Mercury Prize 2020: Feminine artists lead nominations for the first time

This twelve months’s nominees encompass (clockwise from top left): Dua Lipa, Charli XCX, Kano, Stormzy, Laura Marling, Michael Kiwanuka and Georgia

For the first time in its 29-twelve months historical previous, female artists and female-fronted bands bear outnumbered males on the shortlist for the Mercury Prize.

Among the many nominees for album of the twelve months are Charli XCX’s lockdown venture How I’m Feeling Now and Dua Lipa’s pop opus Future Nostalgia.

“I by no components in point of fact thought this would possibly perchance ever happen to me,” talked about Lipa. “Per chance I correct didn’t recount I changed into cool adequate.”

The nominees had been announced are residing on Lauren Laverne’s 6 Music remark.

A total of seven female or female-fronted acts made the 2020 shortlist. The previous very most practical total changed into five.

Pop takeover

Not like last twelve months’s checklist, which highlighted political lyrics and post-Brexit punk, this twelve months’s alternative champions pop – a genre the Prize has tended to brush aside since the 1990s, when acts esteem Exhaust That and the Spice GIrls got nominations.

Dua Lipa’s Future Nostalgia and Georgia’s Looking out for Thrills are every exuberant hymns to hedonism, while Charli XCX brings reducing-edge manufacturing tactics to her pop melodies, on an album recorded in six weeks first and most main of the lockdown.

“This album changed into esteem therapy to me,” the singer told BBC 6 Music. “It changed into a exact emotional open. I obvious once quarantine began that I would possibly perchance perchance no longer in point of fact take a seat aloof, and I needed to provide one thing for my have half of thoughts.

“I in point of fact feel honoured to bear my miniature corner of experimental pop tune be recognised.”

If Charli, Dua or Georgia take, it would possibly perchance perchance most likely perchance perchance be the first time a pop file has earned the £25,000 prize since M Folk’s Honest Slumming in 1994.

Media captionDave introduced his mum on stage as he won the 2019 Mercury prize

UK rap continues to bear a exact presence on the checklist, with returning nominees Stormzy and Kano hoping to replicate the success of last twelve months’s winner, Dave.

Their albums every take care of the experiences and prejudices going thru younger Shadowy Britons, a topic which moreover informs Moses Boyd’s freewheeling jazz file, Darkish Subject.

And about a Mercury favourites moreover assemble an look: Laura Marling racks up her fourth nomination for the natty, melodic Song For Our Daughter; while Michael Kiwanuka turns into segment of an elite neighborhood who’ve been nominated for every of their first three albums – the others being Coldplay and Anna Calvi.

A few lesser-identified acts moreover seem on the checklist, including Newcastle indie band Lanterns On The Lake, whose singer Hazel Wilde is at this time maintaining down a segment-time job at Newcastle College this potential that of she makes so miniature cash from tune.

Wilde told the BBC “it by no components crossed my thoughts” that she’s going to bear got a nomination. “After I told the leisure of the band, the next morning we had been all texting every diverse, checking it wasn’t a dream.”

She talked about she hoped the profile-boost from the Mercury Prize would allow the neighborhood to assemble tune “full time and assemble a residing from it”.

This shortlist eschews some well-known British albums from the previous 12 months: with files by The 1975, Harry Styles pop newcomer Rina Sawayama and FKA Twigs all having been tipped as seemingly nominees.

The winner will most seemingly be announced at on Thursday, 10 September, with organisers aloof hoping to stage an award ceremony at London’s Hammersmith Apollo, relying on coronavirus programs.

Read about all 12 of this twelve months’s nominees under.

Anna Meredith – Fibs

Scottish composer Anna Meredith has been a composer-in-space with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, made tune for park benches in Hong Kong, opened the first night of the Proms with a half commemorating the discontinue of World Battle 1, and created orchestral arrangements for Laura Marling and Sigur Ros.

The songs on her 2d solo album, Fibs, are in perpetual circulation, skipping deftly between moods and sounds, whether or no longer she’s layering up arpeggiated synths, thrashing a hair steel guitar, or making “bangery pop pop” on the elegaic Inhale Exhale.

The critics assert: “It be a frankly overwhelming hear first time spherical, with all the pieces tearing along at a hundred miles an hour, nonetheless it is all fizzing and crackling so exhilaratingly that you just’re pleased to let her sweep you along.” [DIY Magazine]

Have in mind of this: Inhale Exhale

Charli XCX – How I’m Feeling Now

“Staying traipse goes hand in hand with being inventive,” talked about Charli XCX, asserting that she supposed to write and file an album from scratch at some level of the Covid-19 lockdown.

Six weeks later, How I’m Feeling Now emerged, fusing her pop melodies with fidgety electronic manufacturing. Understandably, it simmers with dismay and stress – however moreover finds space to celebrate the relationship that sustained Charli thru self-isolation.

“I invent no longer know why I have not made an album esteem this before’,” she told the BBC. “It be so fun and nice to work esteem this.”

The critics talked about: “Whereas no longer lifestyles-altering, How I’m Feeling Now would possibly perchance perchance be fun, speedily and totally listenable. It be appealing as a doc from a out of the ordinary duration, and its diaristic, vloggy functions provide a sexy leer into artistry below force.” [The Quietus]

Have in mind of this: Claws

Dua Lipa – Future Nostalgia

“I’ve time-travelled fairly a lot on this file,” talked about Dua Lipa of her 2d album, which attracts on 70s disco, 80s exercise-pop and 90s membership jams.

The retro-futuristic sound changed into a deliberate step a long way from her debut album, as Lipa resisted the force to assemble a “New Tips Pt. II” and revisited the tune that inspired her, increasing up in London and Kosovo.

The is almost defiantly pleased – a sweat-glistened hymn to the dancefloor that cements her spot as Britain’s top pop essential person.

The critics talked about: “A breathtakingly fun, cohesive and plucky try to get a local for disco in 2020.” [Rolling Stone]

Have in mind of this: Rep no longer Originate Now

Georgia – Looking out for Thrills

Rising up, Georgia Barnes’ bed room doubled as a recording studio for dance mavericks and two-time Mercury nominees Leftfield. “It changed into keyboards, drum machines, wires, bits of percussion, microphones,” talked about the singer, whose father changed into the band’s producer Neil Barnes.

She began taking half in a form of drum machines when she changed into five, and her treasure of rhythm permeates her propulsive 2d album, Looking out for Thrills.

Devour Dua Lipa’s file, Looking out for Thrills is a euphoric tribute to dancefloor deliverance. Or, to use Georgia’s have words, “ultrasound mild, consumed by night”.

The critics talked about: “It be a spectacularly physical and stressed album… The embodiment of what it components to near support alive on the dancefloor.” [Popmatters]

Have in mind of this: Never Let You Crawl

Kano – Hoodies All Summer season

One of many legends of grime’s first wave, Kano’s fifth album, Made In The Manor, landed him a Mercury nomination in 2017.

His sixth file is, if anything, sharper and extra centered – a lean, 10-music leer of social and racial injustice, that addresses all the pieces from knife crime and Windrush to gentrification and, crucially, the importance of just correct situations.

“I in point of fact feel esteem we’re resilient folks and there is continually room for a smile and to celebrate the miniature wins and the astronomical wins,” he told Apple Music.

The critics talked about: “Here is the album grime has been crying out for.” [The Telegraph]

Have in mind of this: Can’t Preserve We Down

Lanterns On The Lake – Spook The Herd

On their atmospheric fourth album, Newcastle’s Lanterns On The Lake disclose about environmental crisis, web extremism, social media dependancy and bereavement.

Rep no longer in finding now,” sings Hazel Wilde on the gap music, “Here near the baddies/ On a wave of disapprove.”

The issues are urgent and occasionally upsetting, however Wilde infuses her lyrics with empathy, exploring how compassion would possibly perchance perchance bring us from catastrophe.

The tune is a balm, too, with vivid guitars and dreamy soundscapes that design you deeper with every hear.

The critics talked about: “A spectacular, rich and luscious album that many listeners will bear etched into their minds and hearts forever.” [Music OMH]

Have in mind of this: Each and every Atom

Laura Marling – Song For Our Daughter

Laura Marling’s seventh album changed into inspired by Maya Angelou’s e-book, Letter to My Daughter – a chain of essays to a younger generation of girls folks, filled with knowledge and lessons in compassion and fortitude.

Marling is moreover passing down some hard-won knowledge. “Cease alone, be plucky,” she sings on Odd Girl. Later, on For You, she advises: “Devour will not be any longer the acknowledge / However the motorway that marks the open.”

For an artist who’s frequently hidden within the support of characters and metaphor, it is her most simple file but, filled with rich string arrangements and melodic Laurel Canyon harmonies, and earning the singer her fourth Mercury nomination.

