What you need to know about the timely new podcast from one of the body positivity movements biggest stars.
Dave was a worthy winner on a night stuffed with bold, chaotic performances and challenging music born of a vital, thrilling scene. Media efforts to galvanise a bit of public interest in this year’s Mercury prize included a newspaper website’s story about bookmakers’ odds that seemed to think the 10/3 favourite was Sampha – who admittedly did win in 2017 but hasn’t actually released an album since – and a baffling broadsheet piece that unappealingly described 2018’s champions Wolf Alice as “archetypal indie introverts … like a Sylvia Plath poetry circle struggling to be heard over a Pixies tribute act”, but somehow still concluded “they were worthy winners”. There seems to have been general agreement, however, that this year’s shortlist was the first in history to be dominated by music of a sociopolitical bent. This might have been a conscious decision on the part of the judging panel: an attempt to suggest a new vitality and relevance in an award ceremony that seems to have spent recent years relinquishing whatever grip it once had on the nation’s imagination. Whatever the reason, it worked. The awards show itself, normally an hour-long televisual bore that invariably manages to make a lot of genuinely worthwhile artists look substantially less interesting than they actually are, this year felt genuinely unpredictable and exciting. It’s hard to remember a Mercury show with that many performances that seemed unbridled, powerful and chaotic – from Idles to Fontaines DC to Black Midi – and it’s harder still to recall the last time TV directors had to cut away from a Mercury prize performance for fear of causing offence, as happened with rapper Slowthai, who appeared on stage brandishing an effigy of Boris Johnson’s severed head. It says something about how potent his fellow nominees’ performances were that Dave’s Psychodrama seemed like a safe choice: no spitting, no flailing guitar noise, no chants of “fuck Boris”. But it really isn’t a safe choice: the 21-year-old’s debut is anything but the kind of comfortable listen you could play in the background of a dinner party, something in which the Mercury has specialised in the past. Heard in the context of the Radio One playlist, its lead single Black – a thoughtful but provocative examination of race in modern-day Britain – sounded like a bomb going off: it provoked so many complaints from listeners that the station’s DJs felt impelled to publicly defend its place on the playlist. The album’s centrepiece, Lesley, spends 11 compelling but extremely harrowing minutes depicting an abusive relationship and its horrific fallout. Elsewhere, the album deals unflinchingly with mental illness and the story of the rapper’s older brother, currently serving a life sentence for his involvement in the murder of Sofyen Belamouadden at Victoria Station in 2010. As complex and challenging a piece of work as the British rap renaissance has produced, it is precisely the kind of thing the Mercury should be championing. Moreover, it won in a year when watching the Mercury prize made British and Irish music seem alive and thrilling, angry and vital: something the Mercury hasn’t done in years.
Rapper Slowthai held up a model of Boris Johnson's severed head as he performed at Thursday night's Mercury Prize ceremony.The 24-year-old shouted: "F*** Boris Johnson! F*** everything! And there ain't nothing Great about Britain!" – a reference to the name of his award-nominated album 'Nothing Great About Britain'.
Patti Smith isn’t usually one to lose her composure on stage – in fact, she says it has only happened to her twice, each time in circumstances involving Bob Dylan.Smith shared the anecdote while discussing her inclusion in Martin Scorsese’s documentary Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story, which chronicles Dylan’s Seventies tour of the same name, with Variety.
Dave has been announced as the winner of this year’s Mercury Prize 2019.The Streatham, London-born rapper received the award for his debut album Psychodrama, which was released on 8 March 2019.
The singer has used a Rolling Stone interview to explain her pro-Democratic politics and disavow her adoption by the far right. After years of keeping herself at a largely indifferent remove, Taylor Swift has elaborated on her political ideology in a new interview with Rolling Stone. Harkening back to the perceived better times of the Obama years, Swift said, among other things, that she regrets not getting more involved in the 2016 election, and the way her allegiances or lack thereof have been manipulated by bad actors. For years her reluctance to stake out a claim one way or the other made her something of a useful political totem, including, notably, when neo-Nazis and alt-right trolls adopted her as an Aryan ideal. “Firstly, Taylor Swift is a pure Aryan goddess, like something out of classical Greek poetry. Athena reborn,” Andre Anglin of the white supremacist blog the Daily Stormer wrote in 2016. The admiration is not mutual, although Swift clarified she was not aware of her adoption for the racist cause at the time. “There’s literally nothing worse than white supremacy. It’s repulsive. There should be no place for it,” she told Rolling Stone. Now she’s trying to learn as much as she can about politics, calling it something she’s become obsessed with. “I was living in this sort of political ambivalence, because the person I voted for had always won,” she explained, echoing the thoughts of many liberals who never felt obliged to pay attention before the Trump era. “We were in such an amazing time when Obama was president because foreign nations respected us. We were so excited to have this dignified person in the White House. My first election was voting for him when he made it into office, and then voting to re-elect him. I think a lot of people are like me, where they just didn’t really know that this could happen.” Now she’s focused on the 2020 election, she said, hoping that her involvement might help more than it hurts the Democrats’ cause. “I also don’t want it to backfire again, because I do feel that the celebrity involvement with Hillary’s campaign was used against her in a lot of ways,” she said. In 2012 she told Time magazine that she didn’t “talk about politics because it might influence other people”, and that she didn’t think she knew “enough yet in life to be telling people who to vote for”. Then in 2018 she had surprisingly come out for Phil Bredesen, candidate for Senate, and Jim Cooper for the US House in her home state of Tennessee. Bredesen would ultimately lose, but Cooper, who won, said Swift’s endorsement was like “manna from heaven” and called it “one of the great honors” of his life in an interview with the Associated Press. At the time of the endorsements many of her fans on the right said she had made a huge mistake career-wise. Donald Trump said he now liked her music “about 25% less”. Lest any voters on the left think it’s now safe to adopt Swift into their ranks, as of now she maintains the ideology of a centrist Democrat. “I do think, as a party, we need to be more of a team,” she said. “With Republicans, if you’re wearing that red hat, you’re one of them. And if we’re going to do anything to change what’s happening, we need to stick together. We need to stop dissecting why someone’s on our side or if they’re on our side in the right way or if they phrased it correctly. We need to not have the right kind of Democrat and the wrong kind of Democrat. We need to just be like, ‘You’re a Democrat? Sick. Get in the car. We’re going to the mall.’”