Self Esteem – in concert at BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend – May 27, 2023 – BBC Radio 1 –
Festival season is just getting started – this past weekend it was BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend Festival in Dundee and it was, by all reports, a blow-out.
One of the must-see acts was Self Esteem, a band that’s been high on everyone’s charts for the past few years now. Self Esteem, in case you don’t know, is the stage name for Rebecca Taylor who, at the age of 36 is becoming a household name around Britain and Europe. First known as one half of the band Slow Club, Rebecca Taylor launched a solo career as Self Esteem with the single “Your Wife” in 2017, followed by the albums Compliments Please in 2019 and Prioritise Pleasure in 2021. A multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, songwriter and theatre composer, she is winner of the 2021 BBC Music Introducing award and Prioritise Pleasure was nominated for the 2022 Mercury Prize.
Taylor was previously a member of folk duo Slow Club, which formed in Sheffield in 2006. The band consisted of multi-instrumentalists Charles Watson and Taylor, with Watson on the piano, Taylor on the drums, and both performing guitars and vocals. The band paused working in 2017, following an extensive tour to support their last album, owing to differing musical interests and Taylor feeling unfulfilled. Slow Club’s final tour in the winter of 2016, and Taylor’s dissatisfaction and unhappiness with the band, was captured in the documentary Our Most Brilliant Friends, directed by Piers Dennis and released in 2018.
Since they first started touring in 2018, the Self Esteem live band has featured Taylor on lead vocals, 2–3 dancing backing vocalists, a drummer and keyboard/bass player. Taylor has said that she began to be bored by live music performances, and became determined to put on an entertaining show with Self Esteem. The live shows are known for their energetic performances, with Taylor and her dancers performing choreographed routines throughout. Taylor has said that the Prioritise Pleasure tours were inspired by Madonna’s 1990 Blond Ambition Tour, and other writers have drawn comparisons with Pussycat Dolls choreography. Since the release of Prioritise Pleasure, audience members have taken to barking at Self Esteem shows in homage to a voice note at the end of “I’m Fine” in which a woman describes herself and friends barking like dogs when approached by a group of men, as a form of self-protection.
Taylor has emphasized the importance of her collaborators on Self Esteem, saying “I like to think of [Self Esteem] as a sort of collective of people…I’ve got this real, like, family which is something I’ve always dreamed of”.
Press Play and Have a listen.