Scottish composer Anna Meredith has been shortlisted for this year’s Mercury Award for her second album Fibs, released in 2019.
For the first time in its 29-year history, the Mercury’s shortlist has been made up of predominantly women. Seven of the 12 acts shortlisted are women, while the previous record was five.
Anna Meredith previously held the position of composer in residence at the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. Her work for orchestra and choir Five Telegrams opened the 2018 First Night of the Proms.
Her genre-bending 2019 album Fibs combines electronic textures with more classical-style compositions.
The prize is open to all types of music, including pop, rock, folk, urban, grime, dance, jazz, blues, electronic and classical. All artists must be British or Irish.
A classical album has never won the Mercury Prize, with Anna Meredith being the first composer to be shortlisted since 2002, when pianist Joanna MacGregor was nominated for Play, a set of 20th-century piano miniatures.
Previous shortlisted composers include John Tavener, who was nominated in 1997 for Svyati and with cellist Steven Isserlis for The Protecting Veil in 1992; Peter Maxwell Davies, who was nominated in 1996 with the BBC Philharmonic for The Beltane Fire/Caroline Mathilde, Gavin Bryars in 1993 for Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet and Mark-Anthony Turnage in 1997 for Your Rockaby, his concerto for soprano saxophone.
The Mercury Prize is given annually to the best album released in the UK by a British or Irish act. This year’s shortlist also features Charli XCX, Dua Lipa, Laura Marling, Michael Kiwanuka and Porridge Radio, among others. Eight out of the shortlist of 12 have never been shortlisted before.
‘In a year that’s been personally and globally so difficult and so much feel so unknown and scary, to have something this positive and that I have believed in so much and poured so much of myself into is an amazing confidence boost for me and this album’, says Meredith. ‘I’m totally totally thrilled.’
The winner will be announced on 24 September by a panel of judges including musician Jorja Smith and Radio 1 DJ Annie Mac.
The full shortlist:
— Mercury Prize (@MercuryPrize) July 23, 2020