If you’re not holed up in a cave somewhere, you might have heard that Taylor Swift‘s million-selling 1989 marks her official departure from country music. This might have ruffled feathers in some quarters, but the “haters” Taylor sings about in her No. 1 hit “Shake It Off” were few and far between at the CMAs. During their opening monologue, co-hosts Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley joked about suffering from “Post Partum Taylor Swift Depression” — before wishing Taylor luck in her latest venture. Billboard had the chance to speak with other country singers about the former country star’s pop incursion on the CMA red carpet. Watch the video below.
Like Paisley and Underwood, the interviewees were supportive of Taylor’s choices and her music. Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum noted, “the songwriting is still — you can tell she takes so much pride in that and that’s what I respect.” Chase Rice defended her right to independence: “Taylor Swift can do what Taylor Swift wants to do.” The duo Maddie & Tae suggested, “she’s killing it over at pop and we’re just really happy for her.” Even Steven Tyler of Aerosmith chimed in: “she’s just so good she can do whatever she wants.”
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Despite the hubbub Taylor caused by starting her new phase, it’s not as if she has shut the door on her country forever. The singer Dustin Lynch is thinking about the long-term. “You know what she’s setting herself up for? A huge comeback. Three years down the road, she’s gonna come back and make a stone cold country album, and it’s gonna be amazing too.”