The Mercury Prize Shortlist 2020

Formerly known as The Mercury Music Prize, it’s fair to say that the Mercury Prize is easily the most respected prize in the music industry.

The prize is specifically focused on the best albums released by British and Irish Artists. One thing is for sure, some of the finest albums ever produced have made it to the Mercury Music Prize shortlist.

The Mercury Prize has surprisingly been around for a staggering twenty-eight years. I know that makes you feel old hey. But on a serious note, the great thing about the Mercury Prize is that it has introduced us to some remarkable acts.

Generally, if an album makes it to the shortlist, it’s probably worth buying it. For that reason, every artist or band that is shortlisted will see sales of that album go through the roof. This is because the shortlist is chosen by an independent panel of musicians, who are looking for the most innovative sound across all genres.

Mercury Prize Winners

2019 Dave Psychodrama Winner
2018 Wolf Alice A Vision of Life Winner
2017 Sampha Process Winner
2016 Skepta Konnichiwa Winner
2015 Benjamin Clementine At Least For Now Winner
2014 Young Fathers Dead Winner
2013 James Blake Overgrown Winner
2012 Alt-J An Awesome Wave Winner
2011 PJ Harvey Let England Shake Winner
2010 The xx xx Winner
2009 Speech Debelle Speech Therapy Winner
2008 Elbow The Seldom Seen Kid Winner
2007 Klaxons Myths of the Near Future Winner
2006 Arctic Monkeys Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not Winner
2005 Antony and the Johnsons I Am a Bird Now Winner
2004 Franz Ferdinand Franz Ferdinand Winner
2003 Dizzee Rascal Boy in Da Corner Winner
2002 Ms. Dynamite A Little Deeper Winner
2001 PJ Harvey Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea Winner
2000 Badly Drawn Boy The Hour of Bewilderbeast Winner
1999 Talvin Singh OK Winner
1998  Gomez Bring It On Winner
1997  Roni Size/Reprazent New Forms Winner
1996  Pulp Different Class Winner

The Mercury Prize Shortlist 2020

The impressive thing about this year’s Mercury Prize shortlist, released on 24/17/2020, is that for the first time female artists have outnumbered the men. In fact, seven out of the twelve nominees are female acts or female-fronted bands.

That aside, there was some criticism over there being a distinct lack of smaller names. It seems that some of the names this year are more like Brit Awards candidates rather than The Mercury Prize. But who will be walking away with the grand prize? Here’s our breakdown.

Michael Kiwanuka
Yes, there are some familiar faces here and some are no stranger to being selected previously. First off is Michael Kiwanuka. The first time he was shortlisted was way back in 2012 with his debut album ‘Home Again’.

He was back again in 2016 with the album ‘Love & Hate’. But on top of that, ‘Love and Hate’ went onto take a plethora of awards, including Album of the Year at the Brit Awards and the Worldwide Awards. So let’s just say that the much-anticipated album ‘KIWANUKA’ released in 2019 has been described as the greatest album of the decade.

Something about that makes me think that it could be Michael’s year. In fact, this is where my money would go. Plus he would be one of a few artists whose first three albums have been nominated – third time lucky?

Stormzy
Another front runner is the one and only, Stormzy. Now, I am going to be controversial here. It just doesn’t seem to fit well with such a huge and well-established star in the shortlist.

There’s no questioning his talent and the album is amazing but it could be said that the Mercury Prize is becoming more like the Brit Awards as each year passes. That aside though, as I say ‘Heavy is the Head’ is an incredible second album from this megastar. So it’s easy to see why the bookies would be putting it up there as a front runner.

Kano
London Rapper ‘Kano’ has made it into the front runners also, with his second album to make the shortlist. ‘Hoodies All Summer’ is Kano’s sixth studio album and there’s no doubt he would make a popular choice for the outright winner after surviving fifteen years of the tough rap scene in the UK.

But with fellow rapper ‘Dave’ taking the Mercury Prize last year, could it be time for something a little different? So for me, those are the three big favorites. But what about the rest?

Dua Lipa
Well, what about ‘Dua Lipa’ easily Britain’s biggest female popstar. Even she is surprised that she has made it into the shortlist as apparently, she didn’t think she would be cool enough.

‘Future Nostalgia’ is her second album and very different from her first. Let’s just say that this is an album with bags of energy and heaps of fun. There are influences from funky 70s disco, 80s pop, and all woven together with a modern twist. She is definitely bringing disco into the twenty-first century.

