With the announcement of the 2020 Mercury Awards came the typical debates over which albums got snubbed. But one notable record, Rina Sawayama’s incredible debut SAWAYAMA, was omitted for a particularly strange reason.

According to the Mercury Awards rules: “Artists must be of British or Irish nationality. Artists are of British or Irish nationality if they hold a passport for either the United Kingdom or Ireland and/or a birth certificate from the United Kingdom or Ireland (‘British’ or ‘Irish’ respectively).”

Sawayama, who has lived in the UK for 25 years since moving from Japan, maintains immigration status, or indefinite leave to remain (ILR). Due to this minor stipulation, Sawayama’s incredibly unique record isn’t eligible for the prize awarded to the top album in British music each year.

It’s worth noting that Elton John called SAWAYAMA the “strongest album of the year by far.” Hey Brits, maybe you should fix this rule and appease myself, Elton and the rest of the Pixels with a Merucry nom!

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