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The shortlist of albums nominated for the 2011 Barclaycard Mercury Prize was revealed in London on Tuesday. Debut album artists lead the dozen British music acts competing for one of the most coveted music awards in the UK.
British singer Adele, who stormed to the top of the charts in Britain and the United States with her second album "21", was one of 12 artists nominated for the Prize.
Also in the running for the annual award were previous winners Elbow and PJ Harvey, as well as London rapper Tinie Tempah, and James Blake for his self-titled debut album.
The annual award is given to the best album from the United Kingdom or Ireland. It is open to all musical genres with all albums being treated equally. The competition has established a reputation for unpredictable choices, often awarding more obscure acts or underdog contenders.
Gwilym Simcock, nominee, said, "For me as an instrumental musician it's a great honor to be alongside all these different artists who are a lot more well known and a lot more high profile than myself and hopefully to get my music out to a much wider audience of people who might not have heard it before."
While there were the two previous Mercury winners among the nominees, newcomers dominated the 2011 shortlist which included eight debut albums.
Anna Calvi, nominee, said, "It was about a week ago and my manager rung me and I was in France and he told me and I was really excited and jumped up and down in my hotel bedroom."
According to the Official Charts Company, in commercial terms Adele dominates the shortlist.
The 12 nominated albums have sold 3.9 million copies between them in Britain, of which Adele's "21" accounted for 2.7 million.
In distant second was Tempah's "Disc-Overy" with sales of 620-thousand copies, and in third was Elbow's "Build a Rocket Boys!" at 230-thousand.
Three albums on the Mercury shortlist have sold less than 10,000 copies each.
The winner of the award is to be announced on September 6th.