Taylor Swift never doubted that her fifth album, 1989, would sell 1 million copies in its first week. "Everyone, in and out of the music business, kept telling me that my opinion and my viewpoint was naive and overly optimistic -- even my own label," Swift tells Billboard about the run-up to 1989's October release. "But when we got those first-day numbers in, all of a sudden, I didn't look so naive anymore."
"I'm as optimistic and enthusiastic about New York as I am about the state of the music industry, and a lot of people aren't optimistic about those two things," Swift says about criticsm around her song "Welcome to New York." "And if they're not in that place in their life, they're not going to relate to what I have to say."
"This album is not about boys. It's not about something trivial; it's not about revenge or breakups," she says. "It's about what my life looks like now."
"Taylor is like this force of protective energy," says close friend Lorde. "She looks after everyone she knows. We're both interested and involved in the workings of the industry. I have this thing in my head that she should do seminars -- 'Swift's 13 Steps' or something."
"People seem to love the album, and we're all high-fiving each other, but I remember all the sit-downs in the conference rooms, where I would get kind of called in front of a group of people who have worked with me for years," Swift recalls. "They said, 'Are you really sure you want to do this? Are you sure you want to call the album 1989? We think it's a weird title. Are you sure you want to put an album cover out that has less than half of your face on it? Are you positive that you want to take a genre that you cemented yourself in, and switch to one that you are a newcomer to?' "
"I'm not going to be one of those artists who walks in and says, 'I don't know, what do you want to write about?' or one of those things where they say, 'So what's going on in your life?,' and I tell them and then they have to write a song about it," says Swift. "I wouldn't be a singer if I weren't a songwriter. I have no interest in singing someone else's words."