Controversial new loophole emerges...

It seems a controversial loophole means that Rina Sawayama is 'not British enough' to be nominated for the Mercury Prize and the BRIT Awards.

Rina Sawayama's extraordinary debut album 'SAMAYAMA' landed earlier this year, a record awarded 9/10 right here on Clash.

Tipped by many - including Elton John - it seems that a cruel sub-section of the rules means that Rina isn't eligible for either the Hyundai Mercury Prize or the BRIT Awards.

Rina Sawayama has the visa category indefinite leave to remain (ILR), a status that means she is treated - in most ways - like a UK citizen.

Speaking to Vice, Rina has revealed that having ILR doesn't qualify her for many major awards, despite having living in this country since she was a toddler.

Label Dirty Hit approached the Mercury and BRIT teams on her behalf, and were rebuffed.

Describing her reaction, she says: “It was so heartbreaking... I rarely get upset to the level where I cry. And I cried.”

According to the Mercury terms and conditions, artists with ILR aren't legible - solo artists must be able to prove British or Irish nationality to enter, usually via a form of identification such as a passport.

It's a cruel sub-section of the rules, particularly given that if Rina was a member of a group with majority UK citizen status she would actually be able to enter.

Ironically, Rina Sawayama's rise was partly enabled by a BPI Music Export Growth Scheme, a grant to support young British musicians - yet the BPI is also the industry body that lies behind the Mercury and the BRIT Awards.

“All I remember is living here,” Rina tells VICE. “I've just lived here all my life. I went to summer school in Japan, and that's literally it. But I feel like I've contributed to the UK in a way that I think is worthy of being celebrated, or at least being eligible to be celebrated.”

Find the full VICE interview HERE.

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