Glamour

Mercury nominations: Where are all the newcomers?

The Mercury Prize has announced this year’s nominees, but despite the prize’s reputation for championing emerging artists, only three debut albums make the cut.

Some of the household names on this year’s shortlist include Arctic Monkeys, Lily Allen and Florence + the Machine.

Arctic Monkeys are the second-most nominated act in the history of the awards
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Arctic Monkeys are the second-most nominated act in the history of the awards

It is the fourth nomination for Arctic Monkeys – one of the UK’s most successful rock bands – who won the award in 2006 with their acclaimed debut Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not.

The Sheffield rockers are now the second-most nominated act throughout the award’s 26-year-history, only trumped by Radiohead who despite five previous nominations, have never actually taken home the trophy.

Florence + the Machine scored their third Mercury nomination with High As Hope.

Indie bands Everything Everything and Wolf Alice both made the shortlist for the second time.

Singer Lily Allen, who scored her first Mercury nomination with her fourth studio album No Shame, said she hoped the small number of debut albums in the running this year will encourage new acts to make more music.

She said: “When I didn’t get nominated for my first two records when everyone thought I was going to be bookies’ favourite, it just pushed me on to make more music.

Lilly Allen received a nod for her album No Shame, written amid her marriage breakdown
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Lilly Allen received a nod for her album No Shame, written amid her marriage breakdown

“So maybe it is a shame but maybe it will encourage more creativity, which would be a good thing.”

Allen wrote her latest album during the breakdown of her marriage.

Twice nominated when performing in Oasis, guitarist Noel Gallagher received the first nod for his new band – High Flying Birds – for their third album, Who Built The Moon?

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds are on the shortlist
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Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds are on the shortlist

Other first time nominees on the list were: Geordie singer-songwriter Nadine Shah, rapper King Krule, jazz group Sons of Kemet, grime MC Novelist and R&B artist Jorja Smith.

Walsall singer Smith won the Critic’s Choice award at this year’s Brits.

A compilation album, put together by producer Richard Russell and featuring last year’s Mercury winner Sampha, has also been nominated.

Singer-songwriter Nadine Shah scored her first Mercury nomination
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Singer-songwriter Nadine Shah scored her first Mercury nomination

One “standout omission” noted by several nominees, was London rock band Shame whose debut album Songs Of Praise did not make the list.

Ceremony host Huw Stephens said the lack of debut albums was “not necessarily a bad thing”.

Describing the judges’ task of whittling down over 200 albums to 12, Stephens said: “Previous history doesn’t really matter. It doesn’t matter that Arctic Monkeys are the biggest band in the UK or that Florence has headlined Glastonbury. They listen to the albums on merit.”

The shortlist was selected by a panel of 12 music industry judges, including musicians Jamie Cullum, Marcus Mumford and Ella Eyre, music critics and broadcasters.

Arctic Monkeys, Florence + the Machine and Gallagher have been highlighted as joint early-favourites by bookmakers William Hill.

The Hyundai Mercury Prize 2018 winner will be announced on 20 September during a ceremony at the Eventim Apollo in London.

Full Mercury Prize 2018 shortlist:

Arctic Monkeys – Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino

Everything Everything – A Fever Dream

Everything Is Recorded – Everything Is Recorded

Florence + The Machine – High As Hope

Jorja Smith – Lost & Found

King Krule – The Ooz

Lily Allen – No Shame

Nadine Shah – Holiday Destination

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Who Built The Moon?

Novelist – Novelist Guy

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