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The Barclaycard Mercury Prize – 2011 Nominees

Receiving a Mercury Music Prize can make or break an artist or band's career. Here we run through the 12 very different acts that have been shortlisted for one of UK music industry's most esteemed awards.

Written by Emma Barlow

Elbow by Natasha Thompson

Next month 12 acts will nervously wait to see if they will be announced as the Barclaycard Mercury Music Prize winner for 2011. The Mercury’s are well known for championing the best of British music and this year’s shortlist is no different. Many of the acts (like Adele) are not surprising but there are those lesser-known acts (Gwilym Simcock, here anyone?) and what’s exciting about the Mercury Prize is that the judges do have a tendency towards picking the act that no one suspected. Read on to hear about each of the nominated acts.

Adele by Natasha Thompson

Adele 21
Very much the favourite and it’s not at all surprising when you consider what a year it has been for Adele. Her second album 21 has smashed chart records and she has become a sensation across the pond too.

PJ Harvey by Claire Kearns

PJ Harvey by Natasha Thompson

PJ Harvey Let England Shake
PJ Harvey has already won one of these Mercury Prizes before 2001 for the album Stories from the City, site Stories from the Sea, visit this making her the first woman to win the award. Despite her incredible discography critics are lauding Let England Shake as Polly Harvey’s masterpiece.

Elbow by Natalie Hughes

Elbow Build a Rocket Boys!
By no means a new act but Elbow have come to the fore once again this year with their new album Build A Rocket Boys! and after storming their set at this year’s Glastonbury. If they won it would be the second time for Guy Garvey et al who were victorious in 2008 with their album The Seldom Seen Kid.

Tinie Tempah by Tom Casson

?Tinie Tempah Disc-Overy
One of the newer acts in the this year’s Mercury shortlist and joint fourth favourite to win, unsurprising as the star’s Pass Out as been a constant soundtrack to the past 12 months, no bad thing as it contains one of my favourite ever lyrics ‘I got so many clothes/ I keep some at my Aunt’s house.’ Genuis. He’s already won himself a Brit award, so he could well be on to track to bag the Mercury prize.

?Anna Calvi Anna Calvi
Anna Calvi has perhaps managed to ride into the music scene on the slipstream of big female acts like Florence and Adele but unlike some of her contemporaries, Calvi has bought something new to the table. Her big sound and ferocious guitar playing makes her a real contender for the Mercury prize.

Katy B by Cheryl Windahl

Katy B On a Mission
Like Adele, Katy B attended the famous Brit School, who are clearly doing something right. Katy B hasn’t quite taken off like her schoolmate but her mix of dubstep and R&B sound means she is standing out from the crowd

Metronomy The English Riviera
Metronomy have been around a while and although winning themselves a large fanbase they haven’t yet become mainstream – making them a perfect candidate for the slightly offbeat Mercurys.

Everything Everything by Emma Carlisle

Everything Everything Man Alive
Everything Everything are relative newcomers but have certainly made an impression and can often be found brightening up the radio waves with their single Photoshop Handsome. Their sound is good, old fashioned indie-pop, which could mean Everything Everything lose out at the Mercury’s.

James Blake by Cheryl Windahl

?James Blake James Blake
James Blake has made waves this year with his minimal electronia and moving album James Blake. It includes the blusey Limit To Your Love, which has got everyone excited about sustained pauses or the gaps between the notes as well as his futuristic sound.

?Gwilym Simcock Good Days at Schloss Elmau
The Mercury shortlist always contains a jazz musician and there are always rumours that the judges will shun the favourites and pick one of more obscure acts on the list. The talented Gwilym might want to hope that he isn’t picked as the Mercury curse could see his career stopped short, a la Speech DeBelle in 2009!

Ghostpoet by Chris Ross

Ghostpoet Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy Jam
One of those hotly tipped artists for 2011 Ghostpoet is nominated for his album Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholy Jam. Full of laid back and melancholy electronica-laced tracks Ghostpoet hasn’t exactly exploded yet but you might recognize the single Survive It.


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