Ed Sheeran’s great year recently got even better when the “Shape of You” singer snagged two more important accolades in his native UK at 2017’s midpoint. First, he made the 2017 Mercury Prize Shortlist and second, his chart-busting, record-setting Divide album tops UK Official Charts half-year Entertainment Chart, out-ranking “Rogue One – A Star Wars Story” by nearly double the amount of units sold.
This means Sheeran is in the running with 11 other finalists including his pal and collaborator Stormzy for the music equivalent of the Booker Prize in literature and his album is commanding a bigger draw than the latest DVD installment of one of the biggest film franchises of all time. Official Charts reports 2,064, 966 units for Divide versus 1,180,496 units for “Rogue.” That’s pretty impressive, isn’t it?
The 2017 Mercury Prize is sponsored by Hyundai for the next three years. Per the official website, the main objectives of the Prize are “to recognise and celebrate artistic achievement, provide a snapshot of the year in music and to help introduce new albums from a range of music genres to a wider audience.”
It’s no surprise Sheeran made the prestigious cut for this year’s Album of the Year shortlist and some could speculate he could be one of the frontrunners, given the massive success of his musically and culturally eclectic album, which many fans and critics feel is his best work to date. Plus, he's broken all sorts of charting and streaming records around the world and so many dates on his Divide World Tour sold out so quickly, he's added more dates in an effort to meet his fans' high demand to see him play live.
Sheeran is notably competing with his pal Stormzy’s chart-topping debut albumGang Signs & Prayer for the Mercury honor, which promotes the best of UK and Irish music and the artists who produce it. Other nominees are:
alt-j – Relaxer
Blossoms – Blossoms
Glass Animals – How to Be a Human Being
J Hus – Common Sense
Kate Tempest – Let Them Eat Chaos
Loyle Carner – Yesterday’s Gone
Sampha – Process
Dinosaur – Together, As One
The Big Moon – Love in the 4th Dimension
The xx – I See You
The 2017 Hyundai Mercury Prize will be awarded on Sept. 14 at the Eventim Apollo in London. Many of the shortlisted artists will perform at the live show. This year’s judging panel is comprised of music industry experts in various fields including musicians, music journalists and music presenters. 2017 artists on the judging panel include Ella Eyre, Jessie Ware and Marcus Mumford.
If Ed Sheeran wins, he’ll join a distinguished list of past Mercury Prize winners including last year’s winner Skepta, 2013 winner James Blake and current nominee Alt-J, who won the prize in 2012 for An Awesome Wave.
Click here for information on how to get tickets to the 2017 Hyundai Mercury Prize Award Show. Ed Sheeran is currently touring to support Divide. Click here for a list of AXS-ticketed shows and stay tuned to AXS for Ed Sheeran updates.