In Vanity Fair’s September cover story, the global pop princess tells writer Josh Duboff about the past year of her life, including her new laid-back attitude toward dating, why her female friendships trump all, and her willingness to take on tech giants.
Taylor Swift’s recent missive to Apple—the one that caused the tech behemoth to reverse course, once again demonstrating her world-beating pop power—came after some late-night soul searching, the singer tells Vanity Fair writer Josh Duboff, in the magazine’s September cover story.
“I wrote the letter at around four A.M.,” Swift says. “The contracts had just gone out to my friends, and one of them sent me a screenshot of one of them. I read the term ‘zero percent compensation to rights holders.’ Sometimes I’ll wake up in the middle of the night and I’ll write a song and I can’t sleep until I finish it, and it was like that with the letter.”
The record-setting pop star opens up to her bestie Tavi Gevinson about matters of the head, heart, and everything in between.
Who better to get to the heart of the phenomenon that is Taylor Swift than one of her besties? For ELLE’s June Women in Music Issue cover story, Tavi Gevinson sat down with Swift to talk about matters of the head, heart, and everything in between. Pick up the June issue on newsstands nationwide on May 19 to read the entire interview. Below, check out a sneak peek of their conversation.
Since the age of 14, I have littered—excuse me, adorned—the Internet with Taylor Swift analyses. I was first struck by how much more agency she had over her songwriting and public image than other popular artists tapping into my demo, and by how it felt to get permission from a girl wielding a guitar to shamelessly express one’s emotions, despite how often doing so can get you called “crazy” (that sexist euphemism for “feminine”). With the release of her fourth album, Red, in 2012 and a handful of highly publicized romances, Taylor was criticized by the press and other entertainers for such sinful acts as dating people and writing songs about it, gaining a reputation as boy-crazy and love-ridden. But I’d always felt that the men in her songs were mere catalysts for her own self-discovery. Last October she released 1989, and if you use the Internet or ever leave the house, you’re familiar with its ubiquity. But I would like to draw attention to the secret message spelled out in the liner notes of “Clean,” the final track: “She lost him but she found herself and somehow that was everything.”
Taylor’s first four albums have been certified platinum a combined 21 times, but despite her unprecedented success in country music, 1989 is strictly pop. The same woman who once landed a nonsingle called “Forever and Always” on the Top 40 charts now declares, in “Wildest Dreams,” “Nothing lasts forever.” Yet her storytelling and the attention to detail that she honed in country are what make her pop songs peerless. She’s 25 now, and with her newfound perspective on romance’s expiration date, she’s also gained appreciation for the joy of a fling’s impermanence, recovering from heartbreak, and reinventing oneself. “Find out what you want/Be that girl for a month” refers to the preferences of a lover in “Blank Space” but could just as well apply to her own evolution. 1989 debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 charts and sold almost 1.3 million copies in the first week. It was the top-selling album of 2014 and outsold her previous two albums in the U.S. after just 19 weeks in release.
Taylor and I first met in 2012, but you can’t go over to a friend’s apartment to make chili and be like, “But first, real quick: Is it ‘Starbucks lovers’?” However, in the name of journalism, I talked to Taylor the morning of this year’s Grammys at her house in L.A. about all of the above.
The radio, the internet, the world, not to mention this issue of GLAMOUR. As she launches her 1989 global tour, Jo Elvin discovers pop’s unstoppable force is also the nicest
What happened to Taylor Swift? While we have known, intellectually, for some time that she is the blonde, sweet, multi-platinum-selling country star, we can’t swear that in Britain, we always really got her, can we? In fact, for many years, you’d have sooner flashed your knickers on the bus than let anyone see her name flash up on your iPod.
Now? She is owning us all – a global phenomenon of an album, an obsession to her 25.5million Instagram followers. A Saturday Night Live sketch from a few months ago sums it up nicely, where a bunch of adults rush to their doctors suffering from a new sincere and unironic enjoyment of Taylor Swift tunes. The joke being, this is confusing and alarming for them. I think most of us can relate. Her album 1989 is one of the most ludicrously catchy collections of ‘proper’ pop songs since Gaga’s The Fame. Resistance has been futile. And not only is it now politely tolerated, but actually totally frickin’ cool to unashamedly adore Taylor Swift. Hell, even Kanye, who once famously stormed a stage because she won ‘Beyoncé’s’ VMA award, is now a fan.