The critics talked about: “Marling’s seventh solo LP has the clarity, mastery and silent energy of a folks-rock classic.” [Q Magazine]

Have in mind of this: Odd Girl

Michael Kiwanuka – Kiwanuka

Michael Kiwanuka joins rarefied company, as simplest the third artist to accumulate a Mercury nomination for every of their first three albums (the others being Coldplay and Anna Calvi).

Despite that music file, his latest album emerged from a duration of crippling self-doubt. “I’ve continually had imposter syndrome,” he told the BBC last twelve months. “I changed into continually looking ahead to someone to get me out and crawl, ‘You’re no longer in actuality that just correct and it is all going to fall apart’.”

After conquering his demons, Kiwanuka re-emerged with a file that bears his title as a badge of satisfaction and self-perception.

Throughout 13 interwoven tracks, it showcases his abilities as a melodicist and arranger, guidance without danger thru gospel-rock, despair soul and trippy psychedelia – while by no components losing thought of his grace and humanity.

The critics talked about: “Kiwanuka is loaded with memorable songs, however doubtlessly the most simple potential to journey them is by being attentive to the album from expose to enact.” [Uncut]

Have in mind of this: Hero

Moses Boyd – Darkish Subject

Moses Boyd made his title as a drummer, winning two MOBO Awards as segment of the free-jazz duo Binker and Moses.

His solo debut is a foundation-shaking collision of West African and Caribbean rhythms, incorporating ingredients of UK garage and experimental electronica for just correct measure.

Aimed squarely at the dancefloor, it is moreover a subtly political album, written as a response to Windrush, Grenfell and Brexit.

“I didn’t take a seat down to write political songs,” he told All About Jazz, “however I changed into turning on my TV and seeing tower blocks burning and folks being deported [so] I changed into responding to what changed into spherical me. There would possibly be a great deal of darkness.”

The critics talked about: “Cool, relevant, and worrying in pulling collectively the threads of London’s frequently disparate musical communities.” [Allmusic]

Have in mind of this: Stranger Than Fiction

Porridge Radio – Each and every Imperfect

I’m bored to loss of life / Let’s argue,” sings Porridge Radio’s singer, songwriter and guitarist Dana Margolin within the gap seconds of the band’s 2d album.

These feelings of frustration and uncertainty seem across your total album, as Margolin makes an try to figure out her space in a world that doesn’t allow space for self-reflection.

The chaos is reflected within the itchy guitar traces and agitated drums, serving to the Brighton-based totally band burn off about a of that apprehensive vitality.

The critics talked about: “Porridge Radio bear no longer simplest written the album of their careers however perchance of the twelve months too.” [Clash]

Have in mind of this: Circling

Sports Group – Deep Down Chuffed

Closing month, Sports Group finished the ideal first-week gross sales for a debut album by a British band in four years, narrowly lacking out on the volume 1 slot after a week-lengthy showdown with Girl Gaga.

It be straightforward to get why: Deep Down Chuffed is a compact, mischievous blast of indie-rock, combining the spirit of Britpop with the scuzzed-up prance of post-punk.

Frontman Alex Rice’s lyrics, within the period in-between, decide a sardonic in finding at heart England – “I wanna be a lawyer, or someone who hunts foxes,” he sneers on Lander – inserting them alongside previous Mercury-winners Pulp and Arctic Monkeys, albeit with the added privilege of a Cambridge education.

The critics talked about: “Here is the sound of a band who’re finished being the underdogs.” [NME]

Have in mind of this: Here is The Thing

Stormzy – Heavy Is The Head

Stormzy’s debut won extra than one Brit awards, landed him a headline slot at Glastonbury and established the 26-twelve months-stale as one in all Britain’s most compelling fresh voices.

The force on the put collectively-up changed into indispensable – therefore the title – however the rapper saved a level head and centered on the tune.

The is an eclectic album that caters every to his mainstream target market and the grime scene that built him, without feeling esteem he’s pandering to either.

Certainly, the supposed goal appears to be Stormzy himself. Throughout the album, he questions how to use his popularity – to crush the competition, or elevate his neighborhood? He in total errs in opposition to the latter, looking for humility and forgiveness (particularly from his ex, Maya Jama) while turning to God for guidance.

The critics talked about: “Not simplest is it a drastic step up from his impressive debut, nonetheless it reveals an artist alive to to study himself emotionally, besides to artistically.”

Have in mind of this: Crown

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