In a year when it feels like Adele is unstoppable with her album 21, PJ Harvey managed to do the impossible and beat the British chanteuse when she took home one of England’s top music honors, the Mercury Prize, for her album Let England Shake.
“I’m delighted and really happy to have won the prize tonight and especially for this album, which I had put so much into,” Harvey told reporters in the press room after receiving the award. “And I knew I had achieved what I had set out to do with it, and you can only hope it’ll appeal to a wider audience.”
Harvey is the only repeat winner of the Mercury Prize, but her first win was somewhat bittersweet. She last took home the prize, for her album Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea, right after the events of September 11, 2001.
“Ten years ago feels like such a surreal experience, I’m sure for everybody,” she said. “My only memory of that day, really, is being in the hotel room and watching the television and seeing the Pentagon burning, and I felt so separate from the prize that was being given here at that time.
“And I’m sure it must have felt very odd for the people that were here,” she added. “So today to have the chance again and actually receive an award means a great deal for me.”
Since Tuesday’s win, the album’s sales have risen significantly. According to NME.com, the album’s sales have grown 1,190 percent since Harvey took the prize home. The album sits at #2 on the Amazon.co.uk chart, right behind Adele’s album.
Other nominees for the prize this year included 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) and Tinie Tempah (Disc-Overy).
“The Mercury Prize is an important award for any artist, new or established, and always has an immediate effect on sales,” Paul Firth, head of music buying at Amazon, said. “It will be interesting to see whether PJ Harvey will surpass Adele at the very top of the charts over the coming days.”