Novelist on the Mercury Prize and not being ‘pigeonholed’ by grime

"My only competition is me"

Novelist has opened up about the diversity of his album after being shortlisted for this year’s Mercury Music Prize. Watch our red carpet interview above.

The Skepta collaborator’s long-awaited and acclaimed debut ‘Novelist Guy‘ made the shortlist for this year’s prize alongside the likes of Arctic Monkeys, Jorja Smith, Lily Allen, Wolf Alice, Nadine Shah and more.

“I really do feel happy that the art is considered as a great piece of art,” Novelist told NME about his nomination. “I feel like I’ve got an A*.”


He continued: “I think [the album is] very DIY. I produced it myself, I wrote it myself and it’s a very positive album as well. It’s a reflection of my personality and who I am on the day to day. I’m sure there are many other people who can relate. I think it’s a breath of fresh air for people who haven’t heard music of that sort for quite a while. I’m really happy about that.”

Asked about labelled as grime, Novelist said: “Everyone said that it exceeds expectations. That’s what I was trying to do because I’ve grown up so many different types of music – so when I was making it I wanted to put different types of music and vibes into my stuff. Regardless of whether people pigeonhole it or not, anyone who listens to it is probably going to take something else from it that is outside of the box. It’s there to be had.”

Novelist at the nominations for the Mercury Music Prize 2018

And what are his thoughts on the competition?

“My only competition is me, bro. God’s taken me this far – so wherever he takes to me to is where I’m going to go. I hope the best for everyone else that is shortlisted.”

The 2018 Mercury Music Prize ceremony will take place on Thursday 20 September at the Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith.