Ed Sheeran’s Mercury prize nomination was a dream come true - but will he win?

Ed Sheeran, pictured headlining Glastonbury, was mentioned in the interview. Picture: YUI MOK/PA WIR

Ed Sheeran, pictured headlining Glastonbury, was mentioned in the interview. Picture: YUI MOK/PA WIRE - Credit: PA

Ed Sheeran has said it was a “real honour” to be nominated for the Mercury music prize – but admits he won’t win.

The Suffolk superstar’s album ÷ (Divide) was named alongside the likes of Stormzy, The XX and Loyle Carner as one of 12 to appear on this week’s announced shortlist for the prize.

Welcoming his nomination in a post on Instragram, Ed, who grew up in Framlingham, said: “My dream when I first started music was to sell out Shepher’s Bush Empure and have a Mercury nominated album.”

With a reputation for picking obscure, under-the-radar acts, such as Roni Size, Talvin Singh and, most recently, Skepta, Ed’s already five-times platinum selling album has been seen by some as a departure from the prize’s roots.

Alexis Petridis, the Guardian’s head rock and pop critic and the music editor of GQ, described Ed’s album as the “apotheosis of the kind of critically reviled but commercially huge album that the Mercury opts to overlook”.


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Ed himself admits in the Instagram post that he’s “not the most critically acclaimed artist out there”.

“But today lo and behold, woke up to find out Divide has been shortlisted,” he wrote.

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“Now I’m aware I won’t win, but to be put on the shortlist is a real honour, and something that makes both 26 year old me and 13 year old me very happy and proud.

“So thank you to whoever put me up for it. I’m sorry I can’t make the ceremony as I’m still touring the USA. But thank you. You rock x.”

While some have criticised Ed’s nomination, others have come to the singer’s defence.

Prize judge Ella Eyre told the Press Association: “He had one of the biggest albums of the year you can’t deny that, you can’t deny there’s that many people who enjoy that album and I have to say you cannot deny that he can write a bloody good pop song.

“He is a very talented man and I think that album I really enjoyed and I think a lot of us did.”

Announcing the shortlist, earlier this week, the judges said: “This year’s Hyundai Mercury Prize shortlist celebrates the remarkable power of British music. What these artists have in common is an infectious pleasure in music making and an arresting sense of urgency about the music they make. They delight in exploring musical possibilities and refusing to be pinned down by genre conventions.”

What do you think of the nomination? Comment below or take part in our poll.

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