Belfast Telegraph

Stormzy hopes to join legendary list of Mercury Prize winners

Ed Sheeran, Stormzy, J Hus, and The xx are among this year's (17) Merccury Prize nominees.

British rapper Stormzy is "honoured" to be shortlisted for the 2017 Mercury Music Prize as he has the chance to join the legendary names who are past winners.

The British grime artist was one of 12 acts named on this year's shortlist for the the prestigious British album prize, earning a nod for his debut album Gang Signs & Prayer.

Speaking to BBC6 Music Radio from Australia, where he is on tour, Stormzy said he looked back at acts who have won it in the past, who include his fellow grime stars Dizzee Rascal and Skepta, who won last year (16).

"I'm honoured, I think honoured is the perfect word for it because when you look at all the acts that have won it in the past and the people that have been nominated you know you're one of the few people who get that honour of being nominated for a Mercury Prize," he gushed.

Explaining what the nomination meant to him he added, "I've always said like with the album that I've always wanted it to be held up with the best in terms of the artistry and the musicality of it so getting the Mercury Prize nomination it doesn't really get any higher than that."

To win the prize the 24-year-old rapper will have to beat some tough competition, as Ed Sheeran's smash hit album ÷ (divide) is also nominated, as are records from previous winners The xx and Alt-J.

Stormzy's close pal and fellow grime artist J Hus is also nominated for the award, sparking a friendly rivalry between the pair.

J Hus told 6 Music host Tom Ravenscroft, "I'm not even up against him because that's my guy, so whoever wins it we'll both be proud. I'll be proud if he wins it. If I don't win it I want him to win it."

Even if Stormzy does win out over J Hus, the 21-year-old will take some consolation from the fact he also appears on Gang Signs & Prayer.

Among the other nominees The xx tried to film a video of themselves reacting to news of their nomination but members Romy Madley-Croft, Oliver Sim and Jamie xx were too tired to say much. Ed Sheeran is yet to publicly react to his nomination.

"We tried our best to make a video, but are so overwhelmed, excited and jet lagged that this happened!" The band wrote in a tweet Thank you all for your support!

The 2017 Mercury Prize will be given out on 14 September (17), with the winner, who receives a $33,000 (£25,000) prize, chosen by a panel of experts from musical and media backgrounds. Other past winners include Primal Scream, Pulp, PJ Harvey and Suede.

The full list of 2017 Mercury Prize nominations:

Alt-J: Relaxer

The Big Moon: Love in the 4th Dimension

Blossoms: Blossoms

Loyle Carner: Yesterday's Gone

Dinosaur: Together, As One

Glass Animals: How to Be a Human Being

J Hus: Common Sense

Sampha: Process

Ed Sheeran: ÷ (divide)

Stormzy: Gang Signs & Prayer

Kate Tempest: Let Them Eat Chaos

The xx: I See You

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