Photo of Sam Lee by Marcus Waterloo
The Mercury Prize is one of Britain’s foremost music awards, celebrating recorded music of all genres by British and Irish musicians, and is often seen as the ‘musician’s music award.’ According to the Prize themselves, ‘the music on the album is the only thing taken into account.’
Known for their selection of artists who are perhaps lesser known, past nominees have included Rachel Unthank and the Winterset, Soweto Kinch and Talvin Singh (who won in 1999 for his album OK). This year’s shortlist was announced on Wednesday night and as well as the more conventional offerings, such as Plan B and Richard Hawley, included London folk singer Sam Lee.
Lee’s nominated album, Ground of its Own, was released in July to much critical acclaim (including a feature and five-star Top of the World review in Songlines issue #86). The album utilises influences from many more sources than just English folk, with Lee’s interest in Romany traditions shining through. He performs songs by British travellers as well as taking inspiration from other Gypsy sources, including those from Dagestan and India.
You can read our Top of the World review of Ground of its Own on our website.
For the full list of Mercury Prize 2012 nominees, including artist biographies and tracks, click here.