Enfield Grammar School ‘old boys’ hit jackpot with Mercury Prize win

Two members of 2023 Mercury Prize winners Ezra Collective are former pupils of the Enfield school, where they first formed a band

Ezra Collective picking up their prize (credit BBC Music/YouTube)
Ezra Collective picking up their prize (credit BBC Music/YouTube)

A jazz band including two members from Enfield have scooped one of the biggest prizes in the music industry after their album Where I’m Meant To Be won the 2023 Mercury Prize.

Ezra Collective is composed of drummer Femi Koleoso and bassist TJ Koleoso – both alumni of Enfield Grammar School – plus keyboardist Joe Armon-Jones, trumpeter Ife Ogunjobi, and tenor saxophonist James Mollison.

The group beat off competition from Arctic Monkeys and Jessie Ware to win the Mercury Prize last night (Thursday 7th). It follows a highly-acclaimed performance at Glastonbury in June.

Ezra Collective are the first-ever jazz band to win the prize. Accepting the award, frontman Femi said: “If a jazz band winning the Mercury Prize doesn’t make you believe in god I don’t know what will!

“This moment that we’re celebrating right here is testimony to good, special people putting time and effort into young people playing music.

“This is not just a result for Ezra Collective, this is not just a result for UK jazz, but this is a special moment for every single organisation across the country ploughing their efforts into young people playing music.”

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Femi went on to reel off a list of organisations that he said had contributed to Ezra Collective’s success, including Enfield Grammar.

In a congratulatory message on its website, Enfield Grammar School said: “This is such fabulous news and we are delighted for our ‘old boys’ and their band mates.

“At the awards ceremony, Femi’s speech thanked people and organisations that gave support during their musical journey, and again, we are so proud to get a mention and know how our passionate music department was one of the various platforms that helped springboard these ex-students to where they are now. He emphasises how important all our local youth groups and services are in the UK, believing in and giving young people a chance.

“Mr Escott, who is still teaching within our music department, was one of their music teachers when they were here in school and he recently got the chance to meet Ezra Collective at Abbey Road Studios – what an honour!”

The school added: “These brothers, Femi and TJ, and their band mates, are a shining example of what dedication and hard work can achieve, from the year seven band to Mercury Music Prize winners!”

Watch the moment Ezra Collective won the Mercury Music Prize:

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