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Mercury Music Prize 2016 Shortlist

Posted on Monday 12th September 2016 at 10:30

Jimi Arundell

Written by
Jimi Arundell

Celebrating its 25th year, The Mercury Music Prize is announced live on BBC Four between 21:00 – 22:00 on Thursday 15th of September. The televised coverage will include live performances by some of the shortlisted acts and will take a look at the history of the illustrious award.

Around 250 of the very best albums released by musicians from the United Kingdom and Ireland over the past year have been whittled down into a shortlist of twelve which includes:

  • Anohni - 'Hopelessness'
  • Bat For Lashes - 'The Bride'
  • David Bowie - 'Blackstar'
  • Jamie Woon - 'Making Time'
  • Kano - 'Made in the Manor'
  • Laura Mvula - 'The Dreaming Room'
  • Michael Kiwanuka - 'Love & Hate'
  • Radiohead - 'A Moon Shaped Pool'
  • Savages - 'Adore Life'
  • Skepta - 'Konnichiwa'
  • The 1975 - 'I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it'
  • The Comet Is Coming - 'Channel the Spirits'


The immediately obvious names on that list are the endlessly creative rock band Radiohead and the dearly departed David Bowie. It is surprising to note that both have received numerous nominations but have yet to win. The death of Bowie earlier this year raises the possibility of the prize being awarded posthumously for the first time. Given the triumph of creating such a magnificent piece of work whilst facing such terribly adversity it does beg the question of how can Bowie not win. And if he does not; just what does it take to win?

We take a look at some of the other likely candidates.



Following the huge success of their debut album Silence Yourself, London based post punk band Savages blasted off 2016 with the release of Adore Life in January. Fronted by French singer Jehnny Beth, the band have engaged in various sonic art projects with the likes of Bo Ningen and are known for their blistering live performances.



Premier British rapper Kano aka Kane Robinson has taken an introspective look at contemporary Britain on his fifth studio album Made In The Manor. His latest record reflects on the growth of grime from the backstreets of East London to mainstream success, national identity and the ever looming threat of inner city violence.


Laura Mvula

The Dreaming Room from sublime singer Laura Mvula is amongst one of the latest releases to be included in this year’s shortlist. The album fuses a huge gospel voice with addictive electronic beats to produce dance tracks with real soul. Mvula shot to the fore after being nominated for the BBC Sound Of 2013 poll and appeared on the soundtrack to the movie 12 Years A Slave.


Michael Kiwanuka

Soul singer Michael Kiwanuka is emerging as a modern great. He posses the rare song writing ability to write compelling music that has depth and captures the popular public imagination which led to his debut album Home Again to become a gold selling album. Shortlisted album Love & Hate was announced with the release of the forceful single Black Man In A White World.


Bat For Lashes

Multi-instrumental singer\songwriter Natasha Khan is better known by her stage name Bat For Lashes and has been previously nominated for the Mercury Prize with her 2007 debut album Fur And Gold. Three albums later and she returns to the shortlist with crucial record The Bride. Exquisitely produced, the depth of her vocal talent is truly revealed on the album.


The outright winner of the final twelve will be decided by an independent panel of judges who will be able to meet in private discussions. This year the panel of judges are:

Phil Alexander - Editor-in-Chief, Kerrang!, Mojo and Q / Clara Amfo – Broadcaster / Jarvis Cocker - Musician and Songwriter / Jamie Cullum - Musician and Broadcaster / Harriet Gibsone - Music News Editor; The Guardian and / Will Hodgkinson - Chief Rock & Pop Critic The Times / Shahid Khan aka Naughty Boy - Musician, Songwriter and Producer / Annie Mac - DJ and Broadcaster / Ellie Rowsell from Wolf Alice - Musician and Songwriter / Kate Tempest - Musician, Poet and Author / Jessie Ware - Musician and Songwriter / Jeff Smith - Head of Music, BBC 6 Music and BBC Radio 2

Check out our blog for more information about The History Of The Mercury Music Prize.









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