Mercury Prize: Little Simz leapfrogs Wet Leg as new favourite
Rapper Little Simz leads way in Mercury Prize odds
Little Simz has overtaken Wet Leg as the new favourite in the Mercury Prize odds.
The 28-year-old Londoner is 5/2 in the betting to win with her acclaimed album Sometimes I Might Be Introvert.
Isle of Wight duo Wet Leg were the frontrunners when the nominations were announced but are now second at 7/2, with Self Esteem closing in at 4/1.
Here we look at all 12 acts to win the award which will be presented at Hammersmith Apollo on September 8.
Little Simz – Sometimes I Might Be Introvert
The fourth album of multi-award-winning Little Simz deals with the battle between self and public persona, kicking off with the majestic six-minute Introvert, a brassy track at odds with its title.
The London rapper was up for the Mercury in 2019 for the excellent Grey Area which somehow only managed to reach 87 in the album charts and it remains a mystery why she has not received mainstream success like some of her peers.
That could all change with BBC Radio 6 Music’s album of the year Sometimes I Might Be Introvert – the acronym spells out her nickname Simbi – and she thinks so too judging by the ninth track in this 65-minute, 19-song album as she sings “I think I need a standing ovation/10 years in the game, I been patient”.
She made her Glastonbury debut on the West Holts Stage in 2016 and performed again on the same stage this year.
This year she was named Best New Artist at the Brit Awards and performed during the ceremony with actress Emma Corrin making a surprise appearance.
Wet Leg – Wet Leg
Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers became friends at Isle of Wight College and a decade later formed a band that has taken the music world by storm.
Their name came from playing a game to find band names using an emoji keyboard and Wet Leg was the one that stuck.
Their first single, last year’s Chaise Longue, contained the immortal line: “Is your muffin buttered? Would you like us to assign someone to butter your muffin?”, so with lyrics like that it’s no surprise the song went viral.
Witty and carefree, their catchy songs and glorious videos have drawn an army of celebrity fans like Dave Grohl, Jack White and Lorde.
They said: “It’s been just over a year since our first gig and we are all still in shock at where this journey has taken us. When we started the band, we never really thought we’d get the opportunity to make any recordings at all, let alone a whole album… and now to have that album nominated for a Mercury has left us absolutely lost for words.”
Self Esteem – Prioritise Pleasure
Prioritise Pleasure is the second studio album of Rebecca Taylor, formerly of Sheffield folk duo Slow Club.
— Rebecca Lucy Taylor (@SELFESTEEM___) July 26, 2022
The songwriter, singer and multi-instrumentalist released her debut album Compliments Please in 2019, and famously performed at Glastonbury the same year in a minidress made of Boots Advantage Cards.
A great, thoughtful and confident pop record that opposingly deals with self-doubt in a darkly humorous way, this could be the one to take away the prize.
Yard Act – The Overload
The Leeds-based rock quartet comprises James Smith, Ryan Needham, Sam Shjipstone and Jay Russell, and their debut album The Overload landed at number two on the UK albums chart following its release in January.
The group released their first single at the start of lockdown and recently recut their song 100% Endurance with Elton John, who is a big fan.
Yard Act are one of the biggest movers in the Mercury Prize betting, their odds shortening from 10/1 to 6/1 since the nominations were announced.
Gwenno – Tresor
The Welsh musician garnered praise for her album, which means treasure in Cornish. The album is sung in Cornish, except for one song which is in Welsh.
✧･ﾟ: *✧･ﾟ:* Gwenno's 'Tresor' is shortlisted for the Mercury Prize 2022 *:･ﾟ✧*:･ﾟ✧
— Heavenly Recordings (@heavenlyrecs) July 26, 2022
The release was written and recorded during the pandemic which the singer said “benefited” the album.
Daughter of Cornish poet Tim Saunders, Gwenno grew up in Wales speaking Cornish as her first language and her performance on Later With Jools Holland was a success, prompting wider conversations on the Cornish language.
Nova Twins – Supernova
The south-east London rock duo, comprising singer Amy Love and bassist Georgia South, recently took home the best British breakthrough prize at the Kerrang! music awards.
Pt 2. We hold ‘Supernova’ very close to our hearts, so being seen as 1 of the 12 best albums this year is insane. To be the first black women to be shortlisted in Rock & Alt Music is a testament to all the women that pushed the scene forward before us, creating a space for us. pic.twitter.com/yhL8bqdgNj
— NOVA TWINS (@NovaTwinsMusic) July 26, 2022
The childhood friends come from musical stock and their debut album Who Are the Girls? – released in 2020 – earnt them critical acclaim.
This year the duo were nominated twice at the NME awards for best UK band and best band in the world.
Kojey Radical – Reason to Smile
The grime, hip-hop and alternative rap musician recently played at the BBC Proms and will feature in upcoming festivals including Lost Village and Liverpool International Music Festival.
Performed a couple of songs at @bbcproms for @BBCR1 and brought a few people with me 👀 tune in to bbc 4 tonight at 9pm @cashtasticmusic @PoppyAjudha @TianaMajor9 @12ensemble 🙏🏿 pic.twitter.com/sdhBRW7Yve
— kojeyRadical (@KojeyRadical) July 22, 2022
He wrote on Instagram of being nominated for his debut album: “In 2015, Young Fathers took me on my first tour. They had just won the Mercury Prize and gave me an opportunity that changed my life. In 2016 I was sat at home watching Skepta win the Mercury Prize and being physically moved with inspiration.
“I always dreamed of being shortlisted. Creating a piece of work that could be considered worthy of recognition while joining my peers in the honour.”
Jessie Buckley & Bernard Butler – For All Our Days That Tear the Heart
Buckley recently won best actress in a musical at the Olivier awards for her turn as Sally Bowles in Cabaret alongside Eddie Redmayne.
We are delighted to announce that our album “For All Our Days That Tear The Heart” has been shortlisted for the 2022 @mercuryprize with @FreeNow_UK
Thank you to everyone for the continued support. ❤️ #MercuryPrize pic.twitter.com/PureMnfSM6
— Jessie Buckley & Bernard Butler (@buckleyxbutler) July 26, 2022
The Chernobyl actress was also nominated for best supporting actress at the Baftas this year for her role in Maggie Gyllenhaal’s directorial debut The Lost Daughter, which also starred Olivia Colman and Dakota Johnson.
She joined forces with Brit Award-winning producer and former Suede guitarist Butler to create an album that grew from a shared love of and ancestral attachment to Ireland.
Best of the rest
A finalist in the BBC’s Jazz Musician of the Year, Scottish pianist Fergus McCreadie is 16/1 for Forest Floor, the same price as Harry Styles who has been nominated for his third solo album Harry’s House.
South London jazz artist Joy Crookes is also 16/1 for debut album Skin, while Geordie Sam Fender, a big at Glastonbury this year, is also in the running at 20/1 for his second album Seventeen Going Under.
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication