The shortlist was unveiled on Tuesday morning 26 July, comprising 12 albums – from rap and indie to Cornish folk-rock – that will compete for the coveted award at a ceremony held this September.
This year’s entries are among the most eclectic in recent years. Little Simz is shortlisted for the second time with her critically adored Sometimes I Might Be Introvert, following on from her nod in 2019 for GREY Area.
Rock singer Sam Fender receives his debut nomination for his second LP, Seventeen Going Under, as does pop star Harry Styles, who has been shortlisted for his third studio album, Harry’s House. His record is arguably the most “pure pop” album to be shortlisted since Ed Sheeran’s controversial nomination in 2017.
First-time nominees make up most of this year’s nominees, following last year’s shortlist that included 10 debuts. Artist Kojey Radical is shortlisted for his first full-length record, Reasons to Smile, while rock duo Nova Twins are up for their second album, Supernova, and Joy Crookes is included thanks to her debut, Skin. The debuts from indie bands Wet Leg and Yard Act have also been shortlisted.
Singer-songwriter Gwenno’s third record, Tresor, which is performed almost entirely in Cornish, completes the shortlist, along with Scottish pianist Fergus McCreadie’s Forest Floor, and For All Our Days That Tear the Heart, a collaborative project between Irish actor-singer Jessie Buckley and Suede musician Bernard Butler.
Conspicuously absent from this year’s shortlist is the “token jazz album”. Last year, jazz and experimental artists including Nubya Garcia, and Floating Points with Pharoah Sanders and the London Symphony Orchestra made the list.
See the full shortlist below:
Forest Floor – Fergus McCreadie
Tresor – Gwenno
Harry’s House – Harry Styles
For All Our Days That Tear the Heart – Jessie Buckley & Bernard Butler
Skin – Joy Crookes
Reason to Smile – Kojey Radical
Sometimes I Might be Introvert – Little Simz
Supernova – Nova Twins
Seventeen Going Under – Sam Fender
Prioritise Pleasure – Self Esteem
Wet Leg – Wet Leg