Mercury Prize 2022: Harry Styles, Self Esteem and Sam Fender competing for album award

Sam Fender, Little Simz, and Harry Styles are among the artists shortlisted for the 2022 Mercury Prize.

The shortlist was unveiled in July, comprising 12 albums – from rap and jazz to indie and Cornish folk-rock – that will compete for the coveted award at a ceremony held this September.

This year’s entries are among the most eclectic in recent years. Little Simz is shortlisted for the second time with her critically adored Sometimes I Might Be Introvert, following on from her nod in 2019 for GREY Area.

Rock singer Sam Fender receives his debut nomination for his second LP, Seventeen Going Under, as does pop star Harry Styles, who has been shortlisted for his third studio album, Harry’s House. His record is arguably the most “pure pop” album to be shortlisted since Ed Sheeran’s controversial nomination in 2017.

First-time nominees make up most of this year’s nominees, following last year’s shortlist which included 10 debuts. Artist Kojey Radical is shortlisted for his first full-length record, Reasons to Smile, while rock duo Nova Twins are up for their second album, Supernova, and Joy Crookes is included thanks to her debut, Skin. The debuts from indie bands Wet Leg and Yard Act have also been shortlisted.

Singer-songwriter Gwenno’s third record, Tresor, which is performed almost entirely in Cornish, completes the shortlist, along with Scottish jazz pianist Fergus McCreadie’s Forest Floor, and For All Our Days That Tear the Heart, a collaborative project between Irish actor-singer Jessie Buckley and Suede musician Bernard Butler.

See the full shortlist below:

Forest Floor – Fergus McCreadie

Tresor – Gwenno

Harry’s House – Harry Styles

For All Our Days That Tear the Heart – Jessie Buckley & Bernard Butler

Skin – Joy Crookes

Reason to Smile – Kojey Radical

Sometimes I Might be Introvert – Little Simz

Supernova – Nova Twins

Seventeen Going Under – Sam Fender

Prioritise Pleasure – Self Esteem

Wet Leg – Wet Leg

The Overload – Yard Act

“Getting down to 12 albums this year was not easy, simply because there were so many remarkable ones to choose from,” the Mercury Prize judges said in a statement.

“That serves as proof that British and Irish music thrives during unsettled periods in history, with the albums chosen covering everything from imaginative pop to pioneering rap to Cornish language folk-rock.

“We feel that these 12 amazing albums each have something to say artistically and socially, all in their own unique, enriching ways. Now comes the really hard part... choosing only one overall winner.”

Arlo Parks with her trophy for the 2021 Mercury Prize (PA)
Arlo Parks with her trophy for the 2021 Mercury Prize (PA)

The Independent’s critic Helen Brown gave Little Simz’s Sometimes I Might Be Introvert five stars upon its release in September 2021, describing it as “the most thrilling album of the year”. Seventeen Going Under by Sam Fender was commended for showcasing a more refined sound to his debut, while continuing to delve into themes such as social inequality and mental health. Writing for The Independent, critic Annabel Nugent praised Self Esteem for her “gum-snapping, foot-stomping pop record”.

The Mercury Prize aims to recognise “artistic achievement across a range of contemporary music genres”. The shortlist was out together by an independent judging panel that includes: Anna Calvi – Musician & Songwriter; Annie MacManus – Broadcaster & DJ; Danielle Perry – Broadcaster & Writer; Hazel Wilde (from Lanterns on the Lake) - Musician & Songwriter; Jamie Cullum - Musician & Broadcaster; Jamz Supernova – Broadcaster & DJ; Jeff Smith - Head of Music, 6 Music & Radio 2; Lea Stonhill – Music Programmer, Radio X; Loyle Carner – Musician & Songwriter; Phil Alexander – Creative Director, Kerrang!/Contributing Editor, Mojo; Tshepo Mokoena – Music Writer & Author; Will Hodgkinson - Chief Rock & Pop Critic, The Times. The Chair of the judging panel is Jeff Smith.

Last year’s award went to indie artist Arlo Parks for her debut album Collapsed in Sunbeams, beating competition from artists including Wolf Alice, Mogwai, and Celeste.

The 2022 Mercury Prize will be held tonight (Thursday 8 Sepember) at the Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith, London.

Tickets are available at