Watch this famous Taylor Swift Speech. Taylor talks social media, touring, cats in lengthy YouTube interview. She was part of a program called YouTube Presents, which brings fans live performances and interviews with their favorite artists. Enjoy our Speeches with big English subtitles and keep your English learning journey.
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Taylor Swift Quote:
“Never believe anyone who says you don’t deserve what you want.” Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift full TRANSCRIPT:
“Taylor Swift: Hi. That was nice.
Taylor Swift: It’s great to be here. This is amazing.
Kevin Allocca: We were talking before, you’ve actually been here before; is that right?
Taylor Swift: Yes. I came here, I think, about five years ago, I was 16. And just about to release my first single Tim McGraw. And so we were traveling up the West Coast in a rental car, in a TAURUS, and I was doing my homework in the back seat, I was home schooled in 10th grade. That was when we made this trip to San Jose and came to see you for the first time. It’s wonderful to be back here and have so many of you come out this time around. It’s amazing.
Kevin Allocca: We’re a very forward-thinking company apparently, having you here when you were 16. I want to thank you for being here, first of all, for all of us. This is really an honor and a treat. You’re in the middle of your tour, Speak Now. I know you have posted some videos to your channel, sort of outlining your tour, and, specifically, your trip to Asia. And I want to show a clip from when you were in Singapore. I know you were in Chinatown, but the Chinatown of Singapore? Is that right?
Taylor Swift: Yes. We started out the year going on tour and started off in Asia. And then we were in Europe for two months. It was, like, three months of major worldwide touring. So Singapore was the first place that we went on the tour.
Kevin Allocca: Cool. Let’s roll that clip.
Everywhere, sort of fascinated by the waving cats, because, you know, of course, as long as you keep fresh batteries in them, they’re always going to be saying hello to you, just always. Symbolize forever, waving cats. What’s better than a cat that’s always like, hey? There’s nothing better than that.
Kevin Allocca: So this, of course, has all the makings of a viral video. There’s a big celebrity. It’s a global thing. There’s a cat in the video.
Taylor Swift: That will do it. I think you just said it. That’s the essential ingredient is a cat.
Kevin Allocca: Now your YouTube channel is very popular. I know you have over a half a million subscribers that get your blogs when you post them, which is really cool. I wanted to ask you off the bat, how important is your channel and social media in general as a tool for expression but also connecting with your audience.
Taylor Swift: I think we’ve all seen the effect of social media and how that can affect people. For me, I grew up when that was just about to set fire to the world. You know, I was, I think, in seventh and eighth grade when everybody started having a profile online and everybody was — you know, it was all about who’s your friend and who’s commenting on whose page. And then it became the YouTube generation, where everybody’s looking at videos, everybody’s making video blogs and, you know, makeup tutorials or this or that or back to school outfit shopping, you know. Everybody is kind of catching on to communicating by making videos and learning how to edit them. And it’s — I think it’s fantastic, because it’s just a new skill set for this new generation.
Kevin Allocca: And I would be remiss if it were a YouTube interview and I didn’t ask you if you had any favorite — I know you’re busy — but any favorite YouTube videos or channels that you like to watch?
Taylor Swift: Yes. I have watched this one three times this week because it makes me so happy. And it’s got these, like, five or six lion cubs. And there’s the lion trainer. And you’re like, oh, the lion cubs are cute. And they’re walking around. And then they jump up on the lion trainer and start hugging him. And then they’re, like, making all these little lion sounds that you don’t — you didn’t know what the sounds are that lion cubs make, but it’s amazing. It’s just like RRRR. They’re like hugging him, and he’s, like, oh, go for my hair. You keep going for my hair. And then he’s like, oh, yeah, telling me stories.
Kevin Allocca: Where was this zoo?
Taylor Swift: It’s amazing. It’s —
Taylor Swift: ‘Cause he’s like Scottish and they’re, like, hugging him and they love him so much. And — I don’t know. It’s – you — just watch it.
Kevin Allocca: I guess everybody is going to run — it’s going to be popular now.
Kevin Allocca: Well, this isn’t just our interview. This is also your fans’ interview. And you have some very rabid fans, the Swifties I believe is how they call themselves.
