Bisexual icon Rebecca Lucy Taylor's star just keeps on rising – we love to see it

by 24britishtvMarch 25, 2024, 8 p.m. 19
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The multi-talented Rebecca Lucy Taylor, better known by the stage name Self Esteem, is a real rising star – and she’s been keeping herself very busy of late.

She recently appeared in an incredibly long-running production of Cabaret in the West End. Taylor played Sally Bowles in Rebecca Frecknall’s hot ticket revival at the Kit Kat Club in London: to rave reviews.

The production started in September 2023 and was due to finish on 20 January 2024, but extended its run to 9 March 2024 to cope with high demand.

Even more recently, tonight (25 March) she’s set to appear on popular BBC quiz show Richard Osman’s House of Games. Talk about no rest for the wicked. But what else do we know about Taylor? Here’s her story so far.

What band was Rebecca Lucy Taylor in?

The 35-year-old singer launched her solo career as Self Esteem in 2017 with the single Your Wife after becoming first known as one half of the band Slow Club.

Slow Club was formed in Sheffield in 2006 and included both Taylor and Charles Watson on guitars and vocals, plus Watson playing piano and Taylor playing drums.

The indie-folk duo released five albums together, as well as a documentary about their last tour in 2016. In the film, Taylor said: “Nothing terrible has happened. But for me anyway… it just doesn’t feel right and happy anymore.”

She told VICE that being part of Slow Club was “more of a role” she could play and that she couldn’t put her musical tastes into the duo as much as she could with being Self Esteem.

“Self Esteem sounds more like what I love, which in turn makes it really fun to play live. I love every bit of it,” she said.

As Self Esteem, Taylor won the 2021 BBC Music Introducing Award and her second solo album, Prioritise Pleasure, was nominated for the 2022 Mercury Prize.

How did Rebecca Lucy Taylor get into music?

Taylor grew up in Rotherham and credits her music teacher Anthony Wright with teaching her to sing.

“He went above and beyond as a music teacher and always treated us like we were his equal. He was never snobby about the fact I couldn’t read music and I cannot stress enough how much this man set me on the path I’m still on,” Taylor wrote in an Instagram post, posing with Wright at her old school.

Taylor was also a “choir nerd at school”, something that has influenced her music to this day: “Sonically, that’s my favourite texture. I think it’s cool that you get this soundscape of women.”

But, Taylor’s dad was also an amateur musician and was in a band when he met her mother, which provided a lot of her interest in music.

“My whole childhood was based very much around music and dancing to it,” she said in an interview last year. She explained that she would watch VHS tapes of Queen and Peter Gabriel, leading her to become “obsessed with performance but also the beauty and drama you could make with certain notes or beats”.

The Spice Girls were also a big influence on her: “[They] found me when I needed them.”

How does Taylor’s sexuality relate to the music she puts out as Self Esteem?

Taylor identifies as bisexual and has put this identity into her music, particularly the song Girl Crush, which she has described as a “bi-bop”.

Many of her songs are about love, relationships, hook-ups and Girl Crush is no different.

“Been thinking ’bout you constantly / But I’m not a holiday / It’s up to you to make the move,” she sings.

Taylor explained to the BBC that the song is linked to personal experience: “I’m bisexual and I’m quite feminine but I’m also quite tall, so I’ve always found that drunk straight girls gravitate towards me in a club or a party or whatever. For years, because I was attracted to them, I’d go along with it. But then I’d be like, ‘There’s nothing in this for me.’ I’m just a good story for people.”

In fact, Girl Crush is the antithesis to other bops like Rita Ora’s Girls or Katy Perry’s I Kissed a Girl.

“I mean, I love Katy Perry, but I Kissed A Girl is everything that’s wrong with everything, and it set people like me back a lot. So I just wanted to do an anti-I Kissed A Girl song. Just so people know it’s not very fun for the queer girl in this situation. It’s a bi-bop, we call it. There’s not enough of them,” Taylor said.

Taylor also has a number of acting credits

Her appearance as Sally Bowles in the West End production of Cabaret was far from her first foray into acting.

In the early years of her career, Taylor acted in sketches for the comedy group Seldom Differ, but has more recently moved into more traditional roles.

She appeared in series two of I Hate Suzie alongside Billie Piper, as well as playing the character Farrah in the Sky TV series Smothered in 2023 and Film4’s Layla, which will be released later this year.

Plus, as well as Richard Osman’s House of Games, she has also appeared on a number of entertainment shows, such as Later… with Jools Holland, the Graham Norton Show, The Late Late Show with James Corden, Taskmaster (where she came joint second to winner Sir Mo Farah), Never Mind The Buzzcocks, and Celebrity Gogglebox.

We can’t wait to see what she does next.

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