Awards

Mercury Prize 2021 Sets Big Reveal

Michael Kiwanuka performs onstage during the 2017 Governors Ball Music Festival - Day 1 at Randall's Island on June 2, 2017 in New York City.
Noam Galai/Getty Images

Michael Kiwanuka performs onstage during the 2017 Governors Ball Music Festival - Day 1 at Randall's Island on June 2, 2017 in New York City. 

The Mercury Prize returns this year, with a COVIDSafe event at London’s Eventim Apollo on Sept. 9. Before that, the shortlist of 12 albums will be announced July 22, with BBC Music on board as broadcast partner.

Car manufacturer Hyundai is sponsor of this year's Mercury Prize, which celebrates artistic achievement across British and Irish music.

The award was established as the Mercury Music Prize in 1992 by labels body the BPI and its counterpart retail association ERA (then known as BARD), as a platform to showcase the best music from the British Isles, and to fuel album sales during the slower, mid-year months.

For its first annual award, a panel of industry expects selected Primal Scream’s Screamadelica as album of the year.

When Michael Kiwanuka won last year with his Kiwanuka album, the announcement boosted sales of the record by 4,537%, hurtling the set to No. 4 on the Official Albums Chart, just down from its previous peak of No. 2.

The Mercury panel of judges typically whittle down the nominees from a long-list of hundreds of contenders, entered by their respective record companies.