Taylor Swift: I know. It’s so cute. They came up with that.
Kevin Allocca: They’re very serious, by the way. They don’t mess around. They submitted 30,000 questions to this interview.
Kevin Allocca: And over…
Taylor Swift: That’s so much questions. They’re so curious.
Kevin Allocca: Yeah. We only can do a few of them. And we also have some from Google. But the biggest topic by far was songwriting, because I think that a lot of your fans have a big connection to the stories you that tell in your songs. Let’s start with this topic. This one comes from pandabearlover13. I mean, a lot of the user names are not meant to be read outloud. This is from Florida. Which comes first for you as a songwriter, the music or the lyrics?
Taylor Swift: I think for me, it more comes as a general idea. And my favorite thing about songwriting is that it’s so spontaneous and unpredictable what’s going to hit me first, whether it’s going to be a general thought. Like, for example, you know, I’ll be going through something. When I wrote the song “love story,” that’s a song I wrote sitting on my bedroom floor because I liked a guy and my parents didn’t want me to date him. So I got this idea in my head, it just popped into my head, you were Romeo, you were throwing pebbles, and my daddy said stay away from Juliet. I didn’t know where that was going to fit, but I started there and built out from there. And it’s crazy how the fastest songs that I write end up being my favorites, the ones that just happen (snapping fingers) in just a surge of idea, a surge of inspiration. It’s usually something I’m going through at the time. It’s very hard for me to come up with just some random metaphor for a situation if I’m not going through it or haven’t recently just gone through it. But, you know, I think when I was growing up, my mom was always — my mom talks in metaphor a lot. And so I think I grew up just understanding metaphor and just kind of loving that, how you could take something you’re going through and speak about it in a different way that applies how you’re feeling to something completely different but connects it. So I think for me, it starts as an idea and a feeling and an emotion.
Kevin Allocca: Yeah. We had a lot of questions about the process, from budding song writers who submitted questions that are big fans of yours, from Buffalo and a bunch of different places. And — I mean, you know, we were wondering, is there one favorite part of the songwriting process that you have? I mean, is it when you get that idea? Or when you’re sitting on the floor in the bedroom or —
Taylor Swift: Yes.
Kevin Allocca: — in the studio?
Taylor Swift: There are several moments in a song — and I won’t finish a song if I don’t have these moments — where you go, “ooh, ooh, ooh,” like, after you write a line. It’s always that same feeling of, like, oh, that’s exactly what I meant. You know, if you’re in a cowriting session, I’m always the one who will, like, be, like, sitting there for a second, and then I’ll say a line, and if it’s that moment where you’re just, like, that’s the one. That’s the line, I have to have about four or five of those lines in a song for me to put it on a record.
Kevin Allocca: Yeah.
Taylor Swift: Like, lines where I’m just like, “Yes!” That’s my favorite part, is, then, when the song goes into its phase of being recorded and then being put on an album and when you’re playing it for people for the first time, when it comes across those lines that you really feel are like, I don’t know, like zingers or, like, say it really well. I love watching people’s reactions if they — if it comes across, like, if they get those lines. I’m like, “Yes. I knew it.”
Kevin Allocca: We’ll get back to the cowriting thing in a second. There were some questions about that as well. Here’s another question, from musicmaniac in Los Angeles. You’ve said you’re already writing for the next record. Can you tell us anything about it?
Taylor Swift: Well, yeah. For me, I never really switch the writing switch off. It’s always on. Because I kind of have always felt, like, to make an album that I am proud enough of to give to my fans and say, “Here,” you know, “allow this into your life,” it has to be, like — it has to be two to two and a half years of writing. And that way, you know you have your best stuff, because I’m so tough on myself. I drive myself insane writing records and albums, because it’s, like, I’ll write, like, 40 to 50 songs, and then 13 or 14 make it. That’s a lot of paring it down and making sure you’re getting to the best stuff. So for me, it takes a while. And I’ve been writing ever since I stopped writing the last album. And there’s been a lot that’s happened. And I never really talk about my personal life, but I write about it. So that’s basically what the album is about, as always.
