"The doctor will see you now!": singer Self Esteem's celebratory tweet as she accepts honorary university doctorate

SINGER-songwriter Self Esteem picked up a doctorate this week and told students: “The journey is never over.”

Rotherham-born musician Rebecca Taylor, a former member of Dinnington Operatic Society, was given the prestigious honorary doctorate by the University of Sheffield in recognition of her burgeoning career and championing of diversity and inclusivity.

The 36-year-old, who was one half of duo Slow Club before going solo, was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize for her album Prioritise Pleasure and her song I Do This All The Time was the Guardian’s Song of the Year for 2021.

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And in her acceptance speech at the university on Monday, she gave a glimpse of her ongoing battle with self-doubt, explaining: “When I was asked if I could accept a doctorate, my first thought was: ‘Well, I don’t deserve it.

“Everyone will think: ‘Who is this anyway?’

“She never went to a university.

“When I was watching celebrity doctorate speeches on YouTube and felt myself getting very nervous about it because I’m not Beyonce or Stanley Tucci or Michelle Obama or James Blunt.”

But she added: “When this morning I was looking in the mirror and thinking I didn’t look good enough, I realised the journey is never over.

“Everything I said about believing in myself doesn’t come easy or naturally.

“It’s a lifelong practice.”

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Rebecca - who Tweeted a photo of herself in doctoral robes, captioned “The doctor will see you now” - praised students for having “committed to something, whether it came easily or naturally”, both in the “exhilarating moments of something making sense”, and “when you weren’t sure you’d get through to the end”.

She added: “You’re now at the bottom of a new mountain and the top of the mountain is the end of your life, and you and me are just going to be constantly going up it.”

Rebecca, one of 12 people given honorary doctorate, is a proud ambassador for South Yorkshire, having worn a Meadowhall-inspired outfit as she performed at Glastonbury.

She champions inclusive and diverse communities and works to raise women’s aspirations.

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Rebecca said this week that she was keen to make her image the least important thing about her.

Of her doctorate, she said she was “insanely chuffed” to accept it and being so acknowledged “bolsters my dream of changing so much for people in music like me”.

A multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, songwriter and theatre composer, Rebecca also won the 2021 BBC Music Introducing award and most recently composed the soundtrack to the West End production of Suzie Miller's play Prima Facie, starring Jodie Comer.

Prof Gill Valentine, deputy Vice-chancellor of the University of Sheffield, said: “Rebecca Lucy Taylor follows a long line of successful musicians who have continued to put Sheffield on the map. 

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“Her work to promote inclusive and diverse communities aligns with our values at the University, and we are pleased to welcome her into the wider University of Sheffield family.

“We are incredibly proud to recognise the achievements of all our honorary graduates, who have contributed so much in their respective fields. 

“We hope they will go on to be advocates and ambassadors for the University, as well as help inspire our students to success during the next stage of their lives.”