On the 21st of July 2009 the shortlist for the Mercury Music Prize will be announced. If previous years are anything to go by, there will be some artists where the consensus agrees that the artist is a worthy nominee and others where shoulders are shrugged and puzzled faces appear.
What we always particularly like about the Mercury Prize is that (in theory) it has nothing to do with sales and is all to do with quality. Often some of the less populist genres such as folk and jazz can receive nominations that can bring new exposure to these artists that can lead to significant increases in sales. Some may sneer and call them ‘token entries’ but the reality is that far more rock and pop albums are released in a year than these other genres and therefore proportionally there will always be fewer of such genres on the shortlist. Last year we were delighted when Rachel Unthank and the Winterset received a nomination – The Bairns was such a delightful recording and the Mercury Prize nomination took the group to a much wider audience. So this year amongst the heavyweights, we will be looking with interest at some of the less well known acts. Personally amongst this type of smaller artist we would like to see Blue Roses (Classical / folk / pop), Robert Mitchell (Jazz) and The Leisure Society (Folk / Pop) receive nominations.
Until the awards are released, you can keep up to date with the speculation on this thread here and there is an interesting article written by one of the previous panels judges here . In the meantime we’re off to find that needle in the haystack. And when the awards are announced you can read our commentary on them here