You know what, after the year that 2020 has become, maybe this is exactly what needs to win it. I never thought I would admit it, but I think this album is top and I’d love it to win.

Charlie XCX
Talking about the lockdown, our next mention, Charlie XCX actually wrote the album ‘How I’m Feeling Now’ during the lockdown. I mean, come on that is pretty darn amazing. Just six weeks after coming up with the idea, boom she had her new album.

Now, as you would expect the songs are all a reflection of her emotions during this tough time. But, one thing is for sure, there will be lots of people who will easily relate. Backed up with her usual electronic sounds this could well be a winner too. But fair play if she does take the prize – six weeks!

Laura Marling
Then what about Folk-Rock artist Laura Marling? This will be her fourth album to have been nominated for the Mercury Prize. Jeez, she must be getting tired of it by now, but I am sure she likes the extra sales that this brings.

You could say that ‘Song For Our Daughter’ is a no-nonsense powerful album full of strong lyrics with immersive string sections. Odds seem good for Laura, maybe she is worth a look.

Sports Team
Now, if you are a fan of past winners such as the Arctic Monkeys, then this band will be more your cup of tea. ‘Sports Team’ may not be real working-class champions, especially with a Cambridge education, but, their hard cutting lyrics sure sing from the same song sheet.

Plus, their debut album ‘Deep Down Happy’ achieved amazing sales in the first four weeks. I love this album and it would be great to see an outsider with a debut album take the cream this year. They may be outsiders, but these guys don’t act like it.

Porridge Radio
If the guys from ‘Sports Team’ are bold, wait until you get a load of Brighton’s modern punk indie rockers ‘Porridge Radio’. Lead singer ‘Dana Margolin’ has labeled her band, the best band in the world. So what can you expect from their first studio album ‘Every Bad’?

Well, get ready to release some nervous energy because this is visceral and bold. I think ‘Porridge Radio’ will be a name for the future if they keep banging out music like this. It certainly ain’t boring.

Other Nominees
On top of these guys, we have the first Solo album from Moses Boyd called ‘Dark Matter’. It’s a talented mix of genres, masterfully woven through his signature Jazz influences.

Anna Meredith hits us at one hundred miles an hour with a feast of electronic craziness, that’s hard to resist. She is a composer with the Scottish Symphony Orchestra, but she really lets her inner self out with this album.

Georgia has her first nomination with ‘Seeking Thrills’ and there’s no doubt that this celebration of the dancefloor will be well received.

Then last but not least is the Newcastle band ‘Lanterns on the Lake‘ with the album ‘Spook the Herd’. After a year away from the studio, these guys have come back with their best work to date. Dark yet inspiring and haunting in ways that will stay with you long after you have listened to it.

So, who’s going to win? Well, the lucky winner will be announced at the Hyundai Mercury Prize Awards on September 24th, 2020.

To be honest, though, the Mercury is known for the occasional surprise and it could be anybody’s game despite the odds.

The 2020 Mercury Prize Odds

BETFAIR Odds applicable as of 28/07/2020 – MERCURY PRIZE 2020

Michael Kiwanuka

‘KIWANUKA’

7/4

Kano

‘Hoodies all Summer’

11/2

Stormzy

‘Heavy is the Head’

11/2

Charlie XCX

‘How I’m Feeling Now’

13/2

Moses Boyd

‘Dark Matter’

8/1

Laura Marling

‘Song for Our Daughter’

8/1

Dua Lipa

‘Future Nostalgia’

10/1

Georgia 

‘Seeking Thrills’

12/1

Anna Meredith

‘FIBS’

20/1

Porridge Radio

‘Every Bad’

25/1

Lanterns on the Lake

‘Spook the Heard’

25/1

Sports Team

‘Deep Down Happy’

33/1

Why not check out Betfair or Paddy Power for the most recent odds on the Mercury Prize 2020.



UP TO £100 IN FREE BETS


Place 5 bets of £10 or more and get a £20 free bet. You can do this 5 times to receive £100 in total.



New customer offer. Place 5 x €/£10 or more bets to receive €/£20 in free bets. Repeat up to 5 times to receive maximum €/£100 bonus. Min odds 1/2 (1.5). Exchange bets excluded. T&Cs apply. 18+ begambleaware.org. Please bet responsibly.