Taylor Swift graces the cover of a special issue of Billboard Magazine, honoring the Woman of the Year, and honor she accepted yesterday in NYC at a special event. Inside is an insightful article about a girl who released her first album just over six years ago at the age of 16 and has since grown into one of the biggest stars of all time.
Just a few weeks ago was the five-year anniversary of your first album, released when you were 16. Now you’re Woman of the Year. Where do you see yourself on that scale of girl and woman?
Growing up in this position, making music, writing songs and having everyone hear what I’m going through since I was about 16 years old, now I’m 21 about to be 22 — I wouldn’t have had it any other way. On a scale of being a girl or teenager or woman, I never tried to be the one to label myself which of those three I was. I’ve just tried to grow up in the most natural and gradual process that I possibly can and make choices I feel are right for me and my fans. Whether I’m a woman now, or whatever, is up to my fans to decide, not for me. I really haven’t felt the need to make some bold statement of maturity or make the “dark” record yet.
Given the Woman of the Year honor, what women do you consider to be your role models, and why?
I have a lot of role models. Faith Hill is a big role model. Reese Witherspoon is a role model of mine-she’s not in music, but I love everything she stands for. Shawn Colvin is a huge model for me. Her writing has been consistently great and thoughtful and wistful and beautiful. And also-[he's] not a girl-but Kris Kristofferson has been a big role model for me. When I look at people who I feel have really lived their lives and recorded their lives in music so beautifully, those are my role models. They’ve all taught me lessons just by example.
Are there people you look to on the business side of what you do?
The business aspect is one of the most important things about having a music career, because every choice you make in a management meeting affects your life a year-and-a-half from now. I know exactly where I’m going to be next year at this time. That’s because I’m sitting there in those management meetings every single week and scheduling everything and approving things, or not approving things, based on what I feel is right for my career at this point.
From a business standpoint, someone I look up to, [because] he’s gotten to a place where he’s one of the only artists playing stadiums, is Kenny Chesney. Seeing a live Kenny Chesney show, you know what you’re going to get. You know it’s going to be an all-day party. He loves to sing about things he’s passionate about, and he’s made a brand without seeming like it’s a brand. I love that he’s gotten to a place where he can play such huge stadiums, and even when he’s supposedly taking downtime he’s playing stadiums. He’s always been a huge hero of mine.
You have scores of teenage fans, and many of them look to you as a leader and role model. Do you feel like you are a role model? How do you handle the idea that your words or actions may influence others?
As you enter down a career path it becomes very clear what that career path is going to ask of you. One of the things that is a huge part of making music and putting it out into the world is understanding that you now have a role in shaping the lives of the next generation. And you can either accept that role or you can deny it and ignore it and say it’s a parent’s job to raise their kids. But the reality is what you wear matters. If you’re a singer and on TV and in the living room of some 12-year-old girl, she’s watching what you’re wearing and saying and doing.
For me, when Faith Hill performed on an awards show, everything mattered-everything she said, did, wore, I tried to copy it. That’s what little girls do, so there is a big responsibility and I take it very seriously.
You can read the rest of the article here.
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