Mercury Music Prize

Mercury Music Prize: In Defence of Young Fathers


Young Fathers Mercury Music Prize

It wasn't quite the token jazz act winning the award, and it wasn't quite Speech Debelle but there were audible gasps inside London's Roundhouse when Edinburgh-based hip-hop band Young Fathers were announced as the winner of the Mercury Music Prize on Wednesday (October 29, 2014). 

Young FathersYoung Fathers' Dead won Scottish Album of the Year in June

Music fans and journalists had expected the winner of the annual prize to be a straight tussle between FKA Twigs and Kate Tempest, though Young Fathers - whose album Dead was heralded by the music press upon release - was the surprise name on Nick Grimshaw's lips.

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Young Fathers Win The Mercury Music Prize


Mercury Music Prize Young Fathers

Scottish trio Young Fathers have won this year’s Mercury Music Prize. Their debut album DEAD received the final nod from the judges when the announcement was made by Nick Grimshaw at London’s iconic Roundhouse venue on Wednesday evening.

Young Fathers Mercury prize
Young Fathers won the Mercury Music Prize on Wednesday

When the group was interviewed by More4’s Alice Levine a matter of seconds after scooping the prize, the members sounded rather shocked and lost for words, stating “it’s positive”. Their acceptance speech was similarly abrupt, simply saying “thank you, we love you, we love you all, thank you”. When asked what they intended to do with their £20,000 prize, the group’s ‘G’ Hastings implied that they hadn’t really considered the eventuality of winning it.

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Picture - Tahliah Barnett - Photographs from... London United Kingdom, Wednesday 29th October 2014

Tahliah Barnett - Photographs from the 2014 Barclaycard Mercury Prize which Edinburgh based Hip-Hop band 'Young Fathers' took away the nights main award at The Roundhouse in London, United Kingdom - Wednesday 29th October 2014

Young Fathers
William Doyle
William Doyle
William Doyle
William Doyle

FKA Twigs Favourite to Win Mercury Music Prize as Bookies Pray for Upset


FKA Twigs Kate Tempest Mercury Music Prize

Bookmakers will be hoping for a surprise result at the Mercury Music Prize on Wednesday night (October 29, 2014) as punters continue to back favourites FKA Twigs and Kate Tempest. The latest odds have the former as the narrow frontrunner at 5/2, with Brockley-born singer-songwriter Tempest available at 3/1 for her album Everybody Down.

FKA TwigsFKA Twigs remains the favourite to win the Mercury Music Prize tonight

FKA Twigs' record LP1 is one of the year's most critically acclaimed records, though Tempest's foray into hip-hop has seen her selected by the Poetry Book Society as one of the 20 next generation poets. She also won the Ted Hughes award for her work Brand New Ancients.

Continue reading: FKA Twigs Favourite to Win Mercury Music Prize as Bookies Pray for Upset

Our Guide To This Year's Mercury Music Prize Nominations


Mercury Music Prize Damon Albarn Royal Blood Bombay Bicycle Club FKA Twigs East India Youth Young Fathers Kate Tempest Anna Calvi Nick Mulvey

The 24th edition of the annual Barclaycard Mercury Prize is due to be held on Wednesday 29th October at London’s Roundhouse.

Last week we brought you our analysis of who we thought would make the dozen-strong shortlist from which the judges will pick the eventual winner. We got five out of the twelve correct, not bad as many pundits have expressed surprise at the relative obscurity of this year’s list in comparison to previous awards.

Only two of the nominated albums have reached the Number 1 spot in the UK Albums Chart, and only one nominee can realistically call himself a household name. There has also been a surprising snub for Sam Smith, who has made a huge impression on the British public’s imagination, with his debut album In The Lonely Hour sitting at the top the charts four months after its release.

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East India Youth is Smart Bet For 'Mercury Music Awards' 2014


Damon Albarn East India Youth Kate Tempest Mercury Music Prize

The debut solo album from Damon Albarn has been nominated for the Barclaycard Mercury Music Prize 2014. The list of nominees - better than last year but still mostly uninspiring - also includes Kate Tempest, Royal Blood and Nick Mulvey. Hilariously, the Independent reports on Ed Sheeran and Lily Allen "missing out".

Damon AlbarnDamon Albarn is nominated for 'Everyday Robots'

This year's list of nominees also includes Anna Calvi, One Breath, Bombay Bicycle Club, So Long, See You Tomorrow, FKA Twigs, LP1, GoGo Penguin, v2.0, Jungle, Jungle, Polar Bear, In Each and Every One, Young Fathers, Dead.

