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Mercury rising for SOAK as Derry singer nominated for top award

By Joanne Sweeney

Published 17/10/2015

Musician Bridie Monds-Watson is in running for Mercury Prize
Musician Bridie Monds-Watson is in running for Mercury Prize

She was only 13 when she started to write songs, now Londonderry's SOAK has been shortlisted for the Mercury Prize.

The 18-year-old - real name Bridie Monds-Watson - is among 12 musicians nominated for one of the industry's top accolades for her debut album Before We Forgot How To Dream.

She tweeted: "Made the Mercury prize shortlist. Life is crazy. THANK YOU!", and later she posted a picture of herself eating pizza while on tour in Italy and said: "Thanks for all the kind messages. I'm celebrating the best way I know x."

SOAK will be up against some serious competition, including Florence And The Machine for the album How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, and fellow Irish singer Roisin Murphy, formerly of Moloko, with her third solo album Hairless Toys.

SOAK has been dubbed "the voice of her generation" in the music Press for her "bedroom pop", which gives an honest, often dark, insight into what it's like to be a teenager today.

The radio presenter who first broadcast SOAK's music believes she has what it takes to claim the Mercury Prize.

Stephen McCauley of Radio Foyle said she came to his attention by posting videos on Facebook of her playing her songs from her bedroom in Derry.

He told the Belfast Telegraph: "I really think SOAK is in with a chance.

"Unlike the Brits, the Mercury likes the outsider artist, the one you wouldn't imagine to win, like last year's winners Young Fathers.

"The fact that Bridie has been shortlisted for the Mercury Prize is not a shock to me.

"I was the first to play her demo track Leaves on my programme Electric Mainline when she was just 15, and later she did her first radio session here as well.

"Leaves was a beautiful track and later she told me that she and her parents Jimmy and Aisling Watson had been gathered around the radio at home waiting with excitement to hear her track being played, as it was such a big moment for them all."

The Mercury Prize winner will be announced on November 20.

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