It’s that time of year again. The well-deserved list of artists who are nominated for the Mercury Prize this year has been announced! As per usual, the list features something for everyone – an array of talented from across a span of genres, instruments, and working methods. What’s more, this year, almost all of the acts on the list have performed at our venue!
All bar five artists have graced our stage, so we thought we’d put together a piece highlighting some of the nominees and our thoughts on both their live performances and the albums they have been nominated for.
Ezra Collective – Where I’m Meant to Be
Back in February, the amazing Jazz quintet, Ezra Collective, graced our stage to a SOLD-OUT crowd as they celebrated their now mercury-nominated album Where I’m Meant To Be and it sure was one for the history books at the Hall. It was a performance full of charisma with some up-close-and-personal interaction when some of the members made it into the crowd during the performance of Victory Dance. It was a night of pure happiness, joy, and dancing!
Hailing from a Youth Club in London and now taking capturing the hearts of the Jazz scene with their infectious sound and energy, we are so happy to see how far they’ve come since their first album You Can’t Steal My Joy, as they now perform on the biggest stages in the world.
Photography by Alexis Panidis
Fred Again – Actual Life 3
If you haven’t heard of Fred Again over the past year, you must have been living under a rock. The powerhouse producer is known by critics for his innovative, genre-blending, dynamic, and emotionally resonant live performances and we are lucky enough to have seen this in the flesh back in March 2022. From his incredible stage design and production to his ability to create intimate moments with the crowd, he is certainly a star in the making.
Since then, his sound has taken over the world where he has performed and produced tracks with some of the biggest artists in the world including Skrillex, Ed Sheeran, George Ezra and many more. His mercury-nominated Album Actual Life 3 is his third studio album following his quick success and features fan-favourites such as Danielle (Smile On My Face), Delilah (Pull Me Out Of This), and Clara (The Night Is Dark).
Photography by Jack Kirwin
Lankum – False Lankum
Irish four-piece new-age folk band Lankum are known for their traditional sound, however, False Lankum experiments with new ideas in a bit to be ever-evolving the genre. What’s more, they do this in such an effortless and natural way. The band has been described by The Irish Times as “The best Irish band of their generation and beyond, expressing themselves in ways that cut to the essence of what great art is: a creative expression of the internal, external, spiritual, historical, contemporary and cosmic all at once”.
We kick off 2024’s shows (so far) with the band to celebrate this unique album and much more music from their discography! You can grab tickets to see them at the Albert Hall here.
Olivia Dean – Messy
High-rising jazz-meets-R&B-meets-pop singer Olivia Dean took flight from uploading demos onto Soundcloud in 2018 and quickly shot to fame! She has now worked with the likes of Rudimental, Loyle Carner, and many more and was named Amazon Music‘s 2021 Breakthrough Artist Of The Year.
Her long-awaited album Messy boasts a forward-thinking style that highlights Dean’s pop-soul expertise and shows she is not tied down to one genre. The album shows off her unique songwriting ability that focuses on sending out passionate and self-reflecting messages within her music.
We’re so excited for the mercury-nominated singer-songwriter to perform this album to a SOLD-OUT crowd in our venue in April 2024, and are excited to see what she next has in store!
Shygirl – Nymph
Experimental pop rulebreaker Shygirl joins the nominees with her album Nymph, an album that experiments with electronic music and futuristic pop music. It is only her debut album and she has already set the bar high with her clever blend of pop and rap music, and sound that sticks to her own authentic style. The album boasts features from Mura Masa and Sega Bodega and has received glowing critic reviews from Crack Magazine, The Guardian, NME and Resident Advisor.
Back in December, she took to our stage for a performance that oozed with confidence and energy, but also vulnerability where she expressed her raw emotions through her music. She performed music featured on Nymph alongside exclusive unreleased tracks and kept the crowd invested throughout!
Photography by Joanna Bradtke
Young Fathers – Heavy Heavy
Young Fathers are fast on their way to world domination, with their incredible productions and even better live performance style that blew everyone in the room away when they performed on our stage. With minimal stage production, the powerful messages within their music combined with their ability to create such a light and joyous crowd atmosphere was enough to create such a memorable show.
Nearly 10 years on from their first Mercury prize win in 2014, Their recent album Heavy Heavy is one of the nominated albums for this year’s prize, and rightly so. The album takes the listener through a plethora of genres, emotions, and passion with their effortless ability to take us on a journey through their music.
Photography by Joanna Bradtke