Kevin Allocca: Yeah. The unreleased thing was something that came up a lot. And one of the top-voted questions was about, you know, would you ever make a CD of your unreleased songs. This is from tayswiftfearless in Missouri. But, I mean, what happens to those songs that don’t make it to the album? And would you ever release some of those songs that you wrote especially when you were younger, like 14, 15?
Taylor Swift: Well, I’m obsessed with the latest song that I’ve written. I’m very guilty of that. Because my favorite thing is always the newest thing I have written. But lately, I’ve become a little more self-aware, because I had this song that I wrote when I was 16. It’s called “Sparks Fly.” And I played it in a few shows, these little bar shows, when, you know — when I was playing to crowds of, like, 40 and 50 people and being psyched about that many people showing up. And I played it a few times, and it got on the Internet. And when I was putting together the Speak Now album, the fans just kept saying over and over again, “Sparks Fly, we want this to be on the record.” And so I went back and I revisited it, and I kind of rewrote some things and updated it. And when we put it out as a single, it’s been one of the fastest-rising songs we’ve had on the record. So it kind of taught me a lesson about the old stuff maybe possibly being good enough to put on new projects.
Kevin Allocca: I’m sure there are a lot of people who would love to hear some of that stuff. Let’s move on to some of the released songs. This is a question from cookie13cupcake.
Kevin Allocca: This is in the United Kingdom. This is going to be a long one. All right. So out of all of your released songs, which song took the longest to write?
Taylor Swift: I think that the song Sparks Fly, the fact that it technically was started when I was 16 and ended up on an album in sort of a different form in 2010, that took a while for it to turn into what it was going to be. So I’d say that was probably the longest developing song that I’ve ever put out, because most of them — and especially having written this entire new record without any cowriters — it all happened really fast, because I’m very impatient. Like, if I don’t have a song finished, I’ll obsess over it. I won’t sleep that night. And I’ll just edit constantly to the point where I can’t focus on a conversation. Everyone around me is annoyed, because they’re like, “Clearly, you’re working on something. Just finish it.” So that one was a long time to kind of get where it needed to be.
Kevin Allocca: Cool. So let’s talk about that cowriter thing for a second. As you mentioned, this album was all you as far as for Speak Now. But you do often work with cowriters. And how do you decide if you’re going to write a song with a cowriter or whether you’re going to tackle it yourself?
Taylor Swift: Well, there are a bunch of different circumstances that could bring about a cowrite. If I’m writing for somebody else’s project, that’s always exciting for me. Like, I love to put myself in somebody else’s shoes and, you know, think about their style of music, incorporating their story line, what they’re feeling. It’s really fun for me to do that. So I love, you know, writing for other people. And then, you know, if I’m working on an idea but there’s, like, a stopping point where I can’t really figure out, like, where this chorus is going or if my hunch is right about the hook or things like that, if there’s a definite stopping point, I’ll bring it to a writer that I trust or a writer that I admire and just ask them what they think. A lot of times, cowriting, you know, I write really well with people who don’t even play instruments or sing. Because, you know, a lot of times, my best cowriters are just really great at giving advice. Like, do you think this chorus is too long? “Yes.” Like, “Thank you.”
Kevin Allocca: Is there anybody you’re working with right now that you can talk about?
Taylor Swift: Yes. You know, for me, since I write so much and I don’t know what’s going to end up on the record, it’s — I never want to say, well, you know, wrote with this person, and — because then what if it doesn’t make it on the record?
Kevin Allocca: Of course.
Taylor Swift: And then writing for some other people’s projects, in which case I feel weird talking about it because it’s, like, their project. So I — So yes, but —
Kevin Allocca: Okay.
Taylor Swift: Yeah.
Kevin Allocca: This was a popular — a lot of votes for this question. This is from quadraticfomulaabc in Michigan. Appropriate for the Google.
Taylor Swift: Wow.
Kevin Allocca: Do you sing your own songs in the shower?
Taylor Swift: Yeah.
Kevin Allocca: Awesome. That’s great.
Kevin Allocca: Do you have, like, any sort of favorite place for writing songs?
