ZM Online Radio Interview


Taylor Swift is in Las Vegas to perform at the iHeartRadio Music Festival and she did an amazing job! Jay caught up with her and she chatted about possibly dropping her country roots, being a role model for younger women and more. (x)

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iHeart Radio - Access Hollywood Interview

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Elvis Duran interviews taylorswift backstage at the iHeartRadio Festival

Song: Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift interview with a Swedish Radio Station (Taylor comes in at 1:30)

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Rolling Stone: 22 Things You Learn Hanging Out With Taylor Swift

From why she doesn’t take sexy selfies to why she dances at awards shows, here’s what didn’t fit into her third Rolling Stone cover story

We followed Taylor Swift for days, getting all the details on her pop coming-out party, 1989 — and learned a little about living under the constant eye of the paparazzi to boot. Here’s 22 facts from the co-author of “22” that couldn’t fit into this issue’s cover story, from why Lena Dunham thinks she’s a little bit like a 90-year-old to why it’s impossible to keep a steady romantic relationship.

She has money in her blood.
Swift’s mom, Andrea, was working as a mutual-fund wholesaler in Philadelphia when she met Swift’s dad, Scott, who was a client. “They met in a meeting, and he asked her out,” Swift says. “He had this farm 40 minutes outside of Philly, and he was throwing this big hoedown, and she came, and that’s where they fell in love.” As a girl, Swift wanted to be a stockbroker like her dad; she and her brother also took sailing and horseback riding lessons — “just in case we were put in a time machine and had to live in the 1800s.”

She used to get drunk and cry about Joni Mitchell.
"When I first started drinking — when I was like 21 — I used to cry about Joni Mitchell all the time after a few glasses of wine," Swift says. "All my friends would know, once I started crying about Joni Mitchell, it was time for me to go to bed."

She actually does curse from time to time.
Although Swift has cultivated a pretty G-rated image, in private she’s just like anyone else. At one point she’s playing some rough demos of a few new songs on her iPhone when she pulls up one called “I Know Places,” co-written with Ryan Tedder. Swift is playing the piano and hits a wrong note when she blurts out, “Fuck!” Blushing, the real-life Swift immediately attempts to cover the speaker on her phone.

She co-wrote Lena Dunham’s future wedding song.
As a bonus track on her new album, 1989, Swift co-wrote a song with Jack Antonoff of fun., who happens to be her pal Lena Dunham’s boyfriend. It’s called “You Are Love,” and Antonoff describes it as having “a very ‘Secret Garden’ Springsteen vibe.” According to Dunham: “Jack and I have a lot of existential and political issues with marriage. But if we ever do get married, there’s no fucking way Taylor is not playing that song.”

She lives in the house Frodo Baggins built.
Earlier this year, Swift moved to Manhattan, where she bought a pair of adjoining Tribeca apartments for a reported $20 million. The building dates back to 1882, when it was built as a warehouse for a sausage dealer — she likes the way it feels like a farmhouse in the city, with lots of wood beams and exposed brick. The apartment was previously owned byLord of the Rings director Peter Jackson, but Swift says she didn’t have to change very much. (“They have really great taste in paint colors.”) She did, however, find a new use for one walk-in closet: “Now it’s my greeting-card writing room!”

She’s surprisingly proud of being able to do splits.
Hanging on the wall in Swift’s new apartment — near dozens of Polaroids of Swift’s family and friends — is a photo of her doing splits. “I was the kid in elementary school who could never do them,” she explains. “So it was a big goal of mine.” In order to pull it off, she spent four months stretching every single day. “It was really hard and painful,” she says. “No one could understand why it was so important to me.” But in the end, it was all worth it. As she says: “Take that, elementary school insecurities.”

She took her grandma’s style.
Also hanging in Swift’s apartment is a photo of her maternal grandmother, Marjorie Finlay, an opera singer in the Fifties who was a dead ringer for Swift. “I’ve taken after her in ways I really didn’t see coming,” Swift says. “We have the same nose. We both like to dress up. And she loved to entertain: At her parties, she would get up and sing for her friends.” Her grandma also took Swift to see her first musical, a children’s production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, when she was 10. “I started doing kids’ musicals, because I loved seeing these kids up there singing and acting,” she recalls. “It affected me more than I realized.”

Don’t expect to see her at the club anytime soon.
Swift’s idea of a big Saturday night is watching Titanic at home with her cats. “We’re both a little bit like 90-year-olds,” says Lena Dunham. “If we’re feeling really crazy, I can get her to go to a furniture store.”

Despite the rumors, Swift says she and Selena Gomez never had beef.
Last August, the gossip press reported that Swift and her pal Gomez weren’t on speaking terms because of the latter’s involvement with Justin Bieber. Not true, says Swift. “People think they have my relationships all mapped out. There were all these blogs, like, ‘Are they feuding? Are they fighting?’ Meanwhile Selena and I would be on the phone that night, laughing about it. We let them have that one.”

She’s not a fan of sexy selfies — or of flaunting it in general.
"I don’t Instagram pictures of myself for people to be like ‘Wow, that looks really sexy,’" she says. "I take pictures of cute kittens, or when the ocean looks nice, or of a funny sign I saw in an airport." This philosophy extends to sexiness IRL as well: "I like a more classic look," she says. "I always go back to Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly. Red lipstick and a winged eyeliner — I think that looks nice."

She has a simple trick for surviving the paparazzi.
When it comes to the paps, Swift has two simple rules. “You just make sure your skirt is down, and you make sure you don’t give them a terrible eating shot,” she says. The second one is hard for her: “I’m incapable of telling when food is on my face. It’s like I don’t have nerves in my skin. So if I get, like, a heinous piece of chocolate on my face, please let me know. I won’t be offended.”

