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Stripped back, intimate, beautiful. As part of Steve Lemaq’s BBC Radio 6, independent venue week I had the pleasure of seeing Rotherham born Rebecca Lucy Taylor, better known as Self Esteem, supported by Skinny Pelembe at the Leadmill performing a stripped back piano session.

Rebecca addressed the sold out Leadmill crowd with both relatable humour and grace. She opened the set with a stripped back version of ‘Roll Out’ accompanied by just piano and a single back up vocal, truly letting her voice do the talking.

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The first half of the set continued in the same, delicate, stripped back style, accompanied by a classic piano sound and backing vocals, sometimes solo, letting the simple tone of her telecaster and voice reign through. A certain highlight of the gig was forgetting the words of one of her own songs but she simply graced it with humour and audience engagement, which made the gig almost feel even more intimate and special to the crowd.

The song that most stood out was the impressive acapella version of ‘The Best’ which was released as a single in 2018 and then later appeared on Rebecca’s 2019 album ‘Compliments’.

It is clear to see why Self Esteem was nominated for best breakthrough artist at Q award’s, with effortless raw talent, certainly not hiding behind loud instruments, letting her voice be the main attraction.  

The second half of the set Self Esteem was joined by a large all female backing choir. To be honest it was a wonder how they fitted on the stage considering how many of them there were. The second half of the set began with a full stage performing the song ‘Wrestling’ released as a single in 2018. The second half of the set was just a pure reminder of how powerful voice alone can be.

Rebecca, along with her full female choir, left the highly anticipated ‘In Time’ to the back of her set, insisting that it was the last song, along with a sarcasm and a wink.

With all the wit and charm Rebecca continued into the encore, thanking her amazing female backing as they left the stage, she took on a cover. She chose to cover ‘Miami Memory’ by Alex Cameron which left me both in hysterics and awe at both the vocal talent and lyricism, something she previously performed for BBC Sounds. The night finished with Rebecca getting in the crowd along with 3 backing singers, and just one acoustic guitar. A strong, intimate finish to a beautiful gig, a true display of raw talent.

JAY BURFIELD

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