Explore Issue 01 of LOOP Magazine

Featuring Sam Tompkins and Victor Ray as our cover stars, as well as internal spreads from Girli, Jords, Mysie, Finn Askew, Kara Marni and Master Peace

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Rina Sawayama Leading Change

Music Award Ceremonies are well known for ruffling some feathers every year when it comes to which artists get nominated and which artists win on the night. It is widely known that there is a lot of bribery that goes on behind the scenes which in turn affects the nominations and wins. The revelation of the Netflix TV Show “Emily in Paris” bribing their way to get nods from the Golden Globes this year is a prime example of this.

Last year, the prestigious Mercury Prize Awards suffered severe backlash and scrutiny in regards to who is eligible to get nominated. The Mercury’s is one of the most prestigious awards in the UK as there is only one award to battle it out for ;“Best Album”. It takes into consideration hundreds of albums each year from both British and Irish acts, and takes into account albums released on major labels and completely independent artists. Previous winners include Dizzee Racal, The xx and Alt-J. It then gets whittled down to a shortlist of 12 albums with the winner being revealed on the night. If you are lucky enough to even get nominated, it is most likely your album will see a surge in sales.

Last year breakout star Rina Sawayama, who was born in Japan, released her debut album “Sawayama” to widespread critical acclaim from both fans and music journalists. In the run-up to the nominations being announced, fans were eager to see the album make the prestigious shortlist, but were left disappointed when the album was omitted from the nominations as she was deemed ‘ineligible’ as she does not hold a British passport. At the time the BPI (British Phonographic Industry) stated in order to be considered for the prize, an artist must submit official documentation of citizenship. Rina has lived in the UK for over 25 years and holds indefinite leave to remain as well as being a tax payer in the UK. When all this came to light, including the fact she wouldn’t be eligible for BRIT nominations, the public made it very clear that they did not agree with the BPI and that Sawayama should receive some kind of justice by creating the hashtag #SAWAYAMAISBRITISH which trended in the UK.

Luckily, the cries of the public did not fall on deaf ears and on the 24th February Rina revealed on her socials that the BPI has now officially changed their rules of eligibility for the Mercury Prize and BRIT Awards. The rules now state that one does not need to hold a British passport in order to be nominated and now includes those who have been a resident of the UK for 5 years. This type of change within the system is monumental and promotes diversity and inclusion within the UK.

Words by Jack Shephard

Posted On 3 October, 2022