If you ever spot her in public, go ahead ask for a picture.
"I’m totally cool with human interaction," says Swift. "I’m not scared of strangers. I don’t walk around with bags over my head." All she asks is that you come up and ask, instead of trying for a sneak pic. "Everyone always says the same thing when they get called out: ‘I was not!’" she laughs. "But it’s like, yeah, you definitely were! As a human being who’s been dealing with this for eight years, I know when someone is taking a picture of me."

She’s a very thoughtful gift-giver.
"The amount of baked goods and needlepoints I’ve gotten from Taylor cannot be counted," reports Jack Antonoff. She’s baked him multiple batches of cookies (including pumpkin and oatmeal raisin), and she’s made Dunham a button collage and a cross-stitch of a cat. She was also the first person to give the couple a housewarming present when they moved into their new apartment. It was a taxidermied moth.

But she’s never ordered anything from Amazon.
"I’ve never ordered anything from Amazon. But my brother does all the time."

She’s grown a little disillusioned with love.
There’s a song on the new album called “Wildest Dreams,” in which Swift takes a fatalist view of romance. “I think the way I used to approach relationships was very idealistic,” she says. “I used to go into them thinking, ‘Maybe this is the one — we’ll get married and have a family, this could be forever.’ Whereas now I go in thinking, ‘How long do we have on the clock — before something comes along and puts a wrench in it, or your publicist calls and says this isn’t a good idea?’”

And she says it’s almost impossible for her to maintain a relationship.
When it comes to dating when you’re a celebrity, Swift says, “you do feel a little bit like you got run over by a truck. You’ll be riding in the car with someone and all of a sudden it comes on the radio that he bought you a diamond ring and he’s going to propose. And you look at him and go, ‘…that’s not true, right?’ And he says, ‘No that’s not true!’ Can you blame me for wanting less of that?”

When it comes to breaking up, Swift is a rip-off-the-Band-Aid type.
"Once you’ve established that someone doesn’t belong in your life, I don’t understand what more there is to talk about," she says. "I walk away from things when they’re bad. I don’t stick around to watch them burn to the ground." She says when she decides a relationship has "become toxic," "I’ll just check out. Stop communication. I don’t want to scream and yell at someone and give them the opportunity to say I’m crazy, or that I went psycho," she says. "No one will ever be able to say I went psycho on them."

Although she’s had plenty to say about her exes, she’s not sure what they’d say about her.
"If you turn on a tape recorder, they’d say nice things," she says. "But you never know what they’d say in a regular conversation."

She’s never been in love.
"Looking back? Not real love. Not the kind that lasts. I think that’s still ahead of me — which is really exciting."

She gets very excited about animals.
During one afternoon spent walking in Central Park, Swift freaks out about animals at least four times. First comes an encounter with some snapping turtles, whom she wants to feed but can’t. (“I’ll get in trouble with PETA.”) Then there’s a bumblebee that tries to land on her head. (“Have you ever gotten stung by a bee? I can’t remember if you’re supposed to stay still or keep moving.”) A little while later, she spots some ducks in a pond. (“Ducks!” she says. “Are those babies, or are they teenagers?”) And finally, there’s the appearance of a quintessentially New York rodent. “A mouse!” she squeals happily, before being informed that it’s actually a rat. Swift laughs: “Do you feel like you’re hanging out with a six-year-old a little bit?” 

Speaking of age: She knows she sometimes comes off like a 24-year-old tween.
"I think there’s an interesting lag-time on emotional growth for me," Swift says. "Because I write my records a couple of years before I put them out, I’ve always seemed two or three years younger than I actually was." That said, having gotten famous singing about fairy tales and crushes, she wary of growing up too fast, because "there’s always gonna be an eight-year-old in the front row. Always."

Besides — she likes feeling like a little kid sometimes
"I think you have to do things that make you geek out like you’re a kid again, or else you just become one of these 45-year-old 24-year-olds," Swift says. "That’s why I dance like I’m having fun at awards shows, even though no one else is. Because being cool usually means being bored by everything. And I’m not bored by any of this."

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Posted 3 weeks ago with 1,524 notes

Rolling Stone: The Reinvention of Taylor Swift

So my brother comes home the other day,” Taylor Swift says, “and he goes, ‘Oh, my God – I just saw a guy walking down the street with a cat on his head.’”

As an ardent fan of ready-made metaphors, as well as of cats, Swift was excited by this. “My first reaction was, ‘Did you take a picture?’” she says. “And then I thought about it. Half of my brain was going, ‘We should be able to take a picture if we want to. That guy is asking for it – he’s got a cat on his head!’ But the other half was going, ‘What if he just wants to walk around with a cat on his head, and not have his picture taken all day?’”

For Swift – four-time multiplatinum-album-maker, seven-time Grammy winner and billion-time gossip-blog subject – being famous is a lot like walking around with a cat on your head. “I can have issues with it,” she says. “But at the end of the day, I can’t be ungrateful, because I chose this. But sometimes – sometimes – you don’t want to have a camera pointed at you. Sometimes it would be nice if someone just said, ‘Hey, I think it’s really cool that you have that cat on your head. I think that’s interesting.’”

It’s 1300 hours in the San Fernando Valley, and Project Sparrow is in full effect. In a nondescript parking lot at a soundstage in Van Nuys, California, a Blackwater-esque platoon of personal-security professionals stands at the ready. Every doorway and stairwell is guarded, and every window is blacked out. The occasion: a Taylor Swift video shoot.

In 2014, a Swift shoot requires the kind of operational secrecy and logistical complexity rarely seen outside of a SEAL raid. Before Project Sparrow – the code name chosen by the video’s director, Mark Romanek – there was Project Cardinal, a multiweek mission where Swift’s social-media team scoured the Web for a representative group of fans to appear in the video. When one girl posted a photo of her invitation, she was quickly uninvited, then presumably renditioned to whatever CIA black site holds Swift’s enemies. (Jack Antonoff, of Bleachers and fun., who has recently co-written several songs with Swift, says that “just having her songs on my hard drive makes me feel like I have Russian secrets or something. It’s terrifying.”)

