Watch Richard Hawley in session for The Line of Best Fit

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Somewhere between albums number six (Truelove’s Gutter) and seven (Standing at the Sky’s Edge – his Mercury nominated latest), Richard Hawley became a British institution.

How this happens is open for debate but it involves equal parts resilience, talent, effort, attitude and a fine dose of homegrown chutzpah. Synonymous with the city that raised him, Hawley’s pedigree has been marked by his survival of Britpop (the era primed him for the new century while most were eaten up by its legacy) and a back catalog that gets ever better with each subsequent release.

He remains at once credible and accessible, making music that perches confidently at the apex of several audiences with a northern swagger that’s both charming and wry.

Last month saw not only a Mercury nomination for Hawley but a bookies tip too – he sits ahead of the game, alongside Plan B as as the 4-1 favourite. A day before the nominations were announced, we met up witth Sheffield’s prodigal son at a bar in London’s West End for a Best Fit Session. Hawley gave us a trippy, slowed down version of album standout ‘Leave Your Body Behind You’.

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