This year’s Mercury Music Prize nominees agree on who should win – David Bowie.
Acts including Bat For Lashes and The 1975 may be up against Bowie, but they don’t mind admitting that they’re no competition for the late star and his last album, Blackstar.
The winner of the 25th Mercury Music Prize will be announced at a ceremony in London tonight, and Natasha Khan – better known as Bat For Lashes – said it was “surreal” to go up against the Heroes singer.
Bookies’ favourite Bowie would become the first posthumous winner of the prize if Blackstar is chosen by the team of industry judges.
Natasha said: “I feel honoured. I grew up listening to his music and the fact that he was such an innovator and pushed so many boundaries and kept going for so many decades is surreal.”
Post-punk girl group Savages said it would be “almost a curse to win” when up against the “revered” Bowie.
The 1975 were nominated for I Like It When You Sleep, For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It, and lead singer Matthew Healy called Bowie a “f****** legend” and said “no one here thinks they are at the same level as him”.
A Bowie tribute is planned for the ceremony featuring a performance of Blackstar track Lazarus by Dexter star Michael C Hall, who is launching his Bowie stage production of the same name in London next month.
Bowie’s Blackstar album – which explores the themes of illness, death and heaven – was released in January on the star’s 69th birthday and just two days before he died from cancer.
The record is up against albums from artists including Laura Mvula’s The Dreaming and Bat For Lashes’ The Bride.
Also nominated are Radiohead, who have never won the prize. They became the most short-listed artist in Mercury Prize history with their nod for A Moon Shaped Pool – the fifth time the British stalwarts have been nominated.
The other records to make the list of 12 albums of the year, chosen by the Mercury Prize judging panel were Konnichiwa by Skepta, Making Time by Jamie Woon, Made In The Manor by Kano, Love & Hate by Michael Kiwanuka, Adore Life by Savages, Channel The Spirits by The Comet Is Coming and Anohni for Hopelessness.
Of the remaining 12 acts, all except Radiohead are set to perform at the ceremony before the final six nominees are revealed live on BBC Four and 6 Music.
For the first time an online vote will allow music fans to pick the first of the final six, with the remainder selected by a judging panel that includes DJ Annie Mac and former Mercury Prize winner Jarvis Cocker.
The winner will receive a £25,000 prize at the ceremony in the Eventim Apollo, London, which is being broadcast on BBC Four and BBC Radio 6 Music.