At the moment, Swift is in a makeup chair in her dressing room, getting false eyelashes applied. She’s wearing a black miniskirt, black tights and a fuzzy pink top with a cartoon drawing of a cat, and her wavy blond hair is pinned back tight. She’s five feet 10, but she looks much taller, even with her lanky legs wrapped underneath her like a pretzel twist. “I need lunch like, whoa,” Swift says, and an assistant tells her there’s a sushi order happening. “Oooh,” she purrs. “Get a boatload.”

The video is for Swift’s soon-to-be-Number One single, “Shake It Off,” which she’ll perform for the first time at the VMAs later this summer, but which at this point only a handful of people outside the room even know exists. There are worries about spies and recording devices. “Don’t even get me started on wiretaps,” Swift says seriously. “It’s not a good thing for me to talk about socially. I freak out.” As for who might bug a Van Nuys production office on the off chance that Swift is inside: “The janitor,” she says, as if naming one candidate among hundreds. “The janitor who’s being paid by TMZ. This is gonna sound like I’m a crazy person – but we don’t even know. I have to stop myself from thinking about how many aspects of technology I don’t understand.”

Swift pauses, as if weighing just how paranoid she’s comfortable with sounding. Then she plows ahead. “Like speakers,” she says. “Speakers put sound out … so can’t they take sound in? Or” – she holds up her cellphone – “they can turn this on, right? I’m just saying. We don’t even know.”

Swift says she never feels completely safe, especially when it comes to her privacy. “There’s someone whose entire job it is to figure out things that I don’t want the world to see,” she says. “They look at your career, they look at what you prioritize, and they try to figure out what would be the most revealing or hurtful. Like, I don’t take my clothes off in pictures or anything – I’m very private about that. So it scares me how valuable it would be to get a video of me changing. It’s sad to have to look for cameras in dressing rooms and bathrooms. I don’t walk around naked with my windows open, because there’s a value on that.”

And yet, despite the DEFCON-3 level of security, in a lot of ways Swift has never felt more free. She has a new album out in October, 1989, that she’s insanely excited about, because it signals her transition from a country star who likes pop to a straight-up pop star. She recently bought a luxe apartment in New York. And despite what you may have read in the gossip press, Swift hasn’t been involved with a man in quite some time. She’s not dating. She’s not canoodling. She’s not even sexting. Taylor Swift is single and loving it.

"I really like my life right now," she says. "I have friends around me all the time. I’ve started painting more. I’ve been working out a lot. I’ve started to really take pride in being strong. I love the album I made. I love that I moved to New York. So in terms of being happy, I’ve never been closer to that." Which is not necessarily the same as being happy.

There’s one way into Swift’s new apartment building, and much of the time it’s guarded by a former NYPD officer named Jimmy, who unlocks the door for residents and visitors alike. This may be a drag for neighbors like Steven Soderbergh and Orlando Bloom, who have dropped seven figures to live at one of Tribeca’s toniest addresses, but it’s an unavoidable fact of life when the 24-year-old on the top floor is one of the biggest pop stars on the planet. “Most of the neighbors know what’s what by now,” Jimmy says, locking the door behind him. Today is a good day for Jimmy, because the elevator is working again after a brief period of being broken. “It’s six floors up,” he says, frowning. “And we don’t travel light, if you know what I mean.” I tell him I think I do know what he means, and Jimmy laughs. “The shoes alone!”

Up in the penthouse, a barefoot Swift answers the door in a periwinkle-blue sundress: “Welcome to my apartment!” In the kitchen there’s an assortment of pastries from a hip downtown spot called the Smile (“They have these banana-quinoa muffins that I’m obsessed with”), and in the refrigerator are a surprising number of varieties of sparkling water. (“I have black cherry, pomegranate, blueberry, strawberry, key lime, tangerine lime …”)

Swift shuts the fridge. “Do you want a tour?” She breezes into the living room, pointing out the fish tank filled with vintage baseballs (“I was like, ‘That’s so cool, they’re so old!’”) and some enormous scented candles (“I was like, ‘That’s so cool, they’re so big!’”). “There’s my piano,” she says. “Here’s my pool table that always has cat hair on it. That’s my skylight.” She bumps into a doorway. “That’s a door that I walk into.”

Swift bought this apartment about six months ago, for a reported $15 million. (Swift also bought the unit across the hall, for about $5 million; she uses it to house her security team.) It took a lot of work just to see it: It belonged to the director Peter Jackson, who had an actor friend crashing here, so the brokers didn’t want to bother him much. “Sir Ian McKellen,” Swift says seriously. “I think once you’re Gandalf, you can always just stay in Peter Jackson’s house.”

Swift leads the way into one of her four guest bedrooms. “This is where Karlie usually stays,” she says – meaning supermodel Karlie Kloss, one of her new BFFs, whom she met nine months ago at the Victoria’s Secret fashion show. There’s a basket of Kloss’s favorite Whole Foods treats next to the bed, and multiple photos of her on the walls. Against another wall, there’s a rack full of white nightgowns. “This is a thing me and Lena have,” says Swift – meaning Lena Dunham, another recent friend. “We wear them during the day and look like pioneer women, fresh off the Oregon Trail.”

Swift met Dunham in 2012, after she watched Girls and became obsessed. She went on Twitter to follow Dunham, and coincidentally saw that Dunham had just tweeted admiringly about Swift. “I was really scared she was being ironic, but I decided to follow her anyway, just in case. Within five minutes I had a direct message from her. Let me see if I still have it.” She spends a minute scrolling through her phone. “I still have it! She said, ‘I am so excited about the prospect of being friends with you that I added the adjective best in front of it.’ ‘The idea that you like my show is so thrilling, and I can’t wait to lavish you with praise in person.’”