Taylor Swift: No, actually. I kind of have become — you have to adapt yourself to a million different places to write when you’re always on the road, because I just — I don’t have the luxury of saying, “Well, I have to be in this certain room at this certain part of town and it has to be, you know, all one color tone and there has to be Smart Water in there.”
Taylor Swift: You know? It’s just like you’re never, ever anywhere for more than two and a half seconds. So I’ve written songs in airport bathrooms, on paper towels. I’ve written —
Kevin Allocca: What song was on a bathroom towel at one point?
Taylor Swift: Oh, it hasn’t come out yet.
Kevin Allocca: Oh.
Taylor Swift: You know, in the bus bunk, you’ll wake up in the middle of the night and have this idea. So you write it, and you’re up at 4:00 a.m. Or, you know, I get awakened by song ideas all the time. And it’s just — it’s like I wake up and I’m just like, “Oh, great.” Because I know I won’t remember it in the morning. So you have to record it. And then it’s this whole thing where you check your phone and it’s, like, mumbling, and you don’t understand — you thought it was great at the time.
Kevin Allocca: Yeah. Actually, one of our Googler questions was about you recording songs into your cell phone. Is that something that you do regularly?
Taylor Swift: Yeah. The ideas always end up in my phone, because it has a great recording thing in there. And, you know, for me, it’s, like, you just write whenever and wherever you can. And that’s been really fun for me, because sometimes I’ll walk into a hotel room and I’ll be like, “I’ve been here. I wrote Back to December here.” Like, it’s fun, because you have these memories of writing songs all over the world.
Kevin Allocca: Yeah. Cool. So I know a lot of your songs are very personal songs, and a lot of your fans are very interested in that stuff. But this one came from MicaylaK in south Florida. Has any guy asked you not to write a song about him before you went on a date?
Taylor Swift: Not at that point in the relationship.
Taylor Swift: Because at that point, they’re thinking that, you know, I would never have any reason to write a song about them. And then it’s when, you know —
Taylor Swift: When they start to, you know, treat me in a way that wouldn’t reflect well on them in a song, if I were to be honest about it, I’ve had a guy be, like, “You’re not going to write about this, are you?”
Taylor Swift: I’m like, “Yeah, I am.”
Kevin Allocca: I think that’s interesting. That’s a point in a relationship that you would have to have is, this is the part where I tell her not to write a song about me, you know.
Taylor Swift: And you’d think that they would decide that before asking me on the date or before we become a couple or before all this stuff happens. But it only occurs to — it only — well, him, it only occurred to him when —
Taylor Swift: — when he — it occurred to him that it wouldn’t be a good song.
Kevin Allocca: Do you always write about, you know, people that you know?
Taylor Swift: Yeah. Because I feel like in a song I love it when a song is a story, and the story develops. And my favorite stories have really beautiful characters. And I feel like you can most accurately describe a character if you know them. One of my favorite songs that I’ve ever put out is called “15.” It’s about my freshman year of high school. And it kind of chronicles my best friend Abigail and me and the way that we went through our freshman year of high school and the lessons that we learned. And that’s kind of how I like to tell a story, is from the point of view of really knowing what you’re talking about and knowing where you’re coming from because you were there.
Kevin Allocca: Yeah. So let’s actually go to another video — our first video question. And this one comes from Cleveland, Ohio. Let’s roll it.
Video: Hey, Taylor, I have a question for you. I know a lot of us can relate really strongly to your songs and your lyrics. Considering I have gotten choked up a couple of times just listening to your songs, I wonder if you ever get choked up on stage or what you’re thinking about when you’re on stage.
Taylor Swift: She’s pretty. I’m really in it when I’m on stage. And I go through a roller coaster of emotions when I’m performing my show, because these are all songs about people who have been in my life, who a lot of them — some of them aren’t in my life anymore, and, you know, sometimes that will hit you in just the right way. And when an emotion hits you strongly, it doesn’t matter if you’re in front of 20,000 people, it hits you. And, you know, for me, I’m in those songs, fully feeling all of it, until I hear the crowd start screaming at the end of the song, at which point, I’m just like — like, can’t stop smiling, because my favorite sound in the world is the sound of thousands of people screaming all at once. It’s a really amazing sound. And so I’m completely feeling all the sadness and frustration and anger and hurt, and then the crowd starts screaming, and then everything is right in the world.
