Taylor Swift has congratulated Arlo Parks on winning the Mercury Prize, describing her debut album Collapsed In Sunbeams as “stunning”.
The west London-raised singer, 21, fended off competition from artists including Wolf Alice, Celeste and Mogwai to claim the prestigious award on Thursday night.
Reflecting on her success, Parks said on Twitter she felt “this warm, heavy sense of happiness deep inside”, before adding: “My heart is still pounding, I still keep welling up randomly, this means an awful awful lot to me.”
Pop superstar Swift, 31, replied to her post, writing: “This is so well deserved. Your album is stunning,” before adding a series of love heart emojis.
The concert-style ceremony at the Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith, west London, saw Parks become the first Mercury Prize winner born in the 21st century.
The judging panel said it had been “extremely difficult” to choose a winner because there had been “so many strong albums, of such diversity and character”.
However, they described Parks as “an extremely worthy winner”.
“Addressing such complex issues as mental health and sexuality with real empathy, displaying a lyrical wisdom that belied her 21 years, with Collapsed In Sunbeams Arlo Parks has created an album that has captured the spirit of the year in a positive, forward-thinking fashion,” they said.
“It has the ability to reach out and remind a wider audience of the timeless art of the album. Arlo is an artist who connects deeply with her generation and reflects the plurality of contemporary British life.”
Accepting the award on stage, Parks said: “I am completely speechless. I don’t have the words. I just want to say a big thank you to my family. My mum and my dad are somewhere in the room today.”
After thanking her record label and team, she added: “It took a lot of sacrifice and hard work to get here and there were moments where I wasn’t sure whether I would make it through – but I am here today so thank you very much.”
The 12 shortlisted artists also included grime star Ghetts, jazz saxophonist Nubya Garcia, electronic composer Hannah Peel and rapper Berwyn.
Last year’s Mercury Prize was won by Michael Kiwanuka with his third album Kiwanuka, fending off competition from Stormzy, Laura Marling and Dua Lipa.