As a recent New York transplant in her mid-twenties, Swift says Girls is like her Sex and the City. “I could label all my girlfriends as Shoshannas, Jessas, Marnies or Hannahs,” she says. And which would she be? “I’ve thought about this a lot,” she says. A pause. “I’m Shoshanna.”

She seems resigned to this. “Shoshanna gets excited about things, she’s really girly. And when she was in a relationship that was very comfortable, she made the decision to get out and go experience new things on her own. And now she’s becoming more sure of herself and taking life head-on, in a way that I can relate to. Even though I’ve never accidentally smoked crack at a warehouse party and run pantsless through Brooklyn.” (Dunham, meanwhile, thinks Swift is more like “Hannah, minus the horrid sexual behavior. Or Marnie, if she wasn’t an asshole.”)

Swift leads the way upstairs to her bedroom. Asleep on her massive four-poster bed is a tiny white ball of fur. “Olivia!” Swift says, scooping her up. It’s her two-month old kitten, named after Olivia Benson, from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. “Hear how loud she’s purring? She’s a stage-five clinger, for sure.” Downstairs somewhere is her other cat, Meredith, named after Meredith Grey from Grey’s Anatomy. “Strong, complex, independent women,” Swift says. “That’s the theme.”

She steps onto her patio and climbs the staircase up to the roof deck. “Careful,” she says. “It’s construction central.” A forest of skyscrapers surrounds her; the Freedom Tower looks close enough to touch. Swift gestures to a set of planters: “Those are hydrangeas, and over there are the roses and basil and rosemary.” Heading back downstairs, she passes an antique lamp with the inscription CALADIUM SEGUINUM on it. Swift took Latin in high school, but says she isn’t sure what it means. (Later, I look it up. It turns out it’s a homeopathic remedy for male impotence.)

For years, Swift was terrified to move to New York. “I was intimidated by it for so long,” she says. But now that she’s here, she loves it. She can walk down the street to get dinner, or go furniture shopping with friends in Brooklyn. Even the paparazzi are better, she says. “They don’t provoke me, or ask weird questions. And a lot of them are long-lensing it – which, if you have to have paparazzi in your life, is such a better way.” She likes it so much she’s trying to recruit friends to move here – like her buddy Selena Gomez. “Project Selena,” Swift says. “I think I can do it.”

Back in the living room, Swift settles into the couch with a muffin and starts talking about her Fourth of July. She invited a bunch of friends up to Rhode Island, where she has a house in a fancy community called Watch Hill. It was raining, and the day looked like a bust, until her friend Jaime King’s husband came up with the idea to buy eight Slip ‘N Slides and lay them end to end like some unholy Slip ‘N Slide centipede. Even with the rain, the slides still weren’t slippery enough, so they got a bunch of olive oil and poured it all over themselves. (“There was a dangerous level of slipperiness,” Swift says.) Later they all went to the beach, which is normally full of Swift-gawkers (“Hotel fees have doubled in the year we’ve been there,” Swift says), but was empty that day because of the rain. That night they cooked a huge feast, with Swift assigning everyone jobs (“You make salad dressing! You chop apples for apple pie!”), and afterward they played Celebrity, the game where everyone puts a bunch of famous names in a hat and takes turns drawing one and trying to make their team guess. The game got a little heated, because one team had a lot more famous people on it, which gave them what some guests thought was an unfair advantage. (Swift: “It was like, ‘You dated him! 2010!’”) But in the end, everyone was appeased, and the game went on as planned. And did Swift’s team win? She smiles. “Of course we won.”

Swift bought the Rhode Island house in April 2013, for a reported $17 million. The old summer estate of a Standard Oil heiress, it boasts water views in every room and a seagull Swift named George Washington that swims in her pool. Swift calls it her “dream house,” but it’s also been the source of some of her first truly negative press. The trouble started when she redid her sea wall, which she says hadn’t been updated since the house was built in 1929. She hired a team of engineers, who spent all winter rebuilding it; she thought she was doing something nice, until some locals got angry and accused her of ruining the beach. (TMZ: “Taylor Swift Neighbors Pissed: You’re Screwing With Our Coastline!!”)

It wasn’t long before the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council stepped in to say that Swift hadn’t done anything wrong. Still, for Swift, the wall became sort of a metaphor for haters in general. “There will always be people who grumble about things,” she says. “But when they saw what it looked like when it was finished – it looked so much nicer! The other wall had all this graffiti on it – it looked old, and not in a good way. But it was a problem, so I fixed it. Nothing has changed about anyone’s beach experience, except that now my house won’t fall on them. So, you know. Sorry not sorry.”

The only way to hear 1989 in full is to borrow Swift’s iPhone, which is white and silver and covered in kitten stickers. There are 13 songs in all, plus a handful of bonus tracks, filed under the unbreakable code name “Sailor Twips.” (She will only play them over headphones, because of wiretaps.) There are also hundreds of voice memos containing sketches of chords and melodies, which is how most of her songs start out. Antonoff (who also happens to be Dunham’s boyfriend) says that for one song they wrote together, he sent Swift a track “and literally 30 minutes later she sent me back a voice note that sounded exactly like the record.”

As the title suggests, 1989 was influenced by some of Swift’s favorite Eighties pop acts, including Phil Collins, Annie Lennox and “Like a Prayer”-era Madonna. (Given that 1989 is also the year Swift was born, she necessarily got into them later, usually via VH1’s Pop-Up Video.) The album was executive-produced by Swift and Max Martin, with whom she first collaborated on her 2012 single “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.” Officially, it’s not even finished yet: Somewhere in Sweden, Martin is tinkering until the very last minute to ensure the drum sounds are as up-to-date as possible.

