30 July 2020 00:43
The British-Japanese pop star Rina Sawayama has expressed her frustration that her debut album was ineligible for this year's Mercury prize because she does not hold a British passport, Vice reports. Since Japan prohibits holding dual nationality, she has retained her Japanese passport in order to feel close to her family, who live in her country of birth. Mercury organising body the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) stipulates that solo artists must have British or Irish nationality to enter the competition and submit official documentation of citizenship. A BPI spokesperson said: "Both the Brit awards and the Hyundai Mercury prize aim to be as inclusive as possible within their parameters, and their processes and eligibility criteria are constantly reviewed." The organisation did not answer questions from the Guardian. Prestigious British songwriting awards the Ivor Novellos, on the other hand, require artists to have lived in the UK for one year to be considered eligible.
Sawayama said she wanted British awards bodies to take into account artists who have indefinite leave to remain "and change the rules to what Britishness means to them. The nominations for the 2020 Mercury prize were announced last week: Anna Meredith – Fibs; Charli XCX – How I'm Feeling Now; Dua Lipa – Future Nostalgia; Georgia – Seeking Thrills; Kano – Hoodies All Summer; Lanterns on the Lake – Spook the Herd; Laura Marling – Song for Our Daughter; Michael Kiwanuka – Kiwanuka; Moses Boyd – Dark Matter; Porridge Radio – Every Bad; Sports Team – Deep Down Happy; Stormzy – Heavy Is the Head. British-Japanese pop star Rina Sawayama says she was "heartbroken" to find she is ineligible for The Brit Awards and The Mercury Prize. The singer has lived in the UK for 25 years, after her family moved from Japan, and considers herself British. Although she had indefinite leave to remain, she does not hold a British passport, ruling her out of the country's biggest music prizes.
London (CNN) British-Japanese singer Rina Sawayama has criticized two major British music awards, saying their eligibility rules mean she is unable to enter the Mercury Music Prize or the BRIT Awards. Despite living in the UK for 25 years and considering herself British, the 29-year-old musician said she is barred from submitting her music for the Mercury prize or domestic categories at the BRITs because she has indefinite leave to remain in the country rather than full British citizenship. Japan, where Sawayama was born, is one of a number of countries that forbid dual citizenship and the 29-year-old star said she is reluctant to renounce her citizenship because of ties with family members. Rina Sawayama said she wants to "dream the same dream as everyone else" after learning she wasn't eligible for either the Mercury Prize or the BRIT Awards because she doesn't have a British passport. The British-Japanese artist, who won plaudits for her debut album SAWAYAMA back in April, has lived in the UK for 25 years and holds indefinite leave to remain.
Despite having lived continuously in the UK for the last 25 years and having "indefinite leave to remain", Sawayama is not a British citizen and so will not be considered for the Mercury Prize or the BRITs, according to their terms and conditions. The pansexual artist told VICE that not being eligible to enter was "heartbreaking", and added: "I rarely get upset to the level where I cry. Rina Sawayama found being unable to enter the Mercury Prize and the BRITs 'othering'.