Kevin Allocca: Wow. We’ll talk about the tour and some of that stuff in a second. I want to ask one more Googler question about songwriting. And that was, has that process that you sort of talked about earlier, has that changed over the years? ‘Cause, you know, you’ve grown up a lot and everybody has sort of heard you grow up.
Taylor Swift: Yeah, I think it really has. I think that you can only hope that as a writer you start trying different things and you try different chords or different structures of songs, different beats that you’ve never really explored that path before. You know, and I think having always been a writer first, I’m obsessed with the syncopation of the way that words sound when they’re set a certain way. And once I’ve kind of done something once, I always want to go to a different direction and never repeat myself. So as a writer, I think that I’ve always hoped that my music would constantly be changing, because you never want to make the same album twice, the same song twice. And, you know, my greatest hope has been that as I grow, my fans will grow up with me, and as I change and my life changes, my music will change as well. So wish me luck there.
Kevin Allocca: Let’s talk about your fans a little bit more. This is a question from Canada, from YouTube. What was the funniest thing a fan has ever done to get your attention?
Taylor Swift: Well, there’s a lot of that lately, because we have this thing called the Tea Party Room, and, you know, I have, like, four or five meet and greets before the show. But after the show, there’s a meet and greet for surprise people who did not know that they were going to get a meet and greet, because they were picked for the Tea Party Room, which means that they were, like, going crazy, dancing the whole time, dressed in some absurd, crazy costume from one of my music videos or just knew every single word and were just screaming the whole time. Like, people get picked for different reasons. But it’s been crazy lately because a lot of people have been going for the costume route.
Kevin Allocca: Really?
Taylor Swift: So we’ll look out, and, like, my guitar player will lean over to me and say, “That girl is dressed like a chicken.” And, like, I’m trying to find the meaning. I don’t know why. But, you know, we’ll look out. And there’s, like, a Santa Claus.
Kevin Allocca: And these are just —
Taylor Swift: Or, like, people who like duct-taped their entire body in neon duct tape. Or people who have just made giant cupcakes around themselves, and they’re, like — they’re this big. Or people who have likelihood dressed up from the mean video or something like that. But then there’s just these ones where, like, the girl is dressed as this — there’s like a clown and a starfish. And we’re, like, “I don’t know why, but I love it.”
Taylor Swift: Like, and so there’s been a lot of costume stuff going on lately on the tour. So if you look around you and see someone dressed up as a giant cow and you don’t know why, we don’t know why, either. But it’s welcome.
Kevin Allocca: Now, this is iloveswift1 from Toronto. Another Canada question. Has a fan ever made you cry?
Taylor Swift: Yeah. You know, for me, like, it’s never going to be okay, no matter how many times I see little kids with cancer. Like, there’s — at no point do you ever become accustomed to it. At no point do you ever just brush it off and say, oh, well, there’s another kid who’s dying. And over the years, I’ve toured in these places, and you see, like, a little girl who will come through, and she’s, like, so full of life, but she’s lost her hair. And then you come through a year later, and you’re like, “Hey, Lexie, how are you doing?” She’s, like, “I’m doing good.” And then her parents update you. And then you come by, like, a year and a half later, and she’s not there. So it’s….
Kevin Allocca: Yeah.
Taylor Swift: Yeah.
Kevin Allocca: You have all of these fans all over the world of all different ages and types. And when you were young, did you think there would be any other career paths that you would take that you might not have ended up in this way?
Taylor Swift: Ever since I was a little kid, ever since I was, like, eight years old, my dad has been telling me to save my money or invest in utilities.
Kevin Allocca: What?
Taylor Swift: And — ’cause my dad is a stock broker. And he lives and breathes it. He’s like — my dad is so passionate about what he does in the way that I’m passionate about music, this guy lives for being a stockbroker.
