Kiwi musician Mitch James says taking out the MTV EMA for the Best New Zealand Act is "pretty surreal" considering where he has come from in the past few years.
"It's an extremely ridiculous feeling," Mitch told Newshub exclusively.
"I am so, so grateful for everything that I've been through and that it's made me what I am today."
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The musician fell on hard times after making the move to London, sleeping rough in London's Hyde Park as he took on trying to establish himself as a recording artist and having his music heard.
He cleaned cars while saving up enough money for a one-way flight to the UK before taking on the journey which he hoped to change his life.
After jumping onto the tube by sneaking through the turnstiles for what would be the first of many times, he spent his first night at a cheap hostel, using the rest of his money for a bottle of water.
He chased gigs while busking on the street but faced challenging times as he fought to be seen amid other aspiring musicians.
There were many sleepless nights when he couldn't pay for accommodation and he was often saved by mates who would let him crash on the couch.
He showed unwavering perseverance through ups and downs before the New Zealand arm of a record label got behind him and he returned to Auckland.
Mitch says the experience has allowed him to stay grounded following the success and praise of his self-titled debut album released in September.
"It's served as the perfect evening out process of my personality, if all this happened without any metaphorical rain and it was all sunshine, I probably ran the risk of turning into a complete a**hole," Mitch said.
The No Getting Older hitmaker beat out fellow nominees Stan Walker, Kimbra, Robinson and Thomston to nab the coveted prize, appearing on screen via video to accept the win.
"For it to be voted for by fans is a whole other cherry on top. I am so grateful that I have the support from New Zealand and abroad that people are voting for me and giving me the opportunity to win such incredible awards."
The announcement was made at the Europe Music Awards which were held place in Spain on Sunday night local time.
The 23-year-old says he is looking forward to writing new music for his second album over the coming months before joining Broods, Savage, Shapeshifter as well as other top Kiwi acts at Homegrown in March.