The Evening Standard

‘It’s othering’: Singer Rina Sawayama slams Mercury Prize eligibility rule

July 30, 2020

Pop star Rina Sawayama said she was left in tears after being told she is ineligible for two of the UK’s biggest music awards because she does not hold a British passport.

The 29-year-old singer was born in Japan but has lived in the UK for 25 years. 

To be eligible for the prestigious Mercury Prize or the Brit Awards, artists must be a British passport holder.

Japan does not allow dual nationality and Sawayama said while she has considered the move, she is reluctant to cut ties with the country of her birth.

She holds indefinite leave to remain status, which grants her the right to live and work in the UK.

In an interview with Vice, Sawayama said the experience was “othering”.

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