Little Simz hopes her album Grey Area will show people “it’s OK not to be OK”.

The Mercury Prize-nominated artist has said she is going through the same hardships as everyone else.

And Simz, real name Simbiatu Ajikawo, said she hopes her music can show that facing mental struggles is normal in modern society.

The rapper was speaking on the red carpet ahead of the 2019 Mercury Prize ceremony at the Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith, London, and described the exposure involved in making a personal record.

She said: “Grey Area is an album that is super personal, I feel like this album was a lot of me peeling back layers, definitely more exposed, definitely coming into myself as a woman, and I guess I want to let people know that it’s OK to not be OK, and it’s OK to not have everything figured out and it’s OK to not know it all.

“A lot of people look to musicians or artists like they’ve got everything figured out and it’s all fine, but we’re human and I just want people to know that.

“I’m going through what you’re going through.”

Simz, who appears in Netflix series Top Boy, said creating her latest release was a painful but cathartic process.

Describing making the album’s music, she said: “It’s kind of like rubbing salt in a wound.

“But I think for me to heal, to be open and honest and to put my feelings out there, and – not to out my business to everyone – but just so I can free myself in a sense, and I’m not walking around with all this stuff I’ve kept inside. I can just let it go.”

The winner is chosen from 12 acts nominated for best album release in United Kingdom by a British or Irish artist.