The 2021 Hyundai Mercury Prize has announced its shortlist, which this year is dominated by first-time nominations.
This year’s prize champions three chart-topping albums from Wolf Alice, Celeste, and Mogwai, alongside leftfield artists such as Nubya Garcia, Berwyn, and Sault.
The shortlist features a range of genres as usual, with a mix of jazz, classical, and pop making the cut, but it again fails to put forward any metal or heavy rock albums. Other artists to make the cut include Brit winner, Arlo Parks, veteran grime artist, Ghetts, and the math rock band Black Country, New Road, whom all charted with a top five UK album this year.
Also on the shortlist is Laura Mvula’s Pink Noise released just under four weeks ago, which leads to all three of Mvula’s albums having now being nominated for the prize. Also on the list are producer and composer, Hannah Peel, plus Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders, and the London Symphony Orchestra for their critically acclaimed project, Promises.
Born in Trinidad and living in the UK since he was nine, Berwyn – who does not yet hold a British passport – has taken advantage of the recent rule change to the prize, that allows people who have been resident in the UK or Ireland for more than five years to be eligible. The change was made following a 2020 protest by Rina Sawayama, whose debut album was deemed ineligible because she did not have a British passport.
The VLM successfully predicted four of the shortlisted albums… which is arguable poor, but will soon be redeemed by a spectacular prediction for the overall winner.
You will soon be able to learn more about each of this year’s shortlisted entries here on the Mercury Prize website.
You can view the full shortlist below. The 2021 Awards Show will take place on Thursday, 9 September, at the Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith.
The 2021 Mercury prize shortlist
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