Taylor Swift: That is his thing, like. And anybody who talks to him, like, he’ll talk about me for the first five minutes, and then it’s, like, “Say, what are you investing in?” It’s just like he loves it. And so I thought — I didn’t know what a stockbroker was when I was eight, but I would just tell everybody that’s what I was going to be, like, you know, it would be, like — you know, first day of school, and they’re like, “So what do you guys want to be when you grow up?” And everybody is, “I want to be an astronaut” or “I want to be a ballerina.” And I’m, like, “I want to be a financial advisor.”
Taylor Swift: I don’t know. I love my dad so much, because he’s so gung-ho for his job, and I just saw how happy it made him, and I just thought, I can broke stocks.
Kevin Allocca: Taylor Swift, commodities trader. All right, let’s talk about music videos for a second. There’s a lot of questions about your music videos. As I mentioned before, the music videos that you have on YouTube have been seen over half a billion times. Was there — what was your favorite music video to make and why? That’s from sophiekerrie in London.
Taylor Swift: My favorite music video to make. I loved making the video from Mine, because it dealt with this whole story line, and it’s got flashbacks and flash forwards. And there were also a bunch of little kids on the set. And they’re so fun. They make it so much fun, because there’s a lot of sitting around and waiting on sets, and we were in Maine, so we’re sitting around and waiting on a beach. All of a sudden, you’re just playing with ten kids. And they’re, like, wrestling with each other and throwing sand and, like, playing catch. And it just makes the whole thing much more fun. So I think that was my favorite one to make.
Kevin Allocca: Were there any cool locations or anything for any of those videos?
Taylor Swift: We went to Kennebunkport, Maine, which was this little town that I’ve always dreamed of going to. It was amazing. It’s a little coastal town. It was really awesome. I loved it.
Kevin Allocca: Let’s talk about the tour for a second. You’re in the middle of the Speak Now tour. Very famously, you’ve had some really cool surprise duets. And you do covers of classic songs pretty much every night. How do you choose what covers you’ll do in any particular concert?
Taylor Swift: Well, I go online and just kind of Google what people — what famous musicians are from a certain area, and I just pick my favorites, because, you know, I’ve — I’ve loved so many different kinds of music, and I’ve never really been genre-specific as far as what I listen to. There’s always, like, a favorite song of mine from a certain area. And, you know, it’s really fun to do, like, a few every night, like, you know, in California, I do, like, God Only Knows by The Beach Boys, and then Sweet Escape by Gwen Stefani. It’s just been really, really fun, because it’s just me and my guitar during the acoustic set. You can just do whatever because it’s just you and your instrument. It’s a spontaneous part of the show.
Kevin Allocca: Have you done any particularly unusual ones?
Taylor Swift: Yeah. You know, it’s kind of unusual when I rap.
Taylor Swift: You know. People don’t really, like — I guess people don’t see that coming. But I love “lose yourself,” so we were in an area, I think Michigan, and I just started — like, I started playing acoustically, Lose Yourself. And I just started off, like, “Yo.” And everybody’s just, like, “What is happening? This is really weird.” But I just — I love a great song. I don’t care what genre it’s in. I don’t care if it’s completely opposite from what people think is, you know, country music. And I just love a great song.
Kevin Allocca: Yeah. One of the Googler questions that we got was about which song of yours is the most fun for you to perform.
Taylor Swift: I really like Better than Revenge. It’s a song off of the album Speak Now. And it’s about a girl who stole my boyfriends.
Taylor Swift: And I got mad. And I wrote a song about it. And we do this, like, just — it’s just furious and angry and fun and, like, we have this gigantic bridge that be drops down from the ceiling, and me and my two backup singers are on the bridge, just, like, throwing our hair around and head-banging. And so that’s a really fun one to do. And for me, they’re all really — I think Dear John has a fun payoff. If you go see the show, I really love singing that, because in the end, it’s got this, you know, pyro-filled payoff in the end.
Kevin Allocca: Would you say those are two of the songs that get the crowd going the most? Or are there other ones?
Taylor Swift: I’d say — you know, you ought to come to a show, because the crowds are really kind of steadily ear-piercingly loud throughout the whole show. They’re amazing. Like, it’s really hard to gauge, like, which is the moment that — that they’re the loudest, because they’re just really, really loud.
Taylor Swift: All the time.
