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Mercury Prize 2020: Who’s in the running?

The prestigious accolade recognises the best British album of the year.

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Charli XCX (Ian West/PA)

Charli XCX (Ian West/PA)

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Dave celebrates winning the Mercury Prize for Album of the Year during the Hyundai Mercury Prize 2019, held at the Eventim Apollo, London.

Dave celebrates winning the Mercury Prize for Album of the Year during the Hyundai Mercury Prize 2019, held at the Eventim Apollo, London.

Charli XCX (Ian West/PA)

This year’s shortlist for the Mercury Prize includes a number of returning nominees.

Stormzy, Laura Marling and Michael Kiwanuka have all secured nods in previous years.

Here are the artists up for the album of the year award in 2020:

– Anna Meredith – FIBS

Scottish composer and electronic music producer Anna Meredith released FIBS, a sweeping and unpredictable series of instrumentals influenced by disco and film scores, in 2019.

The 42-year-old is a former composer-in-residence with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and has won accolades including an Ivor Novello Award.

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Charli XCX (Ian West/PA)

Charli XCX (Ian West/PA)

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Charli XCX (Ian West/PA)

– Charli XCX – How I’m Feeling Now

Charli XCX, real name Charlotte Aitchison, fully conceived and created her fourth album, How I’m Feeling Now, during the first months of the pandemic.

The 28-year-old British pop maverick worked on the album from her home in Los Angeles and gave fans access to her creative process through social media.

It reached number 33 in the UK albums chart upon release and was critically acclaimed.

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Dua Lipa (Ian West/PA)

Dua Lipa (Ian West/PA)

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Dua Lipa (Ian West/PA)

– Dua Lipa – Future Nostalgia

While many artists delayed album releases due to the pandemic, pop star Lipa brought hers forward after it leaked online.

Future Nostalgia won Lipa her first number one album and was lauded for its fresh take on classic ’80s pop.

– Georgia – Seeking Thrills

Georgia Barnes, known mononymously as Georgia, released her self-titled debut album in 2015 but failed to dent the charts.

Things changed with the release of her follow-up in January – Seeking Thrills, which streamlined her dance floor-focused sound and soaring vocals.

Barnes began her career as a drummer for artists such as Kwes and Kate Tempest, and is the daughter of electronic music duo Leftfield’s co-founder Neil Barnes.

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Kano (Victoria Jones/PA)

Kano (Victoria Jones/PA)

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Kano (Victoria Jones/PA)

– Kano – Hoodies All Summer

Multi-talented rapper, songwriter and actor Kane “Kano” Robinson was nominated for the 2016 Mercury Prize for Made In The Manor, which featured guests including Wiley and Damon Albarn.

Released in 2019, follow-up Hoodies All Summer tackled knife crime and the importance of good times using a stripped-back production style.

Kano also starred in the successful Netflix series Top Boy as Sully, a gritty crime thriller set on a London estate.

– Lanterns On The Lake – Spook The Herd

Singer Hazel Wilde began writing the songs for Spook The Herd while Lanterns On The Lake took a break in 2016 after touring heavily.

A year later, the indie rock group began recording at Distant City studios in Ripponden, West Yorkshire, with songs taking in politics, grief and the climate crisis.

The band formed in 2007 in Newcastle upon Tyne.

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Laura Marling (Yui Mok/PA)

Laura Marling (Yui Mok/PA)

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Laura Marling (Yui Mok/PA)

– Laura Marling – Song For Our Daughter

Three years since Grammy Award-nominated Semper Femina, Laura Marling returned with Song For Our Daughter, reaching number six in the charts.

The 30-year-old folk singer-songwriter recorded the album between her home studio in London and Monnow Valley Studio in Wales.

The album’s title addresses a fictional daughter and was inspired by writer Maya Angelou’s book Letter To My Daughter.

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Michael Kiwanuka (Ian West/PA)

Michael Kiwanuka (Ian West/PA)

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Michael Kiwanuka (Ian West/PA)

– Michael Kiwanuka – Kiwanuka

Michael Kiwanuka’s self-titled third album was met with rave reviews upon release in November 2019, and reached number two in the charts.

Both of the Londoner‘s previous albums have been nominated for the Mercury Prize but he has never won it.

The singer-songwriter’s soul-inflected sound has won him a legion of fans, including Kanye West, who invited him to join the sessions for his Yeezus album in Hawaii.

– Moses Boyd – Dark Matter

Moses Boyd is a drummer, composer, producer and former resident DJ on BBC 1Xtra.

This eclecticism shows through on Dark Matter, the Londoner’s debut album, which charts the capital’s burgeoning jazz scene from the perspective of one of its key players.

– Porridge Radio – Every Bad

Brighton indie band Porridge Radio formed in 2015 and created a buzz with their slacker rock style.

Every Bad was critically acclaimed for its exploration of confused adolescence and staccato riffs.

– Sports Team – Deep Down Happy

Upon release in June this year, Deep Down Happy, the debut album by indie band Sports Team, was prevented from topping the charts only by Lady Gaga’s Chromatica.

The outfit, who met while studying at Cambridge University, have been compared to Parklife-era Blur over their angular music and frontman Alex Rice’s witty lyrics about Middle England, Wetherspoons and the M5.

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Stormzy (Isabel Infantes/PA)

Stormzy (Isabel Infantes/PA)

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Stormzy (Isabel Infantes/PA)

– Stormzy – Heavy Is The Head

Grime star Stormzy scores his second Mercury Prize nomination after a bumper two years, headlining Glastonbury and launching his own publishing imprint #MerkyBooks.

In the wake of Black Lives Matter protests, Stormzy and his #Merky company pledged £10 million over the next 10 years to organisations engaged in the fight for racial equality and social justice.

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