MC: How did you wind up with Ed Sheeran on “Everything Has Changed”?
Swift: Ed and I became fast friends as soon as we wrote together. We have very similar processes; we both love to grab a guitar and ad lib, and whatever comes out some of it ends up in the song and you go back and re-evaluate it and look at every lyric and edit it. I really love working with someone who writes in a similar way. And he’s also just really cool to hang out with. My friends and I love him, and he is someone that I’m so honored to have on the record. The song is a duet, so hearing his voice come on my album it feels really special.
MC: He’s a little kooky, though, isn’t he?
Swift: Well...aren’t we all? With him it’s childlike. There’s this kind of childlike energy about Ed, because he’s got such an amazing imagination, and that’s so fun to be around.
MC: What do you consider to be the general tenor of the album? It seems to take you into more of a mainstream pop direction than you’ve gone before.
Swift: The album has 16 songs on it, and to say that it’s eclectic would be pretty dead-on because track-to-track there’s nothing that sounds like anything else on the record. It was definitely an opportunity for me to push the limits and paint with different colors. I try to operate on an emotional basis, which to me meant taking the general emotion I was feeling, writing lyrics that I felt depicted it and choosing production that I felt painted the picture even more.
So if you are dealing with a really chaotic emotion, like “I Knew You Were Trouble,” I wanted it to be a chaotic, intense, emotional sounding song. I wanted it to match the lyric.
MC: Is there anything that felt completely left field to you on Red?
Swift: I think that there are so many influences that I have. I am such a music fan, and that’s why you see me doing collaborations with B.o.B. and then the next month doing a collaboration with the Civil Wars and T-Bone Burnett for The Hunger Games soundtrack. I love getting to be a part of this musical world where it’s possible to learn from people like that or from, say, Max Martin or Dann Huff. I feel like, at 22, I’m still very much a student of music and on my way to where I’m going to end up someday. But along the way it’s really fun to take risks because you look at some careers and you see people make the same album twice, and I never want to do that.
MC: You have a tour coming up in 2013. How are you approaching that?
Swift: I am so excited to see what songs the fans like the most because that’s the first step. We always see which songs are really the passionate songs and the ones the fans are freaking out over the most, and those are the ones that are definitely in the set list. And, of course, you know the tour will be a big representation of this record. But you know it will be really amazing to see which ones jump to the forefront.
MC: You’re mixing up arenas and stadiums again. Do you have a preference?
Swift: Well, I like for it to be big––as big as possible. I just want to be able, in this economy, to make a show that will be entertaining enough to warrant the fans leaving their house, spending their evening with me, parking their car, waiting in line, maybe buy a T-shirt. I want them to be so happy that they decided to spend their time with me––I think that’s my biggest objective. And the element of surprise is still really important in a concert, and showing scenes and images and visuals that are magical. I really like to take people to a different world and change things up constantly, never showing them too much of the same thing too many times in a row.
Contact Claudine Ottinger, firstname.lastname@example.org