As reported by Vice, Rina Sawayama was deemed ineligible to enter for a Mercury Prize this year despite having lived in the UK since she was a toddler.
Currently signed to UK label, Dirty Hit, Sawayama boasts a seven-year contribution to the British music scene. In spite of this alongside her Indefinite Leave to Remain status (ILR), which allows the artist to be tax registered to the UK, she was heartbroken upon discovering the unjust barrier between herself and one of her ultimate ambitions.
In her exclusive Vice interview, Sawayama stated: “I’ve just lived here all my life. I went to summer school in Japan, and that’s literally it. But I feel like I’ve contributed to the UK in a way that I think is worthy of being celebrated, or at least being eligible to be celebrated.” Facts.
This rejection has lead the 29-year-old to call into question her own Britishness and ergo her holistic identity as a Japanese-British artist.
In an industry that supposedly honours diversity, it’s unacceptable that an artist with a contribution of this scale should be overlooked on the basis of not holding a British or Irish passport. And it’s not just Mercury, the BRITs have similar barriers to entry.
We stand by Rina Sawayama in her appeal against this gross inequity. You can stream the singer’s ambitious and futuristic self-titled electro-pop record at the link below.