Kevin Allocca: Here’s a funny question. This is from alylaw42 in Dunlap, Tennessee. You seem like the kind of person that would name their guitars. Do you name your guitars? And what are their names?
Taylor Swift: I do seem like that kind of person. But I haven’t done it yet. I kind of think back on the situations when I got them. Like, when — when I fell in love with that particular guitar, like, there’s one of my guitars, it’s an acoustic, and it’s blue, and it’s got KOI fish swimming up the neck in, like, inlays. It’s just beautiful. It was — Bob Taylor sent it to me for my 18th birthday. I remember the first time I opened up this guitar case. And I’m just like, “There’s fish on the guitar.” It’s, like, this gorgeous guitar. And so that’s what I remember about that. And then there’s this sparkly guitar that I play that has hundreds of tiny little crystals on it. And it looks like we had it especially made. But, really, we just glued them on.
Kevin Allocca: Oh, really?
Taylor Swift: Yeah. And sometimes little ones fall — they fall off. So we’ll have to super glue more on with tweezers. That’s always what cracked me up about that. It’s like, everyone is, “Where did you have your guitar specially made?” I’m like, “Super glue.”
Kevin Allocca: How many guitars do you use in a show? How many of those do you go through?
Taylor Swift: Okay. That was a weird sound that I just made. That was weird. Sorry. The first one is electric. The second one is acoustic koa. Then there’s the 12-string. Then there’s the blue koi fish one. There’s, like, four or five.
Kevin Allocca: Yeah, wow.
Taylor Swift: And then a ukulele and a ganjo and a piano.
Kevin Allocca: Obviously, you’re on tour a lot, and you — that’s where you spend a lot of your time. But there were a lot of questions about you what do when you’re not performing and you’re in between gigs besides writing songs like you do. So I guess the first question, are there any movies that you like to watch while you’re on tour?
Taylor Swift: I watch a lot of TV. Like, a lot of TV. And my favorites are, like, the crime shows, where it starts out and, you know, you can’t miss the first scene or else you miss, like, the discovery of this crime scene. And then, you know, the — the, like, twists and turns of it all. I love CSI, Law and Order SVU, Without a Trace, NCIS, Lockup Raw.
Kevin Allocca: Wow.
Taylor Swift: I just am really afraid of getting in trouble. You have no idea.
Kevin Allocca: All right. That’s who watches Lockup, is Taylor Swift, actually.
Taylor Swift: Yeah.
Kevin Allocca: That’s awesome. But also one of the questions that we got was about what books that you read in your free time.
Taylor Swift: Oh, mostly history. I’m obsessed with other time periods. And, like, I just — I’m always looking up museums or, like, the historical society or, like, historical landmarks that we can go to in a particular city where we are. And recently, I’ve been reading a lot of books on, like, John Adams and Abraham Lincoln. And I read this, like, 750-page book called The Kennedy Women, and it dates back to, like, the lineage of the first Kennedy woman who came across from Ireland on the boat in, like, the 1860s. It’s just this crazy interesting read. So that’s what I’ve been reading lately. I’m sort of obsessed with history.
Kevin Allocca: Let’s talk about books for a second. One of the other questions that we got, actually, from one of the future Googlers in the audience was about how you wrote a novel when you were 11 years old.
Taylor Swift: I was 14.
Kevin Allocca: 14?
Taylor Swift: No, wait.
Kevin Allocca: You were younger?
Taylor Swift: I was, like, 13, I think.
Kevin Allocca: 13?
Taylor Swift: Yeah. But I did. I was — I was — I have a lot of different epiphanies. I always have different ideas as to, ooh, this would be a good idea. And one summer, I was at the shore. We used to spend our summers in Stone Harbor, New Jersey. And all my friends were back in Pennsylvania. And so I had nothing to do, and so I had this epiphany: I’m going to be a novelist and I’m going to write novels and that’s going to be my career path. And so I would write different chapters of this book and send them back to my friends. And I’d write them into the book under different names, but totally describe their personalities and — it was a really fun way to spend the summer. My parents were so frustrated, because I would never go outside. I’d just be, like, locked in this little study with my computer. But you’ve always been a writer first. It’s my favorite thing, is how you can convey a thought or a story or completely describe a character or a situation through words, and the right combination of words, and the whole process of editing and re-editing and rethinking and imagining and you get these little mini just epiphany ideas that come to you. And I think that that’s what I loved about writing the novel. And that’s what I love about poetry. And that’s what I love about songwriting.
