UK and Ireland.
Harvey’s previous Mercury Prize win came in 2001 when she was honored for her stellar Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea album. Those ceremonies were held on September 11, 2001. Harvey was on tour at that time and accepted the prize via phone from her hotel room. She noted in her speech last night that she could see the Pentagon burning from the window of her hotel room while on that phone call.
Let England Shake deals with the wars that England has participated in during this century and the last, including the military actions in Iraq and Afghanistan. The album has received worldwide critical and popular acclaim, and it was the bookies’ favorite to win the prize.
To watch a clip of Harvey being interviewed by Absolute Radio prior to the ceremony, click below:
To watch Harvey and her band perform the song “The Words That Maketh Murder” at the ceremony, click below:
To watch Harvey’s acceptance speech, click below:
To watch Harvey’s post-win press conference, click below:
To read an article from BBC 6 Music about the award as well as hear an interview that Harvey did with BBC 6 Music’s Steve Lamacq, go to http://www.bbc.co.uk/6music/news/20110906_mercury_winner.shtml.
To read coverage of the Mercury Prize ceremony and to watch a video about it from the Web site of the UK newspaper The Guardian, go to http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2011/sep/07/pj-harvey-mercury-music-prize.
Harvey beat out some pretty stiff competition to take the prize. Adele, Elbow, and Anna Calvi were among the artists that released stellar albums that were also shortlisted for the prize. The 12 albums that were shortlisted were:
Adele – 21
Anna Calvi – Anna Calvi
Elbow – Build A Rocket Boys!
Everything Everything – Man Alive
Ghostpoet – Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy Jam
Gwilym Simcock – Good Days at Schloss Elmau
James Blake – James Blake
Katy B – On A Mission
King Creosote & Jon Hopkins – Diamond Mine
Metronomy – The English Riviera
PJ Harvey – Let England Shake
Tinie Tempah – Disc-Overy
For more on the Mercury Prize, go to http://www.mercuryprize.com/.
Goldmine reviewed PJ Harvey’s show on April 20th of this year at Terminal 5 in New York City, which can be read here.