THE Scot nominated for one of the UK’s most prestigious music awards has called it a “huge” moment for the industry in Scotland.

Fergus McCreadie was announced on Tuesday as one of the 12 shortlisted artists up for Album of the Year at the 2022 Mercury Prize.

The musician, who studied jazz at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow, will be up against the likes of Harry Styles, Sam Fender and Wet Leg in the running for the competition which aims to recognise the best UK album of the last 12 months.

Previous winners include the Arctic Monkeys, Pulp and Scottish rock band Franz Ferdinand.

READ MORE: 'We wanted a dream venue': Creating Scotland's 'Pianodrome'

McCreadie, who is up for his third album Forest Floor, said it’s yet to sink in that he’s just been nominated for such a massive prize.

“It's quite intense,” he told The National. “It's surprising but it's amazing. And it’s very good for Scotland as well.

“It feels great but it's quite weird. I don't know how much it's actually sunk in at this point yet. It's amazing to have your music validated in that way and put it in amongst such prestigious artists.”

Asked if the nomination is something he had expected, the 25-year-old said: “Literally, not in the slightest. I got the call a week ago. I was completely shocked.”

The National: Fergus McCreadie said he wasn't expecting the nominationFergus McCreadie said he wasn't expecting the nomination

The award, the jazz pianist said, is not solely an achievement for him but marked a point for the entire industry in Scotland.

“I think for Scottish music it is such a huge thing,” he said. “There are so many great Scottish bands in the history of music in general but I think for Scottish jazz it feels like now is the time for it to really shine because there have always been so many amazing musicians.

“Hopefully this can provide a lot of opportunities and open the floodgates for everyone elsewhere to realise how great music and jazz in Scotland really is.

“To me, this is not really my achievement, you know, it's a Scottish jazz achievement. And it's everyone else around us. I wouldn't be who I was without all of my friends and colleagues in the jazz scene. I really, really hope it can do good things for everyone.”

While McCreadie has played the piano from a young age, he said he never really took to it until he saw someone play jazz - and that changed it all for him.

His third album is a product of the Covid lockdown. Like many musicians, McCreadie took the extra time he found on his hands and used it to create music - the music that would go on to be shortlisted for the Mercury Prize.

Travelling back up to Inverness to live with his parents, the pianist told how nature inspired his music.

The National: Fergus McCreadie is nominated for his third jazz album Forest FloorFergus McCreadie is nominated for his third jazz album Forest Floor

He said: “When lockdown first came in, I moved back to my parents away from Glasgow because I wanted some company.

“I spent a lot of time there walking because everyone had so much time, hill-walking and seeing the forest and being with nature again.

“I don't think I realised that at the time but I think subconsciously that did have an effect and I did feel a lot more inspired.

“I actually wrote all the music for this album in a really quick succession. I think it took me about two weeks or something. And then that was done and I think I decided to call it Forest Floor because the music felt a bit more grounded and earthy than the last album.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon congratulates Scottish author on Booker Prize longlist

“I wanted the ideal situation to listen to this album to be with some headphones in a forest lying on the floor. I think in that image was inspiring to me so that's what I face.”

The musician was told a week in advance about his nomination and was asked to keep quiet but as soon as word got out he found his phone “exploding”.

“It was weird to walk around with this big thing on my back but I’ve got rid of it. I told the others in the band and they were really happy about it,” he said. “It’s a big achievement for them as they were on the album. I think everyone is excited for what this can do for all of us.”

Asked what’s next, McCreadie said he will be playing as much as possible, with gigs across Scotland and Europe planned for the coming months.

More information can be found here