Wolf Alice, Sault, Floating Points & Pharoah Sanders Among 2021 Mercury Prize Nominees
Once a year, the British Phonographic Industry And British Association Of Record Dealers picks one outstanding album from the UK or Ireland and awards it the Mercury Prize. There’s been a great deal of ceremony around the Mercury Prize ever since its 1992 inception, and while the prize has certainly gone in some unexpected directions over the years, the people in charge have recognized a handful of serious classics. (Last year, Michael Kiwanuka won for KIWANUKA, beating out stars like Dua Lipa, Stormzy, and Charli XCX.) The Mercury Prize overlords have just unveiled the 10 nominees for this year’s prize — a pool that’s grown since Rina Sawayama led an effort to expand eligibility last year. As ever, this year’s nominees are a diverse bunch, and it’s tough to imagine who might win.
This year’s list of nominees has rock bands, including Black Country, New Road and previous winners Wolf Alice, as well as Scottish pots-rock veterans Mogwai, who have somehow never been nominated before. Genre-agnostic singers like Laura Mvula, Celeste, and Arlo Parks are all up for the award, and the list of nominees also includes the electronic producer Hannah Peel, the rapper Ghetts, and the jazz saxophonist Nubya Garcia.
But the two heavyweights in the field might be the toughest to categorize. The shadowy and mysterious group Sault are nominated for Untitled (Rise), and the unconventional team of producer Floating Points, jazz legend Pharoah Sanders, and the London Symphony Orchestra are recognized for their collaborative LP Promises. Check out the full list of nominees below.
Arlo Parks – Collapsed In Sunbeams
Berwyn – Demotape/Vega
Black Country, New Road – For The First Time
Celeste – Not Your Muse
Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders and the London Symphony Orchestra – Promises
Ghetts – Conflict Of Interest
Hannah Peel – Fir Wave
Laura Mvula – Pink Noise
Mogwai – As The Love Continues
Nubya Garcia – Source
Sault – Untitled (Rise)
Wolf Alice – Blue Weekend
The list of British artists who released albums in the past year but who didn’t make the shortlist includes Paul McCartney, IDLES, Dry Cleaning, Sons Of Kemet, Leon Vynehall, Slowthai, Black Midi, Danny L Harle, Squid, Beabadoobee, Shirley Collins, Shame, Headie One, and Roísín Murphy. This year’s winner will be announced at an awards ceremony that goes doen 9/9 at London’s Eventim Apollo.