Table of Contents
Deciding to Become A True Pop Star
Moving to New York City
1989 Secret Sessions
The media praised the secret sessions as an unprecedented, innovative concept of fan interaction, unheard of for celebrities at Taylor’s level of fame. They played a huge role in the virality of the record: all of a sudden, there were YouTube videos of fans dancing to “Shake It Off” in Taylor’s living room. The secret sessions showed all of Taylor’s marketing and business genius as well as the close 1:1 connection she has with her fans. It also showed that she understood exactly what her fans wanted from her and how they would react to an event like that. That’s why she would continue to host the secret sessions for both reputation (2017) and Lover (2019).
Living the Single Life
One of those pitfalls was the incessant focus of the national media on her love life. Truth be told, Taylor was a bit jaded. “It’s not like I’ve sworn off love. 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.” She told Rolling Stone in September 2014 that dating was 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.” Some movie star would get her address from his publicist and e-mail her cold. Usually she politely rebuffed them – but even if someone did penetrate that line of defense, building a relationship was hard:
Shattering Industry Expectations
At least part of the disconnect might have stemmed from the fact that Taylor had always been known for telling her fans that she was just like them; that she was their friend. For example, on the “1989 World Tour”, she would talk about all her friends and say that her requirements for friendship were 1) to like and her, and 2) to want to spend time with her, which everyone in that audience qualified for. But at the same time, Taylor was presenting standards of friendship in her own life that were unattainable to most of her fans. Pretty much all of her actual friends were famous and unbelievably beautiful models. In 2019, Taylor acknowledged that she has some regrets about showing off her large group of friends in such a public manner. In a piece she wrote for Elle she listed 30 things she learned before turning 30. One lesson she said she needed to learn was to rectify scars from her past. The example she gave was:
Falling In Love Anyway
The 1989 World Tour
On December 13, 2015 (Taylor’s 26th birthday), she announced she had partnered with Apple Music to release a concert film entitled The 1989 World Tour Live on December 20. Filmed in front of 75’980 fans during her stop at ANZ Stadium in Sydney on November 28, it shows the entire two-hour performance and never-before seen footage from backstage and from rehearsals with some of the musical and surprise guests from previous shows.
Changing the Music Industry
Record Label Disagreements
Trying to Avoid Overexposure
Either way, after the end of tour she planned on taking a break. “I think I should take some time off. I think people might need a break from me. I’m going to… I don’t know. Hang out with my friends. Write new music. Maybe not write new music. I don’t know.”
A Silent Battle
Making Music History
West’s credit-taking and the long tradition of men being dismissive—actively as well as subconsciously mansplainy—of the hard work and success of women still triggered her, though. This was something Taylor had become hardened to, having spent much of her early years being mainly recognized not for her songwriting gifts but for who she was dating, her fame distilled into what she called “my incredibly sexist Men–of–Taylor Swift slideshows.” So when she won the music industry’s highest honor, the Grammy award for “Album of the Year” in February 2016, she decided to offer stirring words to women in the audience during her acceptance speech:
The First Break In Ten Years
But she wouldn’t have much time to unwind. 2016 turned out to be the worst year of her life and career, a time which she described as “the apocalypse.” However, it would also lead her to her true love, the one she had been looking for all along, and as a consequence, she shifted her priorities and started living a much more private life. Fans didn’t know whether Taylor was going to return to music at all; until she blacked out her social media accounts in August 2017 to reclaim her reputation.