“I don’t have any need or urge to write about overt sexuality. It just never occurs to me” “We actually, I guess, could be called friends now!” laughs Taylor, her gazelle-like legs poured into black skinnies and twisting around each other in an armchair. “I honestly think I needed to continue to prove myself in my career and I think it finally got to a place where he realised he respected what I do as a musician.”
Taylor Swift’s 1989 album returns to No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart for a milestone 10th nonconsecutive week, making Swift just the second woman in history to earn two albums with at least 10 weeks atop the list.
Swift previously logged 11 weeks at No. 1 with her second album, Fearless, in 2008 and 2009. (She has two further No. 1s: Speak Now, with six weeks at No. 1, and Red, with seven weeks in the penthouse.)
1989 steps back to No. 1 (rising 2-1) with 101,000 equivalent album units earned (down 15 percent) in the week ending Feb. 1, according to Nielsen Music. The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week based on multi-metric consumption, which includes traditional album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA).
Swift follows Whitney Houston as the only woman with multiple albums with 10 weeks at No. 1. Houston managed the feat three times: with her self-titled debut (14 weeks in 1986), her second album, Whitney (11 weeks in 1987) and The Bodyguard soundtrack (20 weeks in 1992 and 1993).
In total, only seven acts have claimed more than one album with 10 weeks at No. 1: Swift, Houston, The Beatles (with four), The Kingston Trio (three), Henry Mancini (two), The Monkees (two) and Elvis Presley (three).
1989’s climb back to the top was powered by 71,000 in pure album sales (down 13 percent). The set also spends a 10th week at No. 1 on the Top Album Sales chart. This is the first time the top selling album of the week has dipped below 100,000 copies since last September, when Lecrae’s Anomaly bowed atop the chart with 88,000 sold in the week ending Sept. 14, 2014. 1989’s latest sales frame is the lowest for the week’s top seller since the week of July 13, 2014, when Sia’s 1000 Forms of Fear launched at No. 1 with 52,000.
Taylor Swift has done it again. She sent one of her fans a box of gifts Monday that included a check for $1,989 to pay off her student loans.
Rebekah Bortniker, 25, of Kansas received a message from Swift on social media site Tumblr, which was nothing more than an emoji of a letter with a heart symbol on it. The Swift fan had no idea what it meant but soon after received a package from the pop singer’s bodyguards with a multitude of gifts inside.
Among the gifts were a signed card, a necklace Swift once wore, a custom painting of Bortniker’s nickname “Beks” with a polaroid of proof that Swift painted it and a check for $1,989 for her student loans.
“Taylor, you are the most amazing person,” Bornkiker wrote. “I can’t believe you did this for me. I can’t believe this is my life right now. Thank you. I could say it a million times, and it wouldn’t be enough. I love you.”
Swift started sending fans gifts during this past holiday season. Sometimes she would deliver the gifts personally by pretending to be a UPS worker.
Taylor Swift never doubted that her fifth album, 1989, would sell 1 million copies in its first week. But others were not so confident. “Everyone, in and out of the music business, kept telling me that my opinion and my viewpoint was naive and overly optimistic — even my own label,” says Swift, recalling the run-up to 1989’s October release in the vast living room of her penthouse loft in downtown Manhattan. “But when we got those first-day numbers in, all of a sudden, I didn’t look so naive anymore.”
In fact, 1989 moved 1.29 million copies in its first week, the biggest seven-day sales of any release since 2002, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Swift, who turns 25 on Dec. 13, became the first artist to hit that 1 million-week milestone three times — breaking a record not just for women or twentysomethings, but all musicians. It was an accomplishment that she engineered, maintaining worldwide ubiquity throughout 2014 with the European and Asian legs of her $150 million-earning Red Tour, a savvy and accessible social media presence, and tireless promotion, taking on everything from TV appearances to a role as New York’s “global welcome ambassador.” And as she made the leap from country to pop, her fans stuck by her, eager to follow an idol charting her own course.
Born on December 13, 1989, in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, Taylor Swift started crafting songs at age 5, and at age 16, released her debut album. She has won many awards, including several Grammy Awards, and modeled for Cover Girl.
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