Belfast Telegraph

Mercury Prize nominee Lily Allen plays down lack of debuts on this year’s shortlist

The 12-strong list has been announced.

Mercury Prize shortlisted artist Lily Allen has said she hopes the small number of debut albums in contention for this year’s gong will encourage new acts to create more music.

Just three of the 12 shortlisted albums are debuts: Jorja Smith’s Lost And Found, grime artist Novelist’s Novelist Guy, and record producer Richard Russell’s compilation project Everything Is Recorded.

Previous winners Arctic Monkeys and formerly shortlisted acts including Florence and The Machine and indie band Everything Everything have also made this year’s list.

Allen has been shortlisted for the first time in her career with her fourth album No Shame.

She said she would have liked to have seen London rock band Shame shortlisted for their album Songs Of Praise.

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She told Press Association: “When I didn’t get nominated for my first two records when everyone thought I was going to be bookies’ favourite, it just pushed me on to make more music.

“So maybe it is a shame but maybe it will encourage more creativity, which would be a good thing.”

London rock band Wolf Alice have been shortlisted for a second time for their album Visions Of A Life.

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Wolf Alice attended the nominations launch (PA)

They also cited Shame as a band whose debut record could have made the final cut.

Bassist Theo Ellis said: “Bands like Shame are a standout omission that had a really strong debut. They are a great young British band with a big future so it would have been nice to see them on the list as it would have given them a bit of a boost.”

A field of more than 200 entries was whittled down by a judging panel of industry experts to reach the 12-strong shortlist of British and Irish “albums of the year”.

BBC Radio 1 presenter Huw Stephens announced the nominations at a ceremony held at the Langham hotel in central London.

Stephens said it is “interesting” there are not as many debut albums shortlisted this year.

He said: “That’s not necessarily a bad thing. The judges have a tough task bringing it down to 12 albums.

“Previous history doesn’t really matter. It doesn’t matter that Arctic Monkeys are the biggest band in the UK or that Florence has headlined Glastonbury. They listen to the albums on merit.”

Arctic Monkeys, Florence and the Machine and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds are the bookmakers’ joint favourites to win this year.

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Novelist at the launch event (PA)

Last year, singer songwriter Sampha beat off competition from Ed Sheeran and Stormzy to take home the prize.

This year’s winner will be revealed at a ceremony on September 20 at the Eventim Apollo in London.

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