Self Esteem special feature
The 36-year-old, who performs under the nom de plume Self Esteem, will headline a Rock N Roll Circus' event at Sheffield’s Don Valley Bowl on Saturday.
The South Yorkshirewoman says she “had to come back one more time before I fully commit to writing again”>
The Advertiser recently reported how Rebecca received a University of Sheffield doctorate to mark her views on diversity.
But who is Rebecca Lucy Taylor?
She was born into a musical family in Anston.
Her dad was a steelworks health and safety officer and also a keyboard player, although he did not crave an audience like she does, often playing solo in the loft, says Rebecca.
Her mum was also musical, playing the violin, but she says both were modest about their talents.
Rebecca grew up listening to the Carpenters and the Beach Boys. She used to pretend the conservatory floor was a stage and she would write songs for her pals at the age of ten
Her great-grandfather played for Sheffield Wednesday, whom she supports.
"My Dad and my brother played cricket,” she said.
“All my weekends would be at the cricket ground."
Sometimes she would stroll away with her Walkman for company in Anston Stones Wood.
Rebecca retains some affection for her home area - three years ago, on a flying visit, she tweeted: “I’m in Dinnington in Rotherham. If anyone has anyone vulnerable who needs any help, DM me.”
“I played cricket really well, I could have been a cricketer,” Rebecca recalled.
She also loved acting, treading the boards at Dinnington Operating Society and elsewhere.
At school, she said, she was the “weird blonde girl with a guitar...and very emotional”.
The music and drama teachers cultivated her desire to progress, although she failed to get into drama school at 18.
And briefly, after school, she worked as a phlebotomist.
A PENCHANT FOR THE ODD:
Taylor performed at Glastonbury 2019 in a mini-dress made of Boots Advantage cards.
She once described TV’s Rylan as “the second coming of Christ almighty”.
And it’s fair to say she is not a huge fan of Christmas - she wrote a song called: “All I want for Christmas is a work email.”
As for Meadowhall: “Being on the video wall in the Oasis food court is still a major goal of mine.”
She said one of her favourite nights out was “getting smashed” with Carol Vorderman.
HER MUSIC PATHWAY:
She made her name as a member of the Slow Club Indie duo, travelling around the country in an uncomfortable Peugeot 206, before getting gigs all around the world.
Her Self Esteem performances and music are “warts and all” - a real representation of herself, rather than when she was trying to make a brand for herself.
“I was pretty miserable in my 20s,” she said, adding: “I really struggled with my mental health for my whole 20s.”
Now, she says women fans in their 30s, “who have not had kids or got married”, are her “congregation”.
WHY DID SHE BREAK UP SLOW CLUB WITH CHARLES WATSON?
The couple met when she was 16 on the Sheffield gig circuit.
Even while they were together, from 2006 to 2017, they confessed they didn’t always share the same musical tastes.
“We weren’t growing, our audiences weren’t getting any bigger, we weren’t making money,” Rebecca recalled.
“I was creatively unfulfilled...we haven’t spoken to each other,” she said last year.
Looking back, she added, “I was performing a version of me that everybody else wanted.
“I got a theatre commission and it felt like a way out. I did a coward’s exit.
“I was unbelievably unhappy and it had to be done.
“It was unbearable - my mental health was through the toilet every day.”
EARLY MUSICAL INFLUENCES:
John Lennon, Neil Young, Fleetwood Mac, Bob Dylan and Alica Keys have all been cited as inspirational figures, and she is a big fan of Rihanna.
“I am from Rotherham, I was born 1986, and I am queer and that was difficult but I am proud of being queer and gorgeous,” said Rebecca at an acceptance speech at the Attitude Music Awards.
She had publicly announced her bisexuality in 2013, having said her 20s had been about “pleasing men”.
A night out was “only about getting off with someone”, Rebecca said, adding that she found that “gross”.
Rebecca dated an “idiot” lad one summer, before becoming “obsessed” with learning how to love herself.
The lyric: “I am going to get drunk and slag you off” referred to an actor she dated.
WHAT TERRIFIES HER?
“My impending loneliness...and big bangs.”
WHAT ARE HER NEGATIVES?
“I am pretty s**t at guitar - I have never got better, and I also can’t drive.”
She says she is “I am an emotional person”, confessing: “I worry about things all the time.. but that can be a good thing.
“A flaw of mine is that I am always saying: “Sorry”.
Rebecca says she is also hopeless at mathematics.
HOW SHOULD HER FANS BATTLE THEIR OWN DEMONS?
Rebecca advises people to be true to themselves, insisting: “You set your own bar.
“I was so addled by thinking I could be better.
“In the pandemic, I was painting and chilling and writing songs, the world stopped but I realised I was living my dream,” she remembered.
“Focus on what you are, not what you are not.
“Everybody should be who they are.”
WHY DID SHE GIVE HERSELF THE MONIKER SELF ESTEEM?
“I thought it would be a cool name,” she says. The Rebecca Taylor era can come later.
“I didn’t have any self-esteem, I hated myself.
“I had no idea that loving yourself was the only answer.”
Rebecca is a huge fan of Taskmaster, the comedy panel game and she said appearing on it was the biggest thrill of her year.
She also loved Succession, the American drama series, saying she had a crush on the character Siobhan “Shiv” Roy, and BoJack Horseman, an American adult animated comedy-drama.
She makes ceramic, nude versions of herself in her flat.