Swift’s last album, 2012’s Red, straddled the line between country and pop. “But at a certain point,” she says, “if you chase two rabbits, you lose them both.” So this time, she set out to do full-on “blatant pop music.” A casual fan won’t notice much difference, but to Swift and her brand, it’s a big step. She says she won’t be going to country-awards shows or promoting the album on country radio. When she first turned in the record, she says the head of her label, Scott Borchetta, told her, “This is extraordinary – it’s the best album you’ve ever done. Can you just give me three country songs?”

"Love you, mean it," is how Swift characterizes her response. "But this is how it’s going to be."

The other big change on 1989 is that for the first time in years, there are no diss tracks dishing about Swift’s exes. A few of the songs are about her relationships and love life, but they’re mostly wistful and nostalgic, not finger-pointy or score-settling. “Different phases of your life have different levels of deep, traumatizing heartbreak,” Swift says. “And in this period of my life, my heart was not irreparably broken. So it’s not as boy-centric of an album, because my life hasn’t been boycentric.” In fact, she suggests, she hasn’t dated at all since breaking up with One Direction singer Harry Styles more than a year and a half ago. “Like, have not gone on a date,” she says. “People are going to feel sorry for me when you write that. But it’s true.”

Swift says dating is hard for her. For one thing, there’s the logistics. “Seventy percent of the time, when a guy asks me out, it’ll just be a random e-mail,” she says. Some movie star will get her address from his publicist and e-mail her cold. Usually she politely rebuffs them – but even if someone did penetrate that line of defense, building a relationship is hard.

"I feel like watching my dating life has become a bit of a national pastime," Swift says. "And I’m just not comfortable providing that kind of entertainment anymore. I don’t like seeing slide shows of guys I’ve apparently dated. I don’t like giving comedians the opportunity to make jokes about me at awards shows. I don’t like it when headlines read ‘Careful, Bro, She’ll Write a Song About You,’ because it trivializes my work. And most of all, I don’t like how all these factors add up to build the pressure so high in a new relationship that it gets snuffed out before it even has a chance to start. And so," she says, "I just don’t date."

(That goes for hooking up as well. “I just think it’s pointless if you’re not in love,” Swift says. “And I don’t have the energy to be in love right now. So, no.”)

Truth be told, Swift sounds a tiny bit jaded – which, for a “self-professed hopeless romantic,” maybe isn’t the worst thing to be. “It’s not like I’ve sworn off love,” she says. “My life is just not conducive to bringing other people into it right now. I’m very childlike and romantic about lots of things, but I’m realistic about this.”

Swift pauses, searching for a metaphor that will help her explain herself. “Have you heard of the Loneliest Whale? There’s this whale – I think Adrian Grenier is making a documentary about it. It swims through the ocean, and it has a call unlike any other whale’s. So it doesn’t have anyone to swim with. And everybody feels so sorry for this whale – but what if this whale is having a great time? Because it’s not bad that I’m not hopelessly in love with someone. It’s not a tragedy, and it’s not me giving up and being a spinster. Although I did get another cat.” She laughs. “I asked around: I was like, ‘Does two cats count as cats?’ But then I thought, what imaginary guy’s perspective am I thinking about this from? Someone is going to think I’m undateable for a lot of reasons before they think I’m undateable because I have two cats.”

Since she’s been single, Swift has been acquiring girlfriends with the fervor she once devoted to landing guys. (For instance: Two years ago she told Vogue she wanted to be friends with Kloss; now they’re going to the gym together and taking road trips to Big Sur.) Swift says this is another byproduct of being single. “When your number-one priority is getting a boyfriend, you’re more inclined to see a beautiful girl and think, ‘Oh, she’s gonna get that hot guy I wish I was dating,’” she says. “But when you’re not boyfriend-shopping, you’re able to step back and see other girls who are killing it and think, ‘God, I want to be around her.’” As an example, she cites her pal Lorde, whom she calls Ella. “It’s like this blazing bonfire,” Swift says. “You can either be afraid of it because it’s so powerful and strong, or you can go stand near it, because it’s fun and it makes you brighter.”

Earlier in her career, Swift deflected questions about feminism because she didn’t want to alienate male fans. But these days, she’s proud to identify herself as a feminist. To her, all feminism means is wanting women to have the same opportunities as men. “I don’t see how you could oppose that.” Dunham says Swift has always been a feminist whether she called herself one or not: “She runs her own company, she’s creating music that connects to other women instead of creating a sexual persona for the male gaze, and no one is in control of her. If that’s not feminism, what is?”

Swift’s focus on sisterhood cuts both ways, because when another woman crosses her, she’s equally fierce about hitting back. The angriest song on 1989 is called “Bad Blood,” and it’s about another female artist Swift declines to name. “For years, I was never sure if we were friends or not,” she says. “She would come up to me at awards shows and say something and walk away, and I would think, ‘Are we friends, or did she just give me the harshest insult of my life?’” Then last year, the other star crossed a line. “She did something so horrible,” Swift says. “I was like, ‘Oh, we’re just straight-up enemies.’ And it wasn’t even about a guy! It had to do with business. She basically tried to sabotage an entire arena tour. She tried to hire a bunch of people out from under me. And I’m surprisingly non-confrontational – you would not believe how much I hate conflict. So now I have to avoid her. It’s awkward, and I don’t like it.”

(Pressed, Swift admits there might have been a personal element to the conflict. “But I don’t think there would be any personal problem if she weren’t competitive,” she says.)

As is often the case, Swift dealt with her emotions by writing about them. “Sometimes the lines in a song are lines you wish you could text-message somebody in real life,” she says. “I would just be constantly writing all these zingers – like, ‘Burn. That would really get her.’ And I know people are going to obsess over who it’s about, because they think they have all my relationships mapped out. But there’s a reason there are not any overt call-outs in that song. My intent was not to create some gossip-fest. I wanted people to apply it to a situation where they felt betrayed in their own lives.”

