First Mercury Prize nomination for Ed Sheeran
Ed Sheeran is up against acts including Stormzy and Alt-J in the battle for this year’s Mercury Prize.
This is the first time Sheeran features on the shortlist and he is the only pop star to compete this time for the coveted music award.
Critics were split over his latest album ‘Divide’ but it sold more than two million copies, ruled the charts and broke streaming records.
The 26-year-old star will be up against indie rock and alt-pop bands such as The xx, Alt-J, Blossoms, Animal House and The Big Moon.
Among the 12 contenders for the album of the year prize, grime and hip hop artist Stormzy is nominated for his debut offering Gang Signs And Prayer.
Both The xx and Alt-J have previously been awarded the prize in 2010 and 2012 respectively.
Spoken word poet Kate Tempest is nominated for a second time. She was previously in the running in 2014.
New judges on the panel this year include Marcus Mumford from Mumford And Sons, Lianne La Havas, Ella Eyre and DJ & broadcaster MistaJam.
They will join the likes of Jamie Cullum, Jessie Ware, Clara Amfo and BBC 6 Music boss Jeff Smith.
Last year Skepta, one of the founding fathers of grime music, took home the prize. Stormzy will be looking to emulate the feat.
“This year’s Hyundai Mercury Prize shortlist celebrates the remarkable power of British music,” the judges said.
“What these artists have in common is an infectious pleasure in music making and an arresting sense of urgency about the music they make,” they added.
“They delight in exploring musical possibilities and refusing to be pinned down by genre conventions.”
Here are the artists up for the album of the year prize:
:: Alt-J – Relaxer
:: Blossoms – Blossoms
:: Dinosaur – Together, As One
:: Ed Sheeran – Divide
:: Glass Animals – How To Be A Human Being
:: J Hus – Common Sense
:: Kate Tempest – Let Them Eat Chaos
:: Loyle Carner – Yesterday’s Gone
:: Sampha – Process
:: Stormzy – Gang Signs And Prayer
:: The Big Moon – Love In The 4th Dimension
:: The xx – I See You
The Hyundai Mercury Prize awards show will take place at Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith on 14 September.