The shortlist for this year’s Mercury Prize was announced earlier today; an award which recognises and celebrates artistic achievement throughout the past year, via a list of twelve albums released across a wide range of genres.
Judged by an independent panel made up of musicians, presenters, journalists, producers and other industry professionals, the Mercury Prize focuses solely on British talent, with past winners including the likes of Sampha, Wolf Alice, Arctic Monkeys and Pulp.
Artists who made year’s nominations list include Laura Marling, with her critically acclaimed seventh record, ‘Song For Our Daughter’; indie rock five-piece, Lanterns on the Lake, with their new album, ‘Spook the Herd’; and Anna Meredith, with her genre-bending sophomore, ‘Fibs’.
Pop nominations come from Dua Lipa’s vibrant second album, ‘Future Nostalgia’, and Charli XCX’s experimental record ‘How I’m Feeling Now’. The latter was recorded in a span of six weeks during self-isolation, working with the likes of A. G. Cook and Dylan Brady, whilst also involving a collaborative process with fans via Zoom.
The only debut albums receiving nominations this year are ‘Deep Down Happy’, from Cambridge rock band, Sports Team; and ‘Dark Matter’ – the solo album from jazz drummer and composer, Moses Boyd.
Stormzy and Kano both received their second Mercury Prize nominations with ‘Heavy is the Head’, and ‘Hoodies All Summer’, whilst Georgia and Porridge Radio were given their first album nominations for ‘Seeking Thrills’, and ‘Every Bad’.
Michael Kiwanuka gained his third album nomination for his latest record, ‘KIWANUKA’, making him the second most nominated artist on the 2020 list – Laura Marling comes in first with four shortlist appearances altogether.
Artists who missed out on this years list include FKA Twigs, with her phenomenal second record, ‘MAGDALENE’, and Rina Sawayama with her vivid sophomore album, ‘SAWAYAMA’ – arguably two of the biggest snubs of the day.
Whilst both The Big Moon and Foals have both been nominated for previous records, they didn’t quite make the grade this time, meanwhile Sam Fender, who won Critic’s Choice at last years Brit Awards also didn’t get in with his debut album, ‘Hypersonic Missiles’.
Nadine Shah’s fourth record, ‘Kitchen Sink’, which explores womanhood, racism, and relationships, was another huge snub, after her third album, ‘Holiday Destination’ was nominated in 2018. In a series of (now deleted) tweets, Shah questioned the way the Mercury Prize often offers nominations to well-established bands and artists. The winners of the award are given a £25,000 cheque – something which is much more beneficial to smaller artists, who don’t have the backing of a major label.
Last year’s winner was Dave, with his monumental second record, ‘Psychodrama’. The winner of the 2020 award is currently set to be announced on 24th September, and will be broadcast on both TV and radio.