Just this past week, the annual Mercury Music Prize was awarded for the UK album of the year and to much surprise,the announced winner was the début album from UK artist Benjamin Clementine, At Least For Now.
While this came as a surprise to many given the strength of the nominated class which included UK powerhouses Florence + The Machine, Aphex Twin and Jamie xx, as well as other relative newcomers in SOAK, ESKA and Wolf Alice; if you actually listen to his album, it will come as no real surprise.
Benjamin Clementine’s voice is out of this world. A rich timbre and powerful intonation are at the forefront of his vocal prowess. His evocative music is both heartfelt and intense, while his tenor range is also stupendous. His début album released over the summer and immediately was placed on the short list for the Mercury Prize. A Ghanaian immigrant, Clementine made a name for himself busking in Paris before being picked up on the festival circuit for a brief period of time and playing on Later… with Jools Holland before acquiring a major label deal. A trained poet and pianist, it is very apparent in his music as his lyrics are quite verbose and accompaniment is often simply piano. As the weather turns colder, his music warms your soul. At Least For Now features a number of standout tracks that must be heard and enjoyed. The biggest tracks from the album have to be Cornerstone, London, Adios and Nemesis. Each song offers something a bit different while all still being incredibly powerful. His spinto tenor voice rings through on each track as the focal point and you can’t help but be sucked in. If you enjoy those shared below, you definitely will not want to miss the rest of this spectacular arrangement of music. His music reminds me of another British singer-songwriter who also was a Mercury Music Prize nominee a few years back with her very own début album, Laura Mvula. Her début Sing To The Moon was immensely powerful, however she did not come away the prize that year simply due to the tremendous pool of nominees that year (see the incredibly talented 2013 shortlist for Album of the Year Here). The Mercury Prize has always held a special place in my heart as all British Invasion music has played such a strong determinant and influence in my musical upbringing and so I always try to explore all the albums on the shortlist each year both for their diversity and their talent. While I had initially thought the judges had made the wrong decision this year with their choice of winner, Benjamin Clementine won me over as I delved ever deeper into his music and his voice. I look forward to his next creation with eager anticipation.
Artist Site: http://www.benjaminclementine.com/
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YouTube: Benjamin Clementine
Now Playing: Benjamin Clementine – Cornerstone