Mercury Prize confirms details of 2021 ceremony

Michael Kiwanuka triumphed last year with his album 'Kiwanuka'

The organisers of the Mercury Prize have announced details of their plans for the 2021 ceremony.

Last year’s ceremony, which saw the prestigious music prize being awarded to Michael Kiwanuka for his 2019 album ‘Kiwanuka’, was dramatically scaled back due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Hyundai Mercury Prize will return in 2021, with a 12-strong ‘Albums of the Year’ shortlist set to be announced on July 22.

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The 2021 Hyundai Mercury Prize Awards Show will then be held at the Eventim Apollo in London on September 9 – subject to government guidelines in regards to the pandemic.

Mercury Prize
The hallowed trophy

BBC Music will provide TV and radio coverage of this year’s Mercury Prize.

This year’s ceremony will be the first to be held since the successful Rina Sawayama-led campaign to change the competition’s eligibility rules, which came about after the artist was prevented from entering the Mercurys due to an issue over her British citizenship.

Sawayama – who was born in Japan but has lived in the UK for 26 years and has indefinite leave to remain in the country – started the grassroots campaign which led to the BPI agreeing to change the rules for both the Mercurys and the BRITs, allowing artists without British citizenship to be eligible for the awards if they’ve resided in the country for five years or more.

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“This is the UK I know, and the UK I grew up with – one of acceptance and diversity,” she told NME of the historic rule change back in February. “It feels really special.

“I do applaud BPI for going above and beyond. I didn’t think they’d include the clause of five years [of UK residence], I thought they’d go for 10 years. And they’ve included people who were born here but might have been living somewhere else. It’s really fantastic.”

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