The Mercury Prize showcases a range of music genres by celebrating the best album by a British or Irish artist each year, picking a victor from a shortlist of 12.
Sheeran was, however, the only shortlisted artist not performing during the ceremony, which was held on Thursday night at the Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith.
The singer snagged the coveted United Kingdom prize-awarded to the best British album of the year-for his acclaimed debut album Process.
"You know, they came over from Sierra Leone and just wanted to get us the best upbringing possible", said Sampha.
He received his prize from actor Idris Elba and told the audience: "I feel like I'm dreaming".More news: Paris: Man attacks soldier with knife, no injuries caused
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The young singer-songwriter took the industry by storm releasing his debut work in February this year on the music label Young Turks. Sheeran, who was a surprising nominee this year, couldn't attend the event.
The Hyundai Mercury Prize promotes the best of United Kingdom and Irish music and the artists who produce it. Apple Music will also help music fans discover new music with dedicated playlists featuring the shortlisted artists, albums and more.
Process - Sampha's debut album - was released back February and reached a high of number 7 in the United Kingdom album charts.
The inaugural prize in 1992 was awarded to Primal Scream, for their album "Screamadelica".