The shortlist was selected by a panel of music industry experts, fellow artists and radio presenters, including new judges Anna Calvi and Gemma Cairney.
Last year’s Mercury Prize was won by rapper Dave for his album Psychodrama, which was praised by judges for showing “remarkable levels of musicianship, true artistry, courage, honesty”. This year’s ceremony will take place on 10 September.
Here is the full shortlist:
Anna Meredith – FIBS
Charli XCX – how i’m feeling now
Dua Lipa – Future Nostalgia
Georgia – Seeking Thrills
Kano – Hoodies All Summer
Lanterns on the Lake – Spook the Herd
Laura Marling – Song for Our Daughter
Michael Kiwanuka – KIWANUKA
Moses Boyd – Dark Matter
Porridge Radio – Every Bad
Sports Team – Deep Down Happy
Stormzy – Heavy is the Head
Anna Meredith is the first name on the Mercury Prize shortlist for her album FIBS. It was released in October 2019 and was described by The Independent as “as a much-needed creative force” where Meredith’s “shape-shifting genre-defiance constantly surprises and intrigues”.
Charli XCX’s shortlisted how i’m feeling now is a product of lockdown. The album, which was described by the singer as a “do-it-yourself” project made in collaboration with her fans, was created in the span of five weeks during April and May and was released a week later to critical acclaim. The Independent gave the album a four-star review, calling it “a brash, adventurous lockdown album”.
Dua Lipa’s disco-inspired Future Nostalgia is next up on the list, an album described as “pure sonic spandex” in The Independent’s five-star review. Featuring hit singles “Don’t Start Now”, “Break My Heart” and “Physical”, it marked a new sound for the British singer, who released her self-titled debut album in 2017.
Seeking Thrills, the second studio album by singer Georgia is next on the Mercury Prize shortlist. The dancefloor-filling album draws inspiration from the Chicago house and Detroit techno scenes of the 1980s and was released in January. It includes singles “Started Out” and “About Work the Dancefloor”.
Grime musician Kano earns his second nomination for 2019 album Hoodies All Summer. The 10-track LP features collaborations with artists including D Double and Ghetts and received widespread critical acclaim. It’s been a busy year for the rapper, who also reprised his role as Sully in Netflix’s Top Boy revival.
Spook the Herd, the fourth studio album from British rock group Lanterns on the Lake, tackles issues surrounding politics, social media, addiction, grief and the climate crisis. It is the band’s first release in five years, following on from 2015’s Beings.
Singer-songwriter Laura Marling has scored her fourth Mercury Prize nomination for Song for Our Daughter, which was released in April 2020 after being pulled forward due to the coronavirus pandemic. Marling was inspired by Maya Angelou’s Letters to my Daughter to address the record, her seventh studio album, to an imaginary child. The Independent gave the album a five-star review, describing the songs as “fragmented and beautiful as stained glass”.
Released in 2019, Michael Kiwanuka’s self-titled third album has earned the English singer his second Mercury Prize nomination, following the success of 2012’s Home Again. KIWANUKA received a four-star review from The Independent and was listed at number 18 on our best albums of 2019 ranking.
Moses Boyd gains his first Mercury Prize nomination for his first album Dark Matter, a record marking his solo debut as both a producer and bandleader. While Boyd is a jazz musician by trade, the record draws on influence from a variety of genres, including grime and rock and was critically revered.
Brighton-based indie rock group Porridge Radio have been nominated for debut record Everybody Bad, an album described by The Independent as “a relinquishing of whatever it is that keeps us from baring our souls, and an unleashing of frustration at how, like children riding a carousel, we’re all just going round in circles”.
One of the latest releases on this list, Deep Down Happy is the charming and humorous debut album from alt-rock group Sports Team. Released in June, it quickly rose up the charts, only to be kept from the top spot by the all-encompassing power of Lady Gaga’s Chromatica, but received critical acclaim, with The Independent saying that the album was “full of charm and unpredictability”.
After a couple of years that have seen him get his first number one single, headline Glastonbury and start his own publishing house, Stormzy receives his second Mercury Prize nomination for Heavy is the Head. A worthy-follow up to 2017’s Gang Signs & Prayer, it sees the rapper collaborate with the likes of Ed Sheeran, Burna Boy and Aitch and features singles “Vossi Bop”, “Crown” and “Own It”.
The Mercury Prize winner will be announced on The One Show, which begins on BBC One at 7pm.