Taylor Swift Breaks Down Songwriting Process for ‘1989’

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Videos by American Songwriter

Taylor Swift recently sat down with members of the Record Academy for a listening session and discussion of her latest album, 1989.

The 25-year-old singer-songwriter breaks down her thoughts on her previous releases leading up to 1989, including her collaborations with Swedish pop producer Max Martin on Red that paved the way for 1989‘s full-blown pop sound. The pop tracks initially worried her record label, who were hesitant about Swift abandoning the country market. She talks about this push-back and how Red losing the Grammy Award for Album of the Year to Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories in 2014 made her reevaluate the records she was making.

“Maybe I need to fix the problem, which was that I have not been making sonically cohesive albums,” Swift says. “I really need to think about whether I’m listening to a scared record label and what that’s doing to the art I’m making.”

She then breaks down the songwriting and recording process of tracks from the album and plays iPhone demos and in-studio videos from the sessions. In the first part of the discussion, she explains how “Blank Space” was written from the perspective of the exaggerated heartbreaking personality many see her as and how most of the lyrics were constructed from assorted lines she had written on her phone.

“I’ll just be out and I’ll get some zinger in my head and I’ll just write it down in an endless note-thing in my phone,” she says. “A lot of those lines were just things that I came up with in the past year, like ‘Darling I’m a nightmare dressed as a daydream.'”

Watch part one of the discussion below, and stay tuned for parts two and three, where Swift breaks down other 1989 cuts like “Shake It Off” and “Out of the Woods.”

For our coverage of one of Taylor Swift’s recent 1989 Tour performances, click here.

Photo by John Shearer/TAS23/Getty Images for TAS Rights Management

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