Swift prides herself on never explicitly saying whom her songs are about, and she’s not going to start with this one. Yes, she sprinkles clues in her liner notes and makes winking references onstage, but she tries to keep them obscure enough to maintain some modicum of mystery (or at least plausible deniability). She’s so disciplined on this front that she won’t even say any of her ex-boyfriends’ names out loud – so when she does slip up, even in the most innocent way possible, it’s highly entertaining.

Swift is still talking about “Bad Blood” when she starts to explain why she wants everyone to know it’s about a female. “I know people will make it this big girl-fight thing,” she says. “But I just want people to know it’s not about a guy. You don’t want to shade someone you used to date and make it seem like you hate him, when that’s not the case. And I knew people would immediately be going in one direction—” As she suddenly realizes that she just accidentally referenced her ex-boyfriend’s band, Swift goes white. She buries her face in her hands. “Why?!” she howls, cracking up. It’s a classic Taylor Swift Surprised Face, only for real this time.

Swift won’t say much about her relationship with Styles, other than that they’re now friends. But talking to her, it seems clear that many of the songs on 1989 that are about a guy are about him. There’s “I Wish You Would,” about an ex who bought a house two blocks from hers (whom she implies was Styles). And “All You Had to Do Was Stay,” about a guy who was never willing to commit (ditto). Then there’s the song that sets a new high-water mark for Swiftian faux secrecy – a sexy Miami Vice-sounding throwback about a guy with slicked-back hair and a white T-shirt and a girl in a tight little skirt that is called – no joke – “Style.” (She allows herself a satisfied grin. “We should have just called it ‘I’m Not Even Sorry.’”)

Of all the songs on the album that seem to be about Styles, the most intriguing one is “Out of the Woods.” Co-written by Antonoff, it’s a frantic tale of a relationship where, Swift says, “every day was a struggle. Forget making plans for life – we were just trying to make it to next week.” The most interesting part comes when Swift sings, “Remember when you hit the brakes too soon/Twenty stitches in a hospital room.” She says it was inspired by a snowmobile ride with an ex who lost control and wrecked it so badly that she saw her life flash before her eyes. Both of them had to go to the ER, although Swift wasn’t hurt. She corrects herself: “Not as hurt.”

For a couple whose every move was so thoroughly documented, it’s kind of shocking to think that something as newsworthy as a trip to the emergency room wouldn’t have wound up on the Internet. “You know what I’ve found works even better than an NDA?” says Swift. “Looking someone in the eye and saying, ‘Please don’t tell anyone about this.’” Even so, it’s impressive: The most top-secret hospital visit would necessarily involve three or four witnesses – and none of them talked?

Swift says that’s sort of her point. “People think they know the whole narrative of my life,” she says. “I think maybe that line is there to remind people that there are really big things they don’t know about.”


I didn’t know what kind of coffee you wanted, so I brought options.”

Two weeks later, Swift is in the back seat of an SUV idling next to Central Park, with a tray of four iced coffees balanced on her lap. Outside wait a dozen paparazzi and several dozen fans. The plan is to take a nice walk in the park – and maybe, though this is unspoken, to get a glimpse of the attention she faces daily.

Swift takes her bodyguard’s hand and steps out of the car. She’s dressed in the decidedly un-park-friendly outfit of a tweed skirt and crop top, pink suede Louboutin pumps, and a yellow Dolce & Gabbana bag. She navigates the muddy trail impressively in her heels, the crowd behind her swelling every few feet. In front of her, two bodyguards clear a path. Behind her, another bodyguard carries a bag of scones.

Swift turns down a dead-end path where the paparazzi can’t follow and takes a seat in a gazebo on the shores of the lake. On the wooden posts are carved hundreds of initials, the stories of couples who came before – the kind of thing that might appear in a Taylor Swift song. Excitedly, Swift points at the lake: “Turtles! And ducks!” She looks at the ground. “Oh. And a used condom.”

Swift says that the only time she could come to the park and have it be normal would be in the middle of the night (“which is dangerous”) or at four in the morning (“which is early”). She hasn’t driven alone in five years, and she can’t leave her home without being swarmed by fans. (“When a sweet little 12-year-old says to their mom, ‘Taylor lives an hour from here …’ – more times than not, they’ll make the trip.”) Although she doesn’t like to draw attention to it, she says there is a contingent of fans that think her songs contain hidden messages to them. “Think about it,” she says. “Romeo, take me somewhere we can be alone? Take that, add ‘crazytown’ to it, and it sounds like an invitation for kidnapping.”

We’ve been talking for a while when a boat rows up carrying three teenagers – two girls and a guy. “Oh, my God!” says one of the girls. “Today is my birthday! Can I please take a picture with you?” Swift laughs. “You can, but I don’t know how you’re going to. You’re on a boat, buddy!”

"I’ll get off!" the girl says. "I’ll find a way." Swift and her bodyguard reach out and help her into the pavilion. "You’re going to make me cry!" she says.

"Is it really your birthday?" Swift asks.

"How old are you?"

"Seventeen," the girl says.

"Oh, that’s a good year."

"I know. I’m excited."

The girl says she lives on Long Island. She and her friends took the train in for the day. “That’s cute,” Swift says. “Are you going to dinner somewhere?”

The girl scrunches up her face. “We were going to … Chipotle?”

Swift smiles. She goes to her purse and pulls out a wad of cash – $90, to be exact. “Here,” she says. “Go somewhere nice.”

"Oh, my God," the girl says. "Thank you!" She climbs back in the boat, and she and her friends paddle off.

Pretty soon it’s time to go. One of Swift’s bodyguards, Jeff, a former Marine Corps anti-terrorism specialist, comes over to brief her. “OK, we’ve got a six-minute walk to the exit. Twitter is going like wildfire, so some of the more obsessive fans …” He trails off. “We’re just gonna close the gap on you and keep them back.”

Swift gives her bangs one last check in her phone’s camera, then she looks out at the lake. “I wish we had a boat.”

