Taylor Swift Interview Part II: Bleeding ‘Red,’ Living Under a Magnifying Glass + Growing Up One Year at a Time
Last tour, we couldn’t help but notice that you had lyrics written on your arm every night. If you were to ever get a real tattoo, what would you get and why?
I have written lyrics on my arm for the last tour, and it was really a fun thing to do because it could be a song I’d never heard before… It could be a song that somebody just said, ‘Oh here, I really like this one line in this one song,’ you know, in the dressing room before I’d go on, and I’d just write it on my arm!
And for me, people are always asking, ‘Would you get a tattoo?’ And I just… I don’t think I could ever commit. I don’t think I could ever commit to something permanent. So I think, no… I just… I couldn’t. If I was going to get something, it would be a 13, but I just, ugh [shuddering] — I don’t want to get a tattoo.
On that note, next year is 2013. It’s kind of your year! What’s one thing you’d really like to achieve in 2013?
Thirteen has always been my lucky number, so I’m very excited about 2013 coming up! In 2013 I really hope to go on tour and have it be… wonderful. I really want it to be something that entertains people and has them leaving the arena or the stadium going, ‘That was worth the money we spent for the ticket, that was worth waiting in line and parking the car, and filing into the arena — that was worth it!’ You know?
Back to the album. ‘Red,’ the song, was that the starting point for the record?
I had been writing for about a year when I wrote ‘Red,’ the song. And when I wrote that song, it’s almost like everything shifted, and I wanted to take the album to a different place. Because as soon as I wrote the song, I knew I wanted to name the album ‘Red.’ So, that was kind of in my mind when I worked on the album for the next year, and that ended up being — those songs ended up being the majority of the songs that ended up on the record.
As a whole, what kind of story do you want it [‘Red’] to tell? What do you think people will take away from it?
There’s 16 songs on this record. There’s a lot to go through, and there’s a lot to connect to. What I hope that people take away from this record is songs to play for every part of their life. When they’re getting ready in the morning, or when they’re crying over a breakup, or when they’re alone in the bathtub… or when they’re with their friends and they say, ‘Listen to this line! This is exactly what I’m going through.’
I want these songs to fit into people’s lives in all the different ways that they need music.
If you could pass on one important lesson — be it to other people or maybe your future children — about life, what would it be?
I think one thing I would pass on to my kids, or my friends, or anyone who asked for advice… I think I would say, ‘Grow up one year at a time.’ That’s something I’m so glad I did. I had weird circumstances around my life and like a magnifying glass on everything I do, but still — from 16 to 22 — I feel like I’ve been those ages every year. I’ve been 16 when I was 16, 18 when I was 18, 20 when I was 20… figuring things out, not needing to be 25 that whole time.
I think it’s important to get excited about things that you’re excited about, and live life one year at a time.
So do you feel, at 22, that you’re a normal 22?
I don’t feel like I’m ‘normal,’ because if somebody messes up and they’re my age and they’re like in college or something, they make a mistake and they’re like, ‘Oh, not gonna do that again! Hope it doesn’t end up on Facebook or something.’ And I’m like, ‘Oh, wow. This is going to be made into a big deal. Oh, this is going to be in the news for the next six months.’
You know? If I make a mistake, it’s got huge repercussions that are very public. That’s not normal. And it’s not normal to have people waiting outside your apartment with cameras, and it’s not normal to worry about the things that I worry about, but you still feel the same normal emotions. I go to the same places I used to before — I don’t like stay in or only go to places that have back entrances and weird stuff like that. I try to live my life in a normal way, knowing that the circumstances around it are not normal.