The Mercury Music Prize award is an annual music prize given to the best album by an Irish or British act during the year. The ceremony was created as an alternative to the hugely popular Brit Awards and was sponsored by Mercury Communications in the beginning, from which it got its name from. The award was established in 1992 by the British Phonographic Industry. Over time, different companies have sponsored the ceremony, with Hyundai taking over the sponsorship with a 3-year deal beginning in 2016.
All albums released by an act in which at least half of the members are British or Irish can be submitted for participation. After the submittal period ends, a panel of independent musicians, producers, journalists, and similar music figures decide the shortlist of potential winners. There’s no restriction when it comes to music genres – folk, rap, rock, dance, jazz, grime, and other music genres are all accepted. The ceremony takes place in October and the prize nominations are revealed in September.
Although not as popular as the Brit Awards, the Mercury Music Prize still has a significant impact on the sales and popularity of the bands or singers entering it, especially the lesser known names. Another great thing about the ceremony is that underdogs usually win it instead of the favourites. Representatives from the judging panel say that the prize is awarded to the best album that year regardless of the genre. The omission of heavy metal is one thing most music figures criticize the Mercury Prize for, although the board doesn’t admit to deliberately pushing this genre out.
Since its creation, the Mercury Music Prize has seen popular and underdog bands win it. There are many acclaimed musicians which have been nominated for the prize more than a few times, but never won the award – Radiohead’s Thom Yorke is one of them. To this date, PJ Harvey leads the list of winners with 2 trophies and is the only artist with more than one win. Alex Turner, vocalist and guitarist of the popular band Arctic Monkeys has received 5 nominations and won only once. Besides the Album of the Year Trophy, the Mercury Music Prize also awards prize money to the winner.
Nadin Shah – A Surprise Favourite
This year’s favourite at the bookies when it comes to the Mercury Music Prize is a bit surprising, although considering the history of the ceremony, it really shouldn’t be. Nadine Shah is considered the frontrunner for the 2018 Mercury Music Prize for her album Holiday Destination. Bookies believe that Shah has the biggest chances of winning the trophy this year, although the competition is fierce, featuring bands such as Arctic Monkeys and Florence + The Machine.
Currently, Holiday Destination leads the list of favourites at MansionBet, RedZoneSports, SportNation, Ole777, Fun88, and SportPesa with odds of 9/2. From a punter’s point of view, the odds are great – betting on Shah can get you a great return depending on your bet. If the internet is to be believed, Shah really stands a great chance at winning the Mercury Music Prize this year, so if you love the album and think it’s the strongest in 2018, you won’t go wrong by betting on Nadine Shah.
Can Sons of Kemet or King Krule Get Their Hands on the Trophy?
It’s not just Nadine Shah’s album that’s a major surprise on the list of nominees – in a star-packed year, putting the relatively unknown Sons of Kemet and King Krule as second and third favourites just behind Shah’s is quite surprising as well.
This goes in line with the ceremony’s history – we already mentioned that underdogs have a habit of winning the Album of the Year trophy. Such is the case of Sons of Kemet. The British jazz group is virtually unknown outside of the UK, mainly because they play an amalgam of jazz, Caribbean folk, and African music which are not so popular as pop or rock. Still, their album Your Queen is a Reptile has caught the attention of the judging panel, putting Sons of Kemet right behind Nadine Shah with odds of 5/1 (SportPesa, Ole777, Fun88, RedZoneSports, SportNation, MansionBet).
Equally surprising is the third spot on the list which is occupied by English rapper King Krule. The unique musician who blends genres such as rap, trip hop, darkwave, punk, and jazz in his music has released a critically acclaimed album named The Ooz at the end of 2017, which was a hit with fans and critics as well. This led to King Krule being placed third on the list of 2018 Mercury Music Prize favourites with odds of 6/1 at all major operators (SportNation, RedZoneSports, Ole777, SportPesa, MansionBet, Fun88).
Will Alex Turner Equal PJ Harvey’s Record?
Just before the summer, one of UK’s favourite bands Arctic Monkeys released their 5th album, Tranquillity Hotel Base & Casino. Departing from their original sound and going with retro rock instead, Arctic Monkeys have puzzled fans and critics, although the album is not a failure at all. Yes, it may be different, but if you listen to it without taking the band’s previous musical style into account, you’ll see how good it is. Alex Turner has created a gem of a record, and the Mercury award panel certainly recognized it.
Although not heavy favourites for the award, Arctic Monkeys slide in on the 4th place with odds of 27/4 (MansionBet, SportPesa, Fun88, Ole777, SportNation, RedZoneSports). From a punter’s point of view, these odds are great, and if you ask us, the Sheffield band has great chances of winning the award. Placing a bet on Tranquillity Hotel Base & Casino will bring you a lot of money in return, so maybe you should take a gamble and ride on the wild side a bit.
A Dark Year for Favourites?
Although Arctic Monkey’s chances are not that bad, the popular Florence Welch is even further down the list. The English musician and her new album High as Hope are being given odds of 8/1 (SportPesa, Ole777, Fun88, SportNation, MansionBet, RedZoneSports) at winning the Mercury trophy, sitting somewhere in the middle of the list. The album has been a critical hit, however, so we wouldn’t be so quick to write off High as Hope as the winner.
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds and their album Who Built The Moon? are rated only slightly better (31/4 at MansionBet, Ole777, SportPesa, Fun88, RedZoneSports, and SportNation) than Florence + The Machine. The former Oasis frontman has created a great album, yet bookies don’t really think the entry deserves top recognition.
Lilly Allen and her album No Shame are sitting in the bottom part of the list of nominees. No Shame is being given odds of 35/4 at RedZoneSports, SportNation, MansionBet, Ole777, Fun88, and SportPesa, which means it’s among the unlikeliest albums to win the special award.
At the very end of the list sits Novelist with his first album Novelist Guy. Novelist is one of the most hopeful grime MCs on the UK scene, and even though the album has been rated great by many critics, the chances of it winning the Mercury Prize are slim. MansionBet, RedZoneSports, SportNation, Fun88, Ole777, and SportPesa have ranked it dead last on the list with odds of 21/2 – they may be great for punters, but are certainly not pleasant for the artist.