Britain Mercury Music Prize

British musician, James Blake, nabbed the equivalent of $32,000 for 'Overgrown,' his second album. (Joel Ryan/The Associated Press)

Classically trained musician James Blake has won this year's Mercury Prize, Britain's eclectic music award.

Blake beat nominees including the band Arctic Monkeys, a previous winner, and rock icon David Bowie capture the prize, worth about $32,000, with his second album, Overgrown.

A total of 12 acts were nominated for this year's award, which is open to acts from Britain and Ireland.

The prize has a reputation for rewarding new talent, though bookies had made the veteran Bowie one of the favourites to take the trophy this year.

Other nominees this year included solo artists Laura Marling, Jon Hopkins and Laura Mvula, electronic duo Disclosure and bands Rudimental, Savages, Foals and Villagers.

Blake thanked his parents as he accepted the award late Wednesday at the Roundhouse in London.

Last year's winner was the relatively unknown British indie pop-rock band Alt-J for the album, An Awesome Wave.

The Mercury Prize was established 20 years ago to honour the best British or Irish album of the year, but it often favours especially eclectic or obscure artists.