Jessie Buckley & Bernard Butler have spoken to NME about being nominated for the Mercury Prize 2022 – and the secret to good songwriting and a magic collaboration. Watch our video interview with the pair above.
The Irish actor/singer-songwriter and the former Suede guitarist turned solo star and record producer were speaking to NME from the London launch event for the prize yesterday (Wednesday July 27), where their collaborative album ‘For All Our Days That Tear That Tear The Heart’ was named as one of the Albums Of The Year alongside albums by the likes of Sam Fender, Self Esteem, Nova Twins, Harry Styles, Little Simz and more.
Asked what spirit of the times the shortlist captured, Butler replied: “I don’t think it says anything about music in 2022. I don’t think there are any effective soundbites that work.
“Music is supposed to last forever. It’s supposed to go past its time, it can represent the times in some way – but it also needs to work for people in future times as well. I never look for what works as a zeitgeist. I don’t think it’s a very effective way of looking at music. I never look at the date of it and go, ‘Ooh, ‘83? I can’t listen to that!’”
The musician added: “Music is something you should feel and let it into your life. That’s all. It doesn’t matter where it comes from, who’s making it or where or when they come from.”
On their own album, Buckley said she had “no idea” what it was about their record that captured people’s hearts and landed them a place on the shortlist.
“I don’t think you can ever be objective from the inside out,” she told NME. “It’ll probably be 20 years down the line and we’ll put the album on for the first time in 20 years and be like, ‘Oh, that’s what it was!’ But I don’t know – it’s nothing to do with me!”
Buckley, once a West End star before taking to the big and small screen and spreading her wings further across music, won the prolific songwriter and musician Butler over rather quickly, inspiring their collaborative record.
“I heard Jessie sing once for about two minutes, then I turned it off because I thought she had a great voice and character,” said Butler. “For me there are only two things that matter: personality, and if someone can sing. I like to get to know somebody. Everyone in this room or on the tube can sing, but it’s about connecting with character and finding out what someone else didn’t find.”
Buckley added: “Neither of us really knew each other. That was kind of a blessing in disguise, because we just met each other in the moment, trusted each other, and took a leap of faith. In a way, we could just come in because of that.
“I listened to an album that Bernard had worked on by Sam Lee called ‘Oh Wow’, and I absolutely adored it and loved it, but sometimes it’s good to have a clean slate and allow them to create a new space for themselves.
The Mercury Prize will reveal the winner at a ceremony on September 8 at London’s Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith.
Buckley & Butler will be performing at Whitley Bay Playhouse on August 25. Visit here for tickets and information.