Leeds Conservatoire Graduate Makes Mercury Prize Shortlist with Yard Act

By Gemma Cross


Yard Act

Yard Act. Photo credit: James Brown

Leeds band Yard Act have been nominated for the prestigious Mercury Prize 2022 for their debut album ‘The Overload.’

James Smith, the band’s vocalist and lyricist, studied Music Production at Leeds Conservatoire (known then as Leeds College of Music). During this time, James formed Post War Glamour Girls with fellow students Alice Scott, Ben Clyde and James Thorpe-Jones.

It has been quite the year for Yard Act. ‘The Overload’ reached number two in the UK’s Official Album Chart in January, and the band were named as this summer’s most-booked new act at European festivals. In addition, Elton John collaborated with the band on a new studio version of their single ‘100% Endurance.’

Elton said, “From the first moment I heard Yard Act, I fell in love with James’ lyrics, and the way he’s delivered the song. Their sound is such a breath of fresh air. When James called and asked if I would come into the studio I instantly loved the idea. I started out as a session musician in the late ’60s and I absolutely loved it then.

“It was such a thrill to be thrown in with musicians I’d never met before, it pushed me out of my comfort zone and I became a better musician. During lockdown I had the time on my hands to really start doing that in a concerted way again, and I fell in love with the challenge and the process all over again. They’re a very special band, with a massive future ahead of them and I’m honoured they’ve let me be a part of their journey.”

The Mercury Prize ‘Albums of the Year’ celebrate and promote the best of British and Irish music, recognising artistic achievement across a range of contemporary music genres. The 12-strong shortlist was chosen by an independent judging panel, and the overall winner will be announced at a ceremony, now on Tuesday 18 October, at the Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith.

We wish Yard Act the best of luck for the Mercury Prize. The Prize’s broadcast partner, BBC Music, will be providing coverage of the event across BBC TV, BBC Radio 6 Music, online and social media.

Find Yard Act on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube

Listen to ‘The Overload’ on Spotify or Apple Music

Access information about our Music Production course

By Gemma Cross

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