Self Esteem gave an inspirational speech after accepting an honorary doctorate from the University of Sheffield.
The contemporary pop musician, whose real name is Rebecca Lucy Taylor, spoke to graduates Monday (July 19) after being honored for her achievement in music and her commitment to inclusivity and diversity.
Taylor, who was born in Rotherham, said that while her journey of confidence “never ends,” she remains determined to thrive in a career “where male music came first.”
“Every patio or piece of land was a stage to me — my nanny and grandfather admired Wembley-sized crowds,” she told the graduates of her childhood, adding, “My pogo stick was my mic stand.”
Taylor, who used to be part of folk duo Slow Club before launching a solo career in 2017, released her debut album, compliments please in 2019 and its follow-up Prioritize pleasure Late 2021. The record was nominated for the Mercury Prize and The Independent voted it best of the year.
During her acceptance speech, Taylor said that she originally thought Self Esteem was just “a cool stage name,” but that “for the past seven years, it’s been exactly what it means to stand up for myself, to be true to myself and mine.” vision never to be jeopardized. “given to me”.
She said: “Every time I didn’t keep quiet just to keep the peace, every time I said no because I meant no. Every time I show my feelings, every time a guy attacked my looks online and (I) accepted that he is just a product of his lived experience and it would be pointless to reply to that.
“Every time I remind myself that it’s not hard for me to get excited about the details – I’m not a show-off, I’m a dedicated artist. Every time I allow myself to be too much, I’ve done it right with this crazy loud crazy blonde little girl singing into a pogo stick while the back garden wall is met with an admiring reception.”
Taylor added that despite her attitude, she’s nervous about speaking in front of grads because she’s “not Beyoncé or Stanley Tucci or Michelle Obama or James Blunt.”
“When I looked in the mirror this morning and didn’t know if I looked good enough, I realized the journey never ends,” she said.
“Everything I’ve said about believing in myself isn’t easy or self-evident. It’s a lifelong practice. I need to wake up and commit to this. You all made a commitment to something, whether it was easy or natural, whether it was a struggle, whether it was boring or really, really hard.”
The musician explained: “You committed when you weren’t sure you were going to make it to the end and you’re here, achieve, believe, commit and choose what’s good for you.
“You are now at the foot of a new mountain, and the top of the mountain is the end of your life. And you and I will just keep increasing it.”
To celebrate the graduation, Taylor wrote on Instagram: “Dr. Taylor will see you now! I am absolutely blown away to have received an honorary doctorate from @theuniversityofsheffield.”
Additional reporting from agencies