The Red singer is the face of TIME Magazine’s latest issue, which shows a very raw photo of T-Swift looking into the camera, showing off her beautiful blue eyes, and full red lips.
In the interview, Taylor talks leaving Spotify, her upcoming tour, and some of her female role models – even though she is arguably a role model herself.
See some excerpts from the interview below:
Why did you leave Spotify? I’m in an office of people who are upset they can’t stream your music.
Well, they can still listen to my music if they get it on iTunes. I’m always up for trying something. And I tried it and I didn’t like the way it felt. I think there should be an inherent value placed on art. I didn’t see that happening, perception-wise, when I put my music on Spotify. Everybody’s complaining about how music sales are shrinking, but nobody’s changing the way they’re doing things. They keep running towards streaming, which is, for the most part, what has been shrinking the numbers of paid album sales.
With Beats Music and Rhapsody you have to pay for a premium package in order to access my albums. And that places a perception of value on what I’ve created. On Spotify, they don’t have any settings, or any kind of qualifications for who gets what music. I think that people should feel that there is a value to what musicians have created, and that’s that. I wrote about this in July, I wrote an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal. This shouldn’t be news right now. It should have been news in July when I went out and stood up and said I’m against it. And so this is really kind of an old story.
Is there someone you look to as a model of where you’d like your career to go? Are there women you look up to?
We’re taught to find examples for the way we want our lives to wind up. But I can’t find anyone, really, who’s had the same career trajectory as mine. So when I’m in an optimistic place I hope that my life won’t match anyone else’s life trajectory, either, going forward. I do have female role models in the sense of actresses like Mariska Hargitay. I think she has a beautiful life, and an incredible career, and I think she’s built that for herself. She’s one of the highest paid actresses—actors in general, women or men—on television, and she’s been playing this very strong female character for, what, 15 years now, something like that. And Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa. I really love her business, and how she sticks to who she is, and how people relate to it. In other industries, I have female role models. I just struggle to find a woman in music who hasn’t been completely picked apart by the media, or scrutinized and criticized for aging, or criticized for fighting aging—it just seems to be much more difficult to be a woman in music and to grow older. I just really hope that I will choose to do it as gracefully as possible.
Is it a struggle, being a role model for so many young women while trying to produce something artistically valid?
I don’t find a struggle with that balance, being looked at as a role model, because I think it’s a very obvious and natural thing for people to see you as, when you’re a singer. I’ve always felt very comfortable with it, for some reason. That in particular hasn’t been one of my struggles. I’ve struggled with a lot of things, but the idea that you’re living your life and it’s impacting other people, some of whom are very young, some of whom are in their most impressionable times and they’re discovering the music that tells them how they are going to live their lives and how they should feel and how it’s acceptable to feel, I think that that’s kind of exciting.
But it’s the same thing as living your life based on what your grandkids will say one day. I’m sure there will be things that my grandkids make fun of me for no matter what, but I’d really rather it be, “Look how awkward your dancing was in the ‘Shake It Off’ video! You look so weird, Grandma!” rather than “Grandma, is that your nipple?” I don’t make it as much about the millions of people who would be disappointed if I were to have some sort of meltdown or scandal or something that made everyone feel like my character wasn’t what they thought it was. I think more about the people in my life that would disappoint: my mom, my dad, my kids, if I ever have them. And that way it’s not as much pressure as thinking about the millions of little minds that you must be shaping. I’m trying to live my life with some sort of thoughtfulness put into my actions, but it’s not because I feel like I’m the president of the International Babysitters Club.
What do you have planned for the tour?
I know that with the way the fans have latched onto this album, the setlist will be predominantly songs from 1989. You know, when I go back and play songs I know they want to hear, like “Love Story” or “Trouble,” it’ll be interesting to reimagine them so that the fans get a new experience that feels in keeping with 1989. But I’m so excited. I have so many things I’ve been dreaming up for this.
If you look at the makeup of my previous music, as far as production elements go, there are a lot of live drums, acoustic guitars, electric guitars, and live bass. And if you look at the landscape of 1989, it’s mostly synths and automated drums and these kind of big epic synth pad sounds, and key bass, and layered vocals. I have a very big band, there are, what, 14 of us, so what you’re going to end up with is more of a live feel in that it’s going to be filled in and more dramatic with more layers to it, but never to the point where it’s going to feel noisy or overcrowded. The music on this tour is going to live a little bit in that world, and thank God, my fans really seem to like that world.
The challenge with a stadium show is making those people in the very top row feel like they got an intimate, personal experience. On the Red tour we achieved that sense of intimacy by having acoustic moments, and moments where I was telling stories about these songs. I don’t like to scream at the audience, I like to talk to them.
I really like for there to be something theatrical about what we do on stage. When I was younger, I was just obsessed with Broadway shows. As much as I can show these audiences an element of that theatrical nature to a performance, I think that it allows them to escape from their lives a little bit more. So when you have a show like that it’s very difficult to change up the setlist every night. I keep the setlist pretty much intact, but we have little variables—I usually do different acoustic songs every night. In the past, I have brought out dozens of guest artists not to perform my songs but to perform their songs and I’ll take a verse. And those are the things that make me the happiest, because the reality of the situation is that most of the kids in the audience have YouTubed the entire concert before they got there. They know exactly what’s going to happen next unless I call up another artist and have a secret rehearsal soundcheck and surprise the crowd with something they genuinely weren’t expecting. I should be getting on that now, look into a booking agent for these things.
But it’s worth it because I really want them to have that genuine moment of surprise. It’s very rare in this day and age to surprise people, but I really like doing it.
She also reveals that she would love to tour with Iggy Azalea, Haim, and Vance Joy for this upcoming one, but there’s no word on what’s to come.
TIME is on newsstands now.
SOURCE: TIME Magazine | PHOTO CREDIT: Time