Speaking to NME on the red carpet of the Mercury Prize 2022, Self Esteem revealed her love of singing Arctic Monkeys while “spangled” – as well as telling us about meeting Mr Blobby and progress on her next album.
Rebecca Lucy Taylor – aka Self Esteem – was shortlisted for her acclaimed second album ‘Prioritise Pleasure‘, up against Sam Fender’s ‘Seventeen Going Under’, Yard Act’s ‘The Overload’, Kojey Radical‘s ‘Reason To Smile’ and Harry Styles’ ‘Harry’s House’ for the prize last night, but ultimately lost out to Little Simz’s ‘Sometimes I Might Be Introvert‘.
‘Prioritise Pleasure’ had been among the bookies’ favourites to win, but Taylor told us that she was paying no mind to the odds.
“I’m in a better head space of thinking, ‘Genuinely, I’m someone that’s been nominated’; that’s all I asked for and all I wanted,” said Taylor. “Genuinely, my life has changed this year. I can go into the rest of my life and my creative life as well not being so like, ‘Please, look at me! Hello!’ I don’t have to do that anymore. That’s the biggest prize. Not to put a cute little button on it, but me being alright with myself if the best prize ever.”
At the first attempt of this year’s Mercury Prize, which was postponed until this week due to the passing of Queen Elizabeth, Taylor made headlines for pushing for the leftover unserved food from the ceremony to be given to the homeless. Looking back on her actions, Taylor said it was the most logical thing to do.
“We could smell the food,” Taylor told us. “We were like, ‘I’m hungry, my mum and dad are hungry, where’s the food going?’ That was my logic. It took ages! It was a lot harder than you think; I learned a lot about food red tape very quickly. There’s loads of stuff that doesn’t make sense to me. Not finding a way to get that food somewhere didn’t make sense to me. But I don’t want a fucking medal or owt. It doesn’t matter!”
After getting the food to where it needed to be, Taylor said she “got spangled in my flat singing [Arctic Monkeys’ recent single ‘There’d Better Be A] Mirrorball’ about 20 times.
She added: “I can’t stop getting drunk and singing ‘There’s Better Be A Mirrorball’ to people that don’t want to hear it in my living room!”
In recent months, Taylor has had a number of TV appearances – including being a panellist on House Of Games and appearing on The Big Breakfast, where she met Mr Blobby.
Asked what the pink and yellow icon was like, she replied: “Sexy, sort of interesting, shorter than you think!
“It doesn’t get better than that, does it? That day when I met Mr Blobby… I don’t need anything else now. You know they used to put the voice on it? The vocoder? Obviously they didn’t have that, so the guy in the suit was trying not to make any noise. When I hugged him he’d just be like, ‘blobby blobby’ in a normal man’s voice. Poor guy.”
Taylor spoke of how much much she’d had on TV lately, and her ongoing quest to be a judge on Drag Race UK.
“It’s hard – I want to go on the telly, make really good records, I want to do it all,” she admitted. “You’ve got to take your time and be really careful about it because this is a country that hates women, so you don’t want to be everywhere for too long! I just need to be careful and be smart about it. I’ve had a laugh this year for sure and I love going on the telly, but I might have to go into hiding for a bit soon.”
Taylor added: “I need to write some songs as well – let’s be real!”
Speaking of new material, Taylor said that she had already “got going” with album number three.
“I need a bit more time, though,” she said. “I need a bit of space, actually. With my career so far, there was never enough to do. I was much more ambitious with what my schedule was and now my schedule matches my ambition. I used to do a lot more thinking, a lot more seeing stuff and a lot more research. At the moment, if I get a second all I want to do is wash my pants and go to bed.
“I need a minute to make the album not sound like me just doing my washing, but I can’t promise anything. It might!”
On the themes of her new music, Taylor said it would likely still be concerned with “the same old bullshit” of the patriarchy tackling nature of her other work.
“I’m still pissed off about it all,” she said. “I’m still realising just how much wool has been pulled over my eyes in society, in being a woman and being from where I’m from. I can’t believe people go on about how old I am, people go on about what my body’s like. I’m like, ‘Wow!’ I live in my bubble of total acceptance of myself, but you take who I am and put it into a slightly bigger arena and there’s a lot of work to be done so I’m going to have to say a lot more.”
For the Mercury Prize ceremony, Taylor even wore a broach reading ‘97%’ to send out a message about misogyny.
“They did a survey and 97 per cent of women have experienced some form of sexual harassment,” Taylor told NME. “That’s anything from catcalling to full attack and rapes. We have all had some bullshit happen to us. We all just go, ‘That’s just how it is’. We’ve all normalised it and don’t bother talking about it, but it’s a mad number. What a big fucking number. Isn’t that mental?
“I don’t know how we change it, but I think the conversation has tentatively started in the zeitgeist and I’m going to bang on about it a lot more.”
Meanwhile, fans can experience a “whole new show” that Taylor is putting together on her upcoming 2023 UK tour of some of the biggest headline dates of her career. Visit here for tickets and more information.