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Ahead of the Mercury Music Prize awards ceremony this Thursday we’ve taken a look at the 2017 shortlist.
We also have the odds on who’s going to secure the title and follow in the footsteps of Skepta, Young Fathers and James Blake.
Blossoms – Blossoms
The Stockport indie outfit are nominated for their debut, self-titled album ‘Blossoms’. Released in August 2016, the record made it to the top of the UK Album charts with Charlemagne becoming an instant classic.
Dinosaur – Together, As One
Dinosaur is a jazz quartet that have been playing together since 2017. Their album ‘Together, As One’, one of seven debuts on the list, was met with acclaim and had to be restocked on their website. Speaking to The Guardian composer and trumpeter Laura Jurd said, “To get a phone call and be told we were in the shortlist was a really wonderful, out-of-the-blue surprise”.
Ed Sheeran -Divide
Ed Sheeran’s nomination for his third album ‘Divide’ was controversial as the Mercury Prize is traditionally seen as a platform for lesser known artists however ‘Divide’ is the fastest selling pop album by a male artist in history and his single Shape of You spent 14 weeks at number one in the UK.
Glass Animals – How To Be A Human Being
Indie-rock band Glass Animals are up for their second album ‘How To Be A Human Being’. Each of the 11 tracks on the record tells the story of a different person. There characters were brought to life for the album artwork with 11 unique illustrations.
J Hus – Common Sense
J Hus aka Momodou Jallow is a 21-year-old urban artist from East London. He got the nod for his debut record ‘Common Sense’ which has been praised for Hus’s ability to mix musical genres seamlessly.
Catch J Hus live in Dublin on November 7 at The Academy, buy tickets here.
alt-J – Relaxer
alt-j are well used to award nominations with an Ivor Novello and a Grammy under their belts for their previous two albums. It’s their third record ‘Relaxer’ that is being recognised this time however, they won the Mercury Prize for ‘An Awesome Wave’ in 2012 so what are the chances they can do it again?
Kate Tempest – Let Them Eat Chaos
Kate Tempest is a spoken word artist hailing from East London and the favourite to scoop this year’s award. Her album ‘Let Them Eat Chaos’ follows the story of seven individuals who live on the same road but have never met until, at 4:18am a storm forces them outside. The 13-track album delves into big political and social issues through the relatable mechanic of people’s everyday lives.
Loyle Carner – Yesterday’s Gone
South London hip-hop artist and actor Loyle Carner has been nominated for his debut record ‘Yesterday’s Gone’. He’s been busy getting his name out there the past three years touring with Joey Badass and supporting Nas and fellow nominee Kate Tempest. His 15-track album is heavily influenced by his family and friends with a particular nod to his mother.
Catch Loyle Carner at The Button Factory, Dublin on September 27th, buy tickets here.
Sampha – Process
Despite a career already spanning a decade Sampha waited until February this year to release his debut album ‘Process’. Having busied himself working with SBTRKT, Solange, Drake and Frank Ocean the time had finally felt right to release an LP. The record is a powerful collection of songs mostly dealing with the topic of grief following the death of Sampha’s mother Binty Sisay in 2015. He co-wrote the track Timmy’s Prayer with Kanye who lost his mother in 2007.
Stormzy – Gang Signs & Prayer
Stormzy meteoric rise to the top continues with his nomination for his debut record ‘Gang Signs & Prayer’. He has already scooped a Brit Award for Best Breakthrough Act, a BET Award for Best International Act and a GQ Men of the Year Award for Solo Artist in 2017 alone. As he would say, “gotta keep trophies down at my mum’s bit. Man I’m getting way too big for my shelf.” ‘Gang Signs & Prayer’ has been praised for its eclectic mix of grime, gospel and R&B.
The Big Moon – Love In The 4th Dimension
The Big Moon is an all-female London four-piece with a polished indie rock sound. Their debut record ‘Love In The 4th Dimension’ was recorded in just 12 days allowing the band to follow their initial instincts when it came to musical decisions. Speaking to NME on their nomination the girls seemed shocking and delighted to get the nod saying the news, “feels unreal”.
The XX – I See You
Alongside alt-j The XX is the second band on the list to have previously won a Mercury Music Prize. They took home the award in 2010 for their self-titled debut release. This time around it’s their third record ‘I See You’ that’s being recognised which has seen them move away from self-implemented rules and restrictions to break the mould for perhaps their best album to date.
Lauren Laverne is set to host the award ceremony this Thursday while Idris Elba will announce the winner. Performances on the night will come from last year’s winner Skepta and most of the nominated acts.