Sampha, a singer-songwriter from south London, said he felt "incredible" as he was announced as the victor of the Mercury Prize for his debut album Process.
The Awards Show was hosted by BBC Music's Lauren Laverne and guest presenter, Idris Elba announced the overall victor. "I'd like to dedicate this award to my parents...they just wanted to give us the best upbringing possible".
His debut album was described by NME music magazine as a "finely crafted and devastating take on the loss of his mother to cancer" when it was released in February.
The nominees all performed live, save for Ed Sheeran, who sent a message of thanks via video from Miami.
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The album was selected from a shortlist of 12 albums produced during the past year by artists from Britain.
The Mercury prize is seen as an alternative to the more mainstream Brit Awards.
Sampha - who joins recent Mercury laureates including the grime rapper Skepta, the experimental trio Young Fathers and the electronic musician James Blake - accepted the award with the kind of understated grace admirers have cited in his music.
The Mercury Prize began in 1992, and was won by Primal Scream with their album Screamadelica.