Mercury nominations: Where are all the newcomers?
The Mercury Prize has announced this year’s nominees, but despite the prize’s reputation for championing emerging artists, only three debut albums make the cut.
Some of the household names on this year’s shortlist include Arctic Monkeys, Lily Allen and Florence + the Machine.
It is the fourth nomination for Arctic Monkeys – one of the UK’s most successful rock bands – who won the award in 2006 with their acclaimed debut Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not.
The Sheffield rockers are now the second-most nominated act throughout the award’s 26-year-history, only trumped by Radiohead who despite five previous nominations, have never actually taken home the trophy.
Florence + the Machine scored their third Mercury nomination with High As Hope.
Indie bands Everything Everything and Wolf Alice both made the shortlist for the second time.
Singer Lily Allen, who scored her first Mercury nomination with her fourth studio album No Shame, said she hoped the small number of debut albums in the running this year will encourage new acts to make more music.
She said: “When I didn’t get nominated for my first two records when everyone thought I was going to be bookies’ favourite, it just pushed me on to make more music.
“So maybe it is a shame but maybe it will encourage more creativity, which would be a good thing.”
Allen wrote her latest album during the breakdown of her marriage.
Twice nominated when performing in Oasis, guitarist Noel Gallagher received the first nod for his new band – High Flying Birds – for their third album, Who Built The Moon?
Other first time nominees on the list were: Geordie singer-songwriter Nadine Shah, rapper King Krule, jazz group Sons of Kemet, grime MC Novelist and R&B artist Jorja Smith.
Walsall singer Smith won the Critic’s Choice award at this year’s Brits.
A compilation album, put together by producer Richard Russell and featuring last year’s Mercury winner Sampha, has also been nominated.
One “standout omission” noted by several nominees, was London rock band Shame whose debut album Songs Of Praise did not make the list.
Ceremony host Huw Stephens said the lack of debut albums was “not necessarily a bad thing”.
Describing the judges’ task of whittling down over 200 albums to 12, Stephens said: “Previous history doesn’t really matter. It doesn’t matter that Arctic Monkeys are the biggest band in the UK or that Florence has headlined Glastonbury. They listen to the albums on merit.”
The shortlist was selected by a panel of 12 music industry judges, including musicians Jamie Cullum, Marcus Mumford and Ella Eyre, music critics and broadcasters.
We are really proud of our baby Visions of a Life and had a such a weird and wonderful time recording it, it is extremely nice to be nominated for the @MercuryPrize. Thank u! We are absolutely buzzing! Lagers on us tonight xxxxxxxxx pic.twitter.com/MOovpk5d8M
— Wolf Alice (@wolfalicemusic) July 26, 2018
Arctic Monkeys, Florence + the Machine and Gallagher have been highlighted as joint early-favourites by bookmakers William Hill.
The Hyundai Mercury Prize 2018 winner will be announced on 20 September during a ceremony at the Eventim Apollo in London.
Full Mercury Prize 2018 shortlist:
Arctic Monkeys – Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino
Everything Everything – A Fever Dream
Everything Is Recorded – Everything Is Recorded
Florence + The Machine – High As Hope
Jorja Smith – Lost & Found
King Krule – The Ooz
Lily Allen – No Shame
Nadine Shah – Holiday Destination
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Who Built The Moon?
Novelist – Novelist Guy
Sons of Kemet – Your Queen Is A Lizard
Wolf Alice – Visions of a Life
Source: Sky News – Entertainment