"He's one of my favorite people on the planet"
It's a crowded field for Best New Artist at this year's GRAMMYs. Ed Sheeran, James Blake, Kacey Musgraves, Kendrick Lamar, and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis all bring convincing arguments to the table, from very different corners of the music world, no less. But Taylor Swift had no trouble making up her mind. For her, it's all about touring comrade/collaborator Sheeran, and Billboard caught up with Swift to get the details.
"I want him to win everything he's ever up for," the singer says. "He's one of my favorite people on the planet. And he's so talented and he's worked so hard for it."
In live settings, Sheeran's uncanny charm brings whole arenas to silence, allowing him to perform his heartfelt acoustic songs without a backing band. Swift thinks that onstage persona could lend itself to the GRAMMY podium as well.
"I think he would have amazing acceptance speeches. We toured together all year and I watched him every single night. He was just such a show-stopper."
Sheeran is prepping for the release of his highly-anticipated sophomore effort, due some time in 2014. He worked with the legendary Rick Rubin on the new music and says he hopes to release three albums over the next three years.
"It was so amazing to watch him work and to watch him put together his new record, which is going to be great," Swift says. "Whether or not he wins Best New Artist, I think people are going to be so blown away by what comes next from him."
Speaking of new albums, Swift herself is due to release a new studio full length next year, rumored for the fourth quarter of 2014. "I'm really loving collaboration right now," she told Billboard in December. "I see it as a bit of an apprenticeship. I want to be around people who love writing songs and have done it for years."
Swift has already hinted that Max Martin is among those collaborators.
In the meantime, Swift is set to perform at this year's GRAMMYs and is nominated for four awards: Album of the Year and Best Country Album for "Red," Best Country Duo/Group Performance for "Highway Don't Care" (alongside Tim McGraw and Keith Urban), and Best Country Song for "Begin Again."