Mercury Prize 2023: Arctic Monkeys, Raye, and Fred Again compete for best album award

Arctic Monkeys, Raye, and Fred Again are among the artists competing for this year’s Mercury Prize.

The shortlist was announced in July, unveiling the dozen albums by British and Irish acts who are competing for the coveted music prize, which is annually awarded to the best album released in the UK by a British or Irish act that year.

The winner will be crowned at an awards show held at the Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith, London, on Thursday (7 September).

This year’s shortlist represents a wildly varied mix of genres and musical styles, from the jazz quintet Ezra Collective, nominated for their 2022 album Where I’m Meant to Be, to afroswing rapper J Hus (for his album Beautiful and Brutal Yard).

Arctic Monkeys, the Alex Turner-fronted Sheffield outfit that headlined Glastonbury earlier this year, are shortlisted for the fourth time for their 2022 album The Car. (The Independent awarded the album four stars in a review last year.)

Arctic Monkeys have won the award once before, for their 2007 debut album, Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not.

Several of the 2023 nominees are celebrating their first ever Mercury nomination, including Ezra Collective, Fred Again, and art pop duo Jockstrap, who are nominated for their 2022 debut album I Love You Jennifer B.

Irish folk group Lankum, soul singer Olivia Dean, and pop sensation Raye are also shortlisted for the first time, along with dance musician Shygirl. You can read The Independent’s five-star review of Raye’s latest album here.

You can also read The Independent’s interviews with Olivia Dean, Raye, Shygirl.

London-born rapper Loyle Carner has received his second spot on the shortlist, this time for his album Hugo. Scottish indie group Young Fathers are also back for a second round, while singer-songwriter Jessie Ware has been shortlisted for the first time in over a decade – you can read The Independent’s recent interview with Ware here.

“It means a lot,” said Ware to The Guardian. “It’s a prestigious award and recognition and I think I feel far more ready to receive it 11 years on. Being up for my debut was kind of amazing and overwhelming – I appreciated it then but I think I will really relish the moment this time.”

The shortlist was selected by an independent judging panel of critics, DJs, fellow musicians and industry experts.

Alex Turner onstage with the Arctic Monkeys at Glastonbury (PA)
Alex Turner onstage with the Arctic Monkeys at Glastonbury (PA)

Created by Jon Webster and Robert Chandler, the Mercury Prize, formerly called the Mercury Music Prize, is an annual accolade awarded to the best album released in the UK by a British or Irish act that year.

Scottish rock band Primal Scream were the first recipients of the prize in 1992. Winners have since included Suede, Pulp, Ms Dynamite, Dizzee Rascal, PJ Harvey, and Badly Drawn Boy.

In recent years, Arlo Parks, Michael Kiwanuka, Dave, and Wolf Alice have been feted with the award.

Last year, British-Nigerian rapper Little Simz triumphed with her album Sometimes I Might Be Introvert.

The 29-year-old beat out fellow nominees including pop star Harry Styles, Joy Crookes, rock duo Nova Twins, singer-songwriter Sam Fender, Self Esteem, and indie-rock duo Wet Leg.

See the full 2023 shortlist below:

Arctic Monkeys, The Car

Ezra Collective, Where I’m Meant to Be

Fred again.., Actual Life 3 (January 1 - September 9 2022)

J Hus, Beautiful And Brutal Yard

Jessie Ware, That! Feels Good!

Jockstrap, I Love You Jennifer B

Lankum, False Lankum

Loyle Carner, hugo

Olivia Dean, Messy

RAYE, My 21st Century Blues

Shygirl, Nymph

Young Fathers, Heavy Heavy