She stands up to go. Immediately we’re surrounded by a crush of paparazzi and fans. Even the hot-dog vendors are snapping pictures. As Swift winds her way through the park, the crowd grows larger and more aggressive; it’s a little scary. “OK, everybody, we need some room, please!” Jeff says. “Step back. Give her space!”

But Swift is unfazed. “You want to know a trick to immediately go from feeling victimized to feeling awesome?” she says. She pulls out her phone and hands me the earbuds: “This is my go-to.” She presses play, and Kendrick Lamar’s “Backseat Freestyle” fills the speakers. As Swift bobs her head, Lamar raps:

All my life I want money and power
Respect my mind or die from lead shower
I pray my dick get big as the Eiffel Tower
So I can fuck the world for 72 hours
Goddamn, I feel amazing
Damn, I’m in the Matrix …

Swift smiles wide. “I know every word.”

Source

Posted 3 weeks ago with 1,862 notes
You have people trying to take off your shoes, sometimes. When you’re standing on like a [laughs], when you’re standing on a stage and the crowd can reach out. I can just feel them unbuckling my shoe, and I’m just sort of like, “This can’t happen.” Or like grabbing at your ankles, and you’re just sort of like, “I really hope they don’t pull me into the pit,” ‘cause I don’t know what I’d do. But you know, that’s because they’re so energetic, they’re so passionate which is what I want from them. I guess you can’t ask for them to scream and dance and stand up for two hours straight, and not take you’re shoes off of you.
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FFN Radio interview with Taylor.

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I’d invite my girlfriends over and we would cook dinner and play pool. I’m really bad at playing pool, but I love it. Have you ever had something that you love doing but you’re terrible at it? That’s pool for me. But people love playing with me ‘cause I’m horrible at it, and they always win.
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Taylor Swift ET Interview at the VMAs

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Taylor Swift meets Lucy Hale on the Red Carpet

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Access Hollywood interviews Taylor Swift

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HQ The Guardian Guide interview, August 2014 (x)

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The Guardian: Taylor Swift: ‘Sexy? Not on my radar’

She’s gone from ringletted country artist to feminist role model and the world’s most charming pop star. As she returns with her catchiest material yet, she talks awards-ceremony etiquette, autobiographical lyrics and why she puts nice before naughty

In Manhattan’s chi-chi Sant Ambroeus restaurant, the pair of smartly dressed women at the next table are making not-so-surreptitious “eek” faces at each other, having clocked that their neighbour for lunch is Taylor Swift. And that’s nothing compared to the commotion gathering outside: wherever Taylor Swift dines, a swarm of fans and paparazzi soon forms on the pavement.

This is normal life for the biggest force in pop right now, a global superstar whose songs soundtrack lives, whose tours sell out stadiums in seconds, and whose every facial expression generates a million tweets. Taylor Swift in 2014 is an extraordinary phenomenon. She began as a ringletted country singer, teenage sweetheart of the American heartland, but between 2006’s eponymous first album and now she’s become the kind of culturally titanic figure adored as much by gnarly rock critics as teenage girls, feminist intellectuals and, well, pretty much all of emotionally sentient humankind. Unlike Beyoncé with her indomitable run-the-world warrior-queen stylings, or Nicki Minaj, with her cartoonified, amplified self and pantheon of alter egos, there is very little image-making going on with Taylor Swift, pop star. Instead, it’s her “realness” that’s made her; as well as, of course, some clever choices and heavy doses of charisma and songwriting talent. She is, as her friend the teenage media magnate Tavi Gevinson put it, nothing less than “BFF to planet Earth”. Which, for one thing, entails talking to planet Earth at a moderate volume.

“When I’m doing a concert, it’s not like, ‘WHAT’S UP LONDONNNNN!’ I pretty much just speak at this level,” she says. As a result, her stadium shows have the confessional good feeling of mass sleepovers and she communicates with her vast audiences “as if I’m talking to them across the dinner table”.

Swift releases an album every two years without fail, which means it’s time for a follow-up to 2012’s Red. We meet in the week before she announces new album 1989 and its lead single, Shake It Off, a breezy, uptempo number about ignoring the haters. She explains: “In the last couple of years I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that anyone can say anything about me and call TMZ or Radar Online or something, and it will be an international headline. You can either go crazy and let it make you bitter and make you not trust people, and become really secluded or rebellious against the whole system. Or you can just shake it off and figure that as long as you’re having more fun than anyone else, what does it matter what anyone else thinks? Because I’ve wanted this life since I was a kid.”

Her cheery, stoical take on celebrity and tabloid intrusion has served her well. “I am not gonna let them make me miserable when I could be enjoying my life,” she says. “That’s why you see these artists become a tabloid regular and then become artistically and musically irrelevant, because they let [gossipy websites] stifle them. It’s not going to happen here.”

For the Shake It Off video, she enlisted 100 fans as well as a load of professional dancers: “Ballet dancers, breakdancers, modern dance, twerkers – and me, trying to keep up with them, sucking.” She adds: “I feel like dancing is sort of a metaphor for the way you live your life. You know how you’re at a house party and there’s a group of people over there just talking and rolling their eyes at everyone dancing? And you know which group is having more fun.”

Dancing enthusiastically amid hauteur has become a Swift trademark; specifically, letting loose at awards ceremonies while everyone else remains seated and stiff. She’s been attending these shows since she was a teenager and, after “eight years of these very stressful and competitive scenarios, sitting in the front row trying to figure out how you’re supposed to act”, she eventually realised that “I can process this as a huge pressure cooker or I can just look at it like I have a front-row seat to the coolest concert right now.” Dancing to Justin Timberlake with Selena Gomez at last year’s VMAs was a particularly fine example of the latter.

