With the 12 nominations for the Mercury Music prize announced at London’s Hospital Club, we reveal the main contenders.
1. UK INDIE RULES OK
With the majority of the shortlisted artists guitar-wielders and cardigan-wearers (possibly), it was left to rapper-turned-filmstar Plan B – joint favourite for the award – folk-soul newcomers Lianne La Havas, Michael Kiwanuka and Jessie Ware, and token jazz/world nominee Roller Trio to fly the flag for other genres.
2. JESSIE IS WARE SHE BELONGS
After an Olympic-sized overdose of Jessie of the J variety, south London’s Jessie Ware (as featured in Net-A-Porter’s June 2012 New Music issue) is a welcome antidote, her vivid live performance leaving the gathered press in no doubt of the immense promise shown in her seductive debut album.
3. THE XX LEFT IT LATE… TOO LATE
With the overwhelmingly anticipated second album coming out just two days before the nominations were cast, the XX’s marketing team missed a trick here. Not that Coexist needs the uplift in album sales the Mercury Prize gives, but it would nonetheless have been a shoe-in to sit atop the list come November.
4. LAUREN LAVERNE IS THE NATION’S SELF-ANOINTED CULTURE QUEEN
Although not to everyone’s taste, the former Kenickie singer turned Culture Show anchor further cemented her place as Britain’s go-to girl for cultural commentary, her amiable charm and cheeky wit adding a human edge to the otherwise oh-so-slick proceedings.
5. MICHAEL KIWANUKA ‘NEEDS SOME GOOD LOVIN…’
The second live performance of the evening was owned by the BBC’s Sound Of 2012 winner Mr Kiwanuka. The dapper soul singer has the silky voice and ear for a melody that – although an outside bet for the overall prize – that will win over those hearts and minds he hasn’t already conquered.
IT’S HARD TO PLEASE EVERYONE…
Notable artists missing out on a nomination (apart from the XX) include Kate Bush, Florence, Laura Marling, Hot Chip, Kindness, Wiley and Coldplay all failing to make the list. The secretive cast of judges remain anonymous…
The list in full and listen below!
Alt-J ‘An Awesome Wave’
Ben Howard ‘Every Kingdom’
Django Django ‘Django Django’
Field Music ‘Plumb’
Jessie Ware ‘Devotion’
Lianne La Havas ‘Is Your Love Big Enough?’
Michael Kiwanuka ‘Home Again’
The Maccabees ‘Given to the Wild’
Plan B ‘Ill Manors’
Richard Hawley ‘Standing at the Sky’s Edge’
Roller Trio ‘Roller Trio’
Sam Lee ‘Ground of its Own’