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Our Picks For The Mercury Nominations


Mercury Music Prize

The nominations for the Mercury Music Prize are set to be announced tomorrow afternoon. Twelve artists who have released albums between 10 September 2013 and 8 September 2014 will be selected by the panel of ten judges representing the British music industry.

Ed Sheeran
Ed Sheeran could score a first Mercury nomination to add to his runaway commercial success

Every year there are selections from way out of left field, and deserved nominees who suffer injustice. So, ahead of the big reveal tomorrow, here are Contactmusic.com’s picks for the 2014 shortlist, a combination of ‘who we think should be nominated’ and ‘who we think will actually be nominated’.

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Halt-J? No Way - Mercury Winners Alt-J Will Continue Despite Gwil Sainsbury Exit


Alt-J Mercury Music Prize

In an unexpected shakeup of one of 2013’s most talked-about bands, Gwil Sainsbury left Alt-J following their Mercury win; but that doesn’t mean the end for the now-three-piece formed in Leeds back in 2007, as they’ve stated their intention to soldier on.

Alt-JThe then-four-piece Alt-J at the Q Awards 2012

The band announced the founder and bassist’s departure on Twitter, posting: “With regret, Gwil is leaving alt-J. This is purely a personal decision and as our best friend we support him completely,” on the 11th of January.

Continue reading: Halt-J? No Way - Mercury Winners Alt-J Will Continue Despite Gwil Sainsbury Exit

Is Laura Mvula The Winner of The Mercury Music Prize 2013?


Laura Mvula Arctic Monkeys Foals Mercury Music Prize David Bowie

Laura Mvula's debut albumSing To The Moon, one of the contenders for the BBC Sound of 2013 title, could claim a far more lucrative and career-defining prize at London's Roundhouse tonight.

Laura MvulaLaura Mvula Is The Favourite For the Barclaycard Mercury Music Prize

For weeks, Disclosure's Settle has been the bookmakers' favorite to win the Barclaycard sponsored prize and £20,000 prize money, though on Wednesday Mvula's impressive record - a fusion of jazz, pop and even orchestral elements- was cut to just 4/6 with most bookies. Paddy Power are still holding strong with even money odds, but there's been an undeniable shift in who the bookmakers believe will win the Mercury Music Prize, presented by Lauren Laverne tonight.

Continue reading: Is Laura Mvula The Winner of The Mercury Music Prize 2013?

"God Help Them" - Is Kevin Shields Right About The Mercury Music Prize?


My Bloody Valentine Kevin Shields Mercury Music Prize

Kevin Shields, the singer and guitarist with the influential shoegaze band My Bloody Valentine, has accused the Mercury Music Prize of "banning" his band's music from consideration for the award. 

Sheilds' band were left off this year's shortlist - announced on Thursday (September 12, 2013) - in favour of a slew of more commercial acts including the Arctic Monkeys, Jake Bugg, Laura Mvula and Rudimental. The move angered the legendary guitarist who claimed his group were being ignored for self-releasing their last album and bypassing Apple, Amazon and the major record deals.

"Isn't Mercury a phone company or something, anyway? What's that got to do with music?" Shields said in an exclusive interview with The Guardian, "We're banned by them, and do you know why? Because we're not on Amazon or iTunes. That's one of the qualifying criteria. You have to have major distribution or be on iTunes or Amazon."

Continue reading: "God Help Them" - Is Kevin Shields Right About The Mercury Music Prize?

To No One's Surprise, Alt-J Win The Mercury Prize!


Alt-J Mercury Music Prize

Congrats to the Scotch quartet, Alt-J! The alternative indie act have pretty much been the favourite for the prize since the nominations were released, and now they have proven all their backers right. 

Despite having been around since 2007, forming when they met at Leeds University, Alt-J have steadily risen to success with little fan-fair but plenty of talent. 2012 really seems to have been their year, with the release of their first major studio album, 'An Awesome Wave', which is the record that has just won The Mercury Prize. Despite it not charting higher than number 18 in any country, the judges for the prize disregarded this and consider it to be an exemplary specimen of British music. Despite the album title sounding like something to come out of the mouth of a dread-locked Californian clad in tye-die, their album really is rather British. With driving riffs, complex lyricism and a shoe-gazy atmosphere, theirs is an accumulation of the sounds that have dominated the alternative music scene over the past few of years.

Speaking to the Guardian in August this year, Alt-J's keyboardist, Gus Unger-Hamilton said: "We've got this far with pretty much nobody knowing anything about us". With this accolade under their belts this apparent anonymity will be short lived.

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