David Bowie Tipped for Posthumous UK Mercury Music Prize Win

Bowie's Blackstar
Copies of 'Blackstar' the latest album by British musician David Bowie are on sale in a branch of HMV in central London, January 11, 2016. The singer's final album is tipped to win the prestigious Mercury Music Prize tonight. JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty

Nine months after his surprise death from cancer, David Bowie is tipped to take this year's Mercury Music Prize—one of the most prestigious U.K. recording-industry accolades—at an awards ceremony in London on Thursday night.

The Starman earned a posthumous nomination for his final album, Blackstar, released in January just two days before he died.

Bookmakers William Hill said that Bowie was the "clear favorite" to win with odds of 4/7. Following behind him is English singer Anohni (7/1) and grime rapper Skepta (8/1).

"Blackstar received widespread acclaim upon its release, and it certainly would not be seen as a token posthumous award should Bowie win as the odds suggest he will," said William Hill spokesman Joe Crilly.

Other big nominees include Radiohead for A Moon Shaped Pool, released in May, and rock band The 1975.

The award is decided by a panel of industry insiders, recording artists, radio DJs and influential journalists. Among this year's panel is producer Naughty Boy, singer Jessie Ware and BBC Radio 1 presenter and club DJ Annie Mac.

Bowie will have an overarching presence at Thursday's Mercury Music Prize ceremony as U.S. actor Michael C. Hall, the star of the musical Lazarus —featuring music and lyrics composed by the star—will perform the stage production's title track, which was also Bowie's final single release before his death.

Lazarus is transferring from Broadway in New York to the London stage in October, with Hall reprising his role.

Speaking on the BBC's Breakfast show, Hall said it was an "unspeakable honor" to perform the song at the ceremony.

Asked about Bowie's death and—with Blackstar —what many perceive to be his farewell to fans, the Dexter actor added: "I can't think of an exit from the stage more profound and chillingly beautiful than David's."

Hall also spoke about his first meeting with the iconic musician upon taking on the lead role in Lazarus last year. He recalled how he was "very nervous", but Bowie assured him he performed his songs perfectly. "He said, 'Michael, you're absolutely killing these songs.' I think he meant 'killing' in a good way."

A cast soundtrack album for the Lazarus musical was last week announced, which will include three as-yet-unheard recordings from Bowie—purported to be his last. Bowie recorded the songs "No Plan", "Killing a Little Time", and "When I Met You", which are performed in the musical, with his longtime producer Tony Visconti. The album is due for release on October 21.