In short, the interruption only magnified good feeling towards her. Less fortunate was her Grammys appearance the following year in which she wobbled her way through a duet with Stevie Nicks and subsequently suffered an online shellacking. At this year’s ceremony, she seemed determined to eclipse that with a rendition of the bruised All Too Well, a song allegedly inspired by her relationship with Jake Gyllenhaal. Her performance was fierce and focused. When she finished, she turned from the piano and faced the audience with an intent gaze of defiance and held it for several seconds. The message was clear: no more the victim. It’s this song, incidentally, that contains one of the lyrics she’s most proud of: “‘You call me up again just to break me like a promise/ So casually cruel in the name of being honest’”. She pauses, pleased. “I was like, I’ll stand by that one.”

All Too Well was taken from 2012’s Red, an album defined by widescreen, wind-machined renderings of heartache, which confirmed that “country” could finally be dropped from her tag of “country-pop” singer. But 1989, as she explains, is shorter on the “jilted, sad, pining”. Instead, “it’s the phase after that, when you go out into the world and make changes in your life on your own terms, make friends on your own terms, without [literally] saying ‘C’mon girls, we can do it on our own!’”

Those words will kindle the hopes of those who’ve suspected Swift has experienced some sort of feminist awakening over the last few months. Recently, she was spotted browsing the feminist section of a Manhattan book shop. Even more heartening has been the array of BFFs filling her Instagram feed, Lorde and Lena Dunham among them. This seems to be one of the many fun things about being Taylor Swift: that pretty much any smart and interesting young woman in the public eye is yours for the friending. She loved Lorde’s debut album Pure Heroine, so sent flowers to congratulate her on its release. Lorde, in turn, got Swift’s number from Gevinson (whom Swift recently counselled through her first heartache) and sent her a long message apologising for once calling her “too flawless to be a role model”. Unsurprisingly, Swift forgave her. The first time they hung out, she says, “We took a walk and sat in the park and ate Shake Shack burgers.”

Her friendship with Dunham began even more simply. Swift had tweeted in praised of Girls, and the moment she followed Dunham on Twitter, Dunham responded with a direct message which said, “something like, ‘Can we be friends please?’ And then that was that.”

Has female friendship become more important to her than romance? “Without a doubt. Because the other alternative” – as in having a boyfriend – “isn’t really possible right now. It just doesn’t seem like a possibility in the near future. It doesn’t ever work. What works is having incredible girlfriends who I can trust and tell anything.”

As for the endless “is Taylor Swift a feminist?” pieces – well, they can die now. “As a teenager, I didn’t understand that saying you’re a feminist is just saying that you hope women and men will have equal rights and equal opportunities. What it seemed to me, the way it was phrased in culture, society, was that you hate men. And now, I think a lot of girls have had a feminist awakening because they understand what the word means. For so long it’s been made to seem like something where you’d picket against the opposite sex, whereas it’s not about that at all. Becoming friends with Lena – without her preaching to me, but just seeing why she believes what she believes, why she says what she says, why she stands for what she stands for – has made me realise that I’ve been taking a feminist stance without actually saying so.”

I ask if tabloid scrutiny over her lyrics (and the string of famous exes they allude to), has dissuaded her from pursuing what rock critic Robert Christgau calls her “diaristic realism”, or the clues she famously leaves in her liner notes. No, she says, because it’s that sense of reading a journal that “has always connected me to my fans in this very intense way”. Nonetheless, she concedes that “it’s an interesting tightrope walk to write autobiographical songs in an age where mystery is completely out the window”.

The way she sees it, there’s a gender element to such scrutiny. “I really resent the idea that if a woman writes about her feelings, she has too many feelings,” she says. “And I really resent the ‘Be careful, buddy, she’s going to write a song about you’ angle, because it trivialises what I do. It makes it seem like creating art is something you do as a cheap weapon rather than an artistic process. They can say whatever they want about my personal life because I know what my personal life is, and it involves a lot of TV and cats and girlfriends. But I don’t like it when they start to make cheap shots at my songwriting. Because there’s no joke to be made there.”

True: Swift has always been a deft lyricist. Our Song, for example – a perky early hit written when she was 16 – indicates her precocious skill when it reveals itself as the “our song” of the title: in the last verse she sings, “I grabbed a pen/ And an old napkin/ And I wrote down our song”.

The hysteria and scrutiny came later, with songs like 2010’s Better Than Revenge. Fired at the woman who took her man, rather than the man himself, it includes the snide, “no amount of vintage dresses gives you dignity” and a chorus that’s distinctly unsisterly: “She’s an actress, whoa/ But she’s better known for the things that she does/ On the mattress, whoa”.

For a moment, Swift seemed in danger of typecasting herself as a victimised prude. “I was 17 when I wrote that,” she reminds me. “That’s the age you are when you think someone can actually take your boyfriend. Then you grow up and realise no one take someone from you if they don’t want to leave.”

We’re meant to assume that anyone making this much money (at Forbes’s estimate, she’ll have raked in $64m this year) or anyone this astronomically successful (seven Grammys, a Country Music Association lifetime achievement award when she was 23, and so on) must be a cold-blooded and ruthless operator. But Swift’s reputation for niceness is unrivalled – and, as I discover a few minutes later, completely deserved.

“It’s always been important to me, that’s always been a priority,” she says. “Every artist has their set of priorities. Being looked at as sexy? Not really on my radar. But nice? I really hope that that is the impression.” She agrees that “nice” is often used pejoratively. “Totally! But I don’t care if that’s not cool, to seem nice or not. I’m not that focused on being cool and I never have been.”

Outside, a sea of big black cameras and upraised iPhones are aimed at the door that she’s about to walk through. After a glance through the windows she wraps her arms around me in a very deliberate hug goodbye. Then she looks me in the eye and says, in a low voice: “Are you ready for a photoshoot? Take my hand.”

Shake It Off is out now; 1989 is out in October

(x)

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Taylor Swift on the phone - Kiss Breakfast Takeaway 8/20/14

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