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Congrats, Speech!

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Huw Stephens Huw Stephens | 12:39 UK time, Wednesday, 9 September 2009

The beauty of the Mercurys, year after year, is that you have no idea who's going to win. There's no right or wrong in music of course, just personal taste.

But I was delighted for Speech Debelle who has won this year's prestigious award. She was in session on my Radio 1 show back in January of this year on the strength of one single, Searching, and the realisation that here was a lady who was talented, had integrity, soul and skill, and wasn't afraid to bend the rules in order to tell the world her tales.

All of this was captured on her debut album, and that's why she won. She played the BBC Introducing stage at Glastonbury with her friend Micachu joining her onstage, and I booked her to play my stage at Latitude. That didn't happen because her tour van broke down, but these things happen. (If there's a track on her 2nd album called 'Damn this Bus' or something, you'll know why).

There were so many brilliant albums nominated this year, a lot of worthy contenders. Huge congratulations, Speech!

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