Let’s hear it for girl power! The last time a female solo artist won the Mercury Music Prize was in 2002, when Ms Dynamite waltzed home with the award.
This year’s awards, to be held on 8 September, feature nominations for quirky fashion faves Bat For Lashes, Florence Welch and synth-pop duo La Roux (fronted by bequiffed singer Elly Jackson), as well as folk singer Lisa Hannigan for Sea Sew and hip-hop artist Speech Debelle, for Speech Therapy.
Bat For Lashes, aka Natasha Khan, is nominated for her sophomore album Two Suns, which she describes as “Halloween when you're small, dreaming by the sea, pine trees, UFOs, children's choirs, broken heart, harpsichords, electric guitars, dark night-time lovemaking…”
Sounds nuts and, well okay, it is kinda nuts, but – having seen Natasha perform live at Somerset House last week, glorious in a catsuit in the torrential rain – I can tell you it totally works in a magical, nutty way.
Florence and the Machine is nominated for Lungs, while La Roux is up for its eponymous album. Other nominees include Kasabian, Glasvegas and The Horrors: for the full list, see Mercury Music Prize.
By Harriet Reuter Hapgood