"'Process" is the debut album from South London musician Sampha Sisay, released in February 2017 on Young Turks.
"Thank you to the judges for thinking that my album is good enough".
The event was hosted by Lauren Laverne; the award handed out by actor and DJ Idris Elba, who paid tribute to "an incredible array of artists". Speaking at a press conference held shortly after the ceremony ended, Sampha again referenced his parents having dedicated the award to them from the stage.
The judging panel of 12 included Jamie Cullum and Mumford & Son's Marcus Mumford.
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Sampha said the prestigious award would be a self-esteem boost after he had "poured my heart and soul into the record".
While he didn't take home the Mercury Prize, Stormzy made his presence known that evening through a jaw-dropping performance of his hit single "First Things First".
Sheeran, who is touring in the U.S., sent a video message saying he was not expecting to be shortlisted but adding it was always a goal to play the Shepherds Bush Empire and have a Mercury-nominated album.
The 2016 Mercury Prize went to grime hip-hop artist Skepta, for his album "Konnichiwa" in recognition of a resurgent homegrown genre.