‘I took a job as a fairy in a panto’: Self Esteem

For Self Esteem – AKA Rebecca Lucy Taylor – Glastonbury is exactly where it all started, type of. “It was Gary Lightbody!” she instructed Alexis Petridis in the 2nd of the Guardian’s onstage interviews with musicians on the William’s Green stage. “I was at faculty, he was in some of the [Glastonbury] footage and he did a Bright Eyes address.” She built a new musical discovery and was inspired to established off down her personal path as a musician.

It is been a extended a person: after a ten years in the indie duo Sluggish Club, Taylor quit to start off Self Esteem. She produced her debut solo album, Compliments Make sure you, in 2019 to quiet acclaim, but it wasn’t until eventually last year’s daring, ruthlessly self-inspecting Prioritise Pleasure that the Self Esteem phenomenon truly kicked off. It was the Guardian’s album of the 12 months, and her stay displays – which she describes, brilliantly, as “a sort of awful church” – have in close proximity to adequate turn out to be websites of pilgrimages, specially for adult pop lovers who want to hear their authentic-lifestyle experiences reflected back at them.

At initially, although, mentioned Taylor, she was “too afraid to say I was gonna go solo. I begun an Instagram beneath the title Self Esteem and begun publishing paintings and poems. It felt huge to me.” She spoke candidly about her ongoing function to attempt to lose the self-consciousness and people-pleasing that characterised her initial band working experience, in buy to be more true to her individual wants. “Being a girl, I feel like I’m inquiring too a great deal, I’m notice-searching for,” she stated. “It’s easy to go, ‘I’m gonna retain it safe and easy and that will maintain me liked’.”

As an ardent pop lover, existence in an indie band became stifling, she explained. “If you simply cannot be on your own, you go ridiculous, in any facet of existence. I know it was just a band but I went crazy, I couldn’t be myself. It’s tricky becoming from Rotherham and indicating this but I’m an artist, I wake up each and every day and want to make art. I was possessing to make artwork by way of anyone else’s lens.”

It was a series of ruptures that experienced kickstarted the Self Esteem project, she explained. She had break up from a long-expression spouse, left London and would work any job heading. “I took a task as a fairy in a panto,” she spelled out. “It was quite unenjoyable. I appreciated obtaining paid out but it was two reveals a working day, six days a week. I was breaking up with my spouse and I’d set the phone down and select up my wand.” In the meantime, she approached her new songs as if it was “like a complete-time work. The intention was just to exist at all and it’s fucking lovely. It’s develop into a right chortle.”

It was crucial to her that Self Esteem had a distinct type, she stated. “In Sluggish Club I utilised to wrestle with the actuality there was no manifesto, aesthetic – it was just two people’s thoughts. It’s not a excellent way to make artwork, I do not feel.” Component of that trademark arrives from Taylor’s frank lyricism about her have flaws – and the things that adult males have instructed her she is.

Self Esteem with Alexis Petridis at William’s Eco-friendly phase, Glastonbury festival. Photograph: Alicia Canter/the Guardian

“People are like, ‘It should be cathartic?’ And I don’t imagine it is,” she said. “It’s tricky but I get exhilarated, I get so significant off it. And I feel it is because in my lifetime, I in no way say what I indicate … In music, men and women do not inquire me what it is about, and that basic safety helps make me say what I imply and which is what I get out of it. I marvel if one working day I’ll just get to publish tracks about being in appreciate, you know how Ed Sheeran just writes a song about his girlfriend.”

When Taylor wrote her breakout single, past year’s I Do This All the Time, she realized she had “nailed it”, she admitted. In Gradual Club, she had always tried using to produce hits and failed. When she initial went solo, she investigated the world of cowriting with other songwriters and hated it. “With Prioritise Enjoyment, forcibly, mainly because of the pandemic, I was on my own. I wrote it with no end in sight, and that is how this album took place. And, of class, as quickly as you prevent making an attempt, the universe [hands you a gift]. Not to be all ‘live chuckle love’ but … ‘live laugh love’ is vital, is not it.”

New music gave Taylor an outlet for the comprehensive-throated expression she had generally sought, and struggled with in her individual existence, she stated. “It’s much more me than I am generating a cup of tea.”

She also spoke truthfully about the realities of remaining a musician and what needs to adjust in the songs market. Negative experiences with seem engineers had prompted her to hire her personal specialists, “which implies I acquire household much less dollars … It is so unregulated and you have to shell out a great deal of cash to make sure you’re gonna be alright. Which is the major issue for me. It is not a nicely-paid position, you have to need to have to do it. But there could be alterations manufactured so I’m not paying out to not have a horrible time.”

Taylor was floating thoughts for her 3rd solo album, she mentioned. “It’s interesting likely into the upcoming bit – this is my day in the sunlight in which there will be far more yesses than noes and I have to have to make the most of that. I want to execute it to its total possible.”

Nevertheless not pretty but, she pressured. “I want to milk Prioritise Satisfaction dry!”

The last Guardian reside interview is with Angélique Kidjo at 10.20am on the William’s Eco-friendly phase on Sunday.

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