Taylor Swift graces the September cover of Vogue, and the extensive profile delves into the singer’s growth over the past couple of years, emerging as a symbolic butterfly from a cocoon of feuds, cancel culture and tabloids.
A big focus of the interview was Swift’s firm stance in alliance with the LGBTQ community, as expressed by her GLAAD-supportive “You Need to Calm Down” song and music video. “Rights are being stripped from basically everyone who isn’t a straight white cisgender male,” she said. “I didn’t realize until recently that I could advocate for a community that I’m not a part of. It’s hard to know how to do that without being so fearful of making a mistake that you just freeze. Because my mistakes are very loud. When I make a mistake, it echoes through the canyons of the world. It’s clickbait, and it’s a part of my life story, and it’s a part of my career arc.”
Another issue she cares deeply about is women’s rights, after having personally experienced some sexist moves in the music industry. “When I was a teenager, I would hear people talk about sexism in the music industry, and I’d be like, I don’t see it. I don’t understand,” she said. “Then I realized that was because I was a kid. Men in the industry saw me as a kid. I was a lanky, scrawny, overexcited young girl who reminded them more of their little niece or their daughter than a successful woman in business or a colleague. The second I became a woman, in people’s perception, was when I started seeing it.
“It’s fine to infantilize a girl’s success and say, How cute that she’s having some hit songs,” she continued. “How cute that she’s writing songs. But the second it becomes formidable? As soon as I started playing stadiums — when I started to look like a woman — that wasn’t as cool anymore.”
As for her very public feud with Scott Borchetta, founder of Big Machine Label Group, who recently sold his label and therefore her master recordings to Scooter Braun, Swift said she had to make a choice for her career. “It was either investing in my past or my and other artists’ future, and I chose the future,” she said of her current deal with Universal.
However, Swift emphasises that Lover is a fresh start dedicated to, as expected, love. “There are so many ways in which this album feels like a new beginning,” she explained. “This album is really a love letter to love, in all of its maddening, passionate, exciting, enchanting, horrific, tragic, wonderful glory.”
She shared two unreleased tracks with the interviewer, including the title song, which has an incredibly romantic, Swift-esque bridge with the lyrics “My heart’s been borrowed and yours has been blue/ All’s well that ends well to end up with you.”
Relating to her struggles as a woman in the music biz, another song she revealed to the writer was titled “The Man,” written with the concept of how her career would play out if she were a man. “If I had made all the same choices, all the same mistakes, all the same accomplishments, how would it read?” she explained.
Lover is out Aug. 23. Read Swift’s full Vogue interview here.