Sept. 11 - Acts including Blur's Damon Albarn, poet and rapper Kate Tempest and singer FKA twigs make the shortlist for the 2014 Barclaycard Mercury Music Prize. Edward Baran reports.
The Mercury Music Prize often shines a light on the more offbeat and obscure acts of the British and Irish music scene. And this year was no exception -- with the only UK household name on the shortlist for album of the year being Damon Albarn. He's a favourite to win but so is this lady, the poet and singer Kate Tempest. SOUNDBITE, Kate Tempest, singer: "The whole thing is just absolutely insane and I think it's important to just own up to the fact that it feels like that. There is nothing cool about how I am feeling. I am feeling like 'aaaagh', you know!' (laughs) Another favourite, alternative R and B singer FKA twigs, is facing increased attention because of press speculation she's dating actor Robert Pattinson -- but she laughed off becoming a tabloid favourite. SOUNDBITE, FKA twiggs, singer, saying: "I mean I don't know I don't look at it. (laughs) I don't know, I just make music and I keep everything pretty low key and I don't feel like there's that much more attention like I am still getting on buses and I am still flying around." Other acts to make the shortlist include previous nominee singer Nick Mulvey, London band Bombay Bicycle Club and electro funk duo Jungle whose best known track is the uptempo Busy Earin'. The winner will be announced at an awards show in London on October 29.