Self Esteem: The Mercury Prize ceremony will be like my wedding day

·3-min read

Self Esteem has jokingly described the upcoming Mercury Prize ceremony as her “wedding day” after being named as one of this year’s shortlisted acts.

The 35-year-old singer, who was previously half of Sheffield-based folk duo Slow Club but now produces experimental pop, is nominated for her second album, Prioritise Pleasure.

On the red carpet at a launch event for the prize in London, she told the PA news agency the honour marked the end of a “hopeless” period in her life.

Speaking about a new sense of empowerment, she said: “It was a goal. I manifested. I said I really wanted to achieve these five things. I worked my tits off to try and get it, and I have got it now.

“My time in my old band in my 20s, there was a lot of hopelessness. A lot of ‘I will never get there’, and in life in general.

“Just to prove you can change your life and you can make decisions, and you can put it out there and you can go for it, is so good for me as I go into the next bit of my life. I have proved it for me and not for anyone else.”

Self Esteem, real name Rebecca Lucy Taylor, joked she had booked “too many gigs” this summer and was struggling to keep up.

But she added: “I have got to do that for about six more weeks and then there will be this – my wedding day, which is the Mercury Prize.

“So now I have got to think about what I am going to wear for that. And then after that I want to do a bit of stillness and then I will start thinking about the album.”

2022 Mercury Music Prize
Jessie Buckley and Bernard Butler (Ian West/PA)

Bafta-nominated actress Jessie Buckley said being shortlisted for the prize for her collaboration with Bernard Butler, For All Our Days That Tear The Heart, was a “once-in-a-lifetime” moment.

Guitarist Butler, who won the second Mercury Prize with Suede in 1993, was introduced to Buckley by his manager, who sensed they would work well together.

She told PA: “I didn’t even think I would make a song, never mind an album. And I definitely didn’t ever expect to be here.

“You never make it for these moments. You make it because you love making things and getting to work with people like Bernard and everybody who has been behind us.

“I have never had a creative experience like this in any kind of place I have worked, whether it is theatre or film, when you are building something from the ground up.

“That’s what drew me to it. If I had made one song I would have been so happy, but to make 12 songs that I feel really proud about and feel really grateful for… I am just shocked. It is lovely. These are once-in-a-lifetime kind of things and that is enough.”

2022 Mercury Music Prize
Amy Love and Georgia South of Nova Twins (Ian West/PA)

Heavy rock duo Nova Twins, nominated for their album Supernova, said they discovered they were on the list while in an antique shop in Hastings.

Vocalist and guitarist Amy Love said: “We were shopping in an antiques store and Georgia’s mum was with us and our management called us to say, ‘You have been shortlisted’, and we freaked out because you could not say anything.”

Bassist Georgia South added: “I am surprised we didn’t break anything in the store.”

Love continued: “And then we tried to continue to shop and it was like we couldn’t concentrate so we went to a tequila bar had a little toast by the seaside. It was amazing.

“It has been such a dream of ours so we just feel amazing to be even a part of that list, because that list is a good-looking list.”

This year’s shortlist was unveiled at a launch event hosted by BBC Music’s Huw Stephens.

The awards show will take place on September 8 at the Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith.

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