Kevin Allocca: Yeah. And while we’re on this topic of things you do while you’re on tour and stuff, we had a lot of questions about what it is that you like to do when you’re on tour and you’re not performing. Is there any other things that you like to spend your time doing?
Taylor Swift: What I love to do. Yeah, I watch a lot of TV.
Kevin Allocca: Mm-hmm. Right. Crime shows.
Taylor Swift: Yeah, crime shows. That’s pretty much the hobby list.
Kevin Allocca: So have another question from a Googler here. And this is — it says as a father of a teenaged daughter, it’s great to see that solid songwriting and hard work can get recognized. Do you have any advice for young aspiring musicians?
Taylor Swift: Absolutely. I think that you have to love it more than anything else. And you have to love it for so many more reasons other than your idea of what the end result could be. Like, you don’t make an album so that you can get a platinum record to hang on your wall.
Kevin Allocca: Right.
Taylor Swift: And you don’t go on tour so that you can hang the sold-out plaques up in, you know, your bedroom. It’s, like, it’s so many little stepping-stones, and so many people have this idea that it’s like, you get discovered and then you get the record deal, and then you record the song, and then the song goes number one and — and it’s like, it’s never like that. Like, very rarely is it, like, one thing leads to another which leads to another, end result. It’s so many dead-ends and switching directions and going back and replanning and rethinking, and so many interviews and strategy meetings and management meetings and PR meetings, and so many things that are so outside of music, that you have to love music so much that just your hour and a half to two hours of stage every night is worth everything else that you’re going to go through. And also, I would say play your own instrument, because it’s easier than dragging around, like, a karaoke machine.
Taylor Swift: You know? Like, when you’re starting out, you have to provide your own background music. And it’s just so much easier to play your own instrument.
Kevin Allocca: Okay. Cool. All right. So we have one last question. This is a video question, another video question. And it comes from Chicago, Illinois. It’s a little bit different than some of the questions we’ve been talking about. Let’s roll that.
> Hey, Taylor. It’s Nick. I have a question for you. What does being beautiful mean to you? I mean, define your definition of beauty, what beauty means in your eyes and why.
Taylor Swift: I love him. I think for me, beauty is sincerity. I think that there are so many different ways that someone can be beautiful. You know, someone so funny that it makes them beautiful no matter how they look, because they’re sincere in it. Or somebody’s, like, really emotional and moody and thoughtful and stoic, but that makes them beautiful because that’s sincerely who they are. Or you look out into the crowd you and see someone so happy that they’re smiling from ear to ear, and that sincerity comes through. I think that’s what makes somebody beautiful. And I’ve never felt like there’s just one way to be beautiful, you know, tall or short, straight hair or curly or whatever, some people have their definitions of their “types.” For me, I think that when I meet someone and there’s that magical think about them that makes them unforgettable, it’s that they’re sincere and honest in whoever they are, be that funny, happy, sad, you know, going through a rough time, sarcastic. I think that these personality traits that come through when somebody is really sincere is what makes them beautiful.
Kevin Allocca: Cool. I think that’s a great note to end this on. Since this is a YouTube interview, there’s sort of a tradition that we have that — where are they? Oh, there they are. So you — it’s honorary for me to give you a pair of the YouTube tube socks.
Taylor Swift: Thank you.
Kevin Allocca: And I’m sure —
Taylor Swift: I can wear these with sandals and —
Kevin Allocca: You’re going to be —
Taylor Swift: Those are going to look so great.
Kevin Allocca: They’ll be really great for you on tour. We actually — we handed out some tube socks to people who were coming in. Who got tube socks? All of you who got tube socks, you’re actually getting tickets to Taylor’s show tonight.
Taylor Swift: I will see you later.
Kevin Allocca: Let’s hear it one more time for Taylor Swift. Thank you for being here.
Taylor Swift: Thank you.