The Mercury Prize (formerly the Mercury Music Prize) is one of the UK’s most illustrious music awards. It is an annual prize for the best album from the UK and Ireland, and today, the shortlist was released (as was the Booker Longlist, should you be so inclined).
The list includes many top-billed artists, including one of the world’s biggest, Ed Sheeran. His album ‘Divide’ sold more than two million copies in the UK alone; it’s lead single ‘Shape of You’ was streamed over one billion times on Spotify.
I mean, it’s no big feat. Is it? Really?
Other big names include the xx, grime MC Stormzy and previous winner Alt-J; the 'poppy' triad winning in 2012 with their debut album ‘An Awesome Wave’.
Last year the prize was taken by Stormzy's fellow grime star, Skepta, making it the third year in a row that the acclaimed award was won by a non-white artist – black British music also being represented in force this year. With the likes of Sampha and his soulful ‘Process’, hip-hop MC Loyle Carner and rapper J Hus.
What is a little surprising is the names that have not made the cut this year; the likes of Dizzee Rascal, Giggs and Wiley falling short as well as Calvin Harris, Rag’n’Bone Man, Laura Marling and Little Mix, also missing out on a chance to take the top spot.
The judging panel is made up of 12 notable reps from the industry, including musicians Lianne La Havas, Jamie Cullum and Jessie Ware, broadcasters MistaJam and Clara Amfo. It will also consist of critics and journalists, including the Guardian’s Harriet Gibsone.
The winner is awarded £25,000 (not that they really need it... If I were them, I would put it in the Mugwumps and Englishmen blog fund).
The full Mercury prize 2017 shortlist is:
- Alt-J - Relaxer
- The Big Moon - Love in the 4th Dimension
- Blossoms - Blossoms
- Loyle Carner - Yesterday’s Gone
- Dinosaur - Together, As One
- Glass Animals - How to Be a Human Being
- J Hus - Common Sense
- Sampha - Process
- Ed Sheeran - ÷
- Stormzy - Gang Signs & Prayer
- Kate Tempest - Let Them Eat Chaos
- The xx - I See You