ESKA - 'ESKA' - Mercury Nomination 2015

  • Kenny Vaughan
  • Charlie IXCHEL

The vision toward the 2015 Mercury Prize and its orchestration by a 2-man label.

I had the the opportunity and pleasure to work with ESKA on her debut album campaign in 2015.

ESKA's Debut selt-titled album still shines today as a masterful, one-of-a-kind work of art, pulling together moments to tell a story, mixing and crossing genres with poetic calculation. Our label (Naim Records) had already established itself in the Jazz world with albums such as MOBO Award winning 'Burn' by Sons Of Kemet - but this (as well as every album) deserved its own narrative and reach across multiple genres.

As soon as we heard ESKA's album and after many conversations with ESKA herself we set our target for the Mercury Prize and worked backwards. We placed markers on fields we wanted to meticulously concentrate on, with calculated benchmarks in place. The begun with a brand new bespoke team that we pulled together to champion these areas and achievements. Our part to play in this storyline as a label was to ensure that everyone had everything they needed.

A year of consistent work later, ESKA was successfully nominated for the Mercury Prize live on BBC Radio 6 and was one of the four live artists to perform on the Mercury Prize 2015 show. ESKA only narrowly missed the prize to Universal's incredible Benjamin Clementine.

The takehomes for this campaign were as follows:
- Articulating a vision and a plan is a powerful campaign asset.
- A team playing to their strengths is a master of all.
- Work with an artist you truly believe deserves the effort.