“Since I didn’t get to go to my prom this year, I’m going to create one,” Taylor Swift told reporters Monday (May 12), just before the launch of a party to celebrate her recording successes and impending high school graduation. It may have been the first prom at which alcohol was served openly.
Co-sponsored by Swift’s label, Big Machine Records, and BMI, her performance rights organization, the event was held at a new performance space in downtown Nashville.
Specifically being celebrated were Swift’s self-titled debut album, which has been certified triple platinum, and her single, “Our Song,” which spent six weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard country charts. (“Triple platinum” means that 3 million copies of the album have been shipped to record stores.)
Swift faced her questioners in a powder blue, tightly laced, off-the-shoulders gown, wearing her blonde hair upswept and capped by a plastic tiara. Women and girls entering the party were given similar headdresses, and both men and women were handed gifts of cologne when they exited.
Over the course of a half-hour, the animated 18-year-old singer held forth on everything from her second album (almost completed) to why she’s not contemplating college in the near future (too busy with stardom).
Swift was still excited about the celebrities she’d encountered last week during the posh Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Among those she met and/or mingled with were George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Scarlett Johansson and longtime idol John Mayer. “It’s the most glamorous thing that ever happened to me,” she said.
Still untitled, Swift’s sophomore album will be made up entirely of songs she wrote or co-wrote, some while in the midst of touring. “I write better under pressure,” she said.
Swift’s fifth and final single from her current album will be “Should’ve Said No.”
Visibly energized by the rocket ride on which her music has taken her, Swift peppered her conversation with such intense modifiers as “insane,” “incredible,” “unbelievable” and “crazy,” all of which seemed apt.
Swift said she was “destined for college” from birth, given the fact that her parents were college grads. But, she explained, she wasn’t going to take four years out of her career at this point after she had worked so diligently to get where she is.
She noted she’s looking forward to participating in Sunday’s (May 18) Academy of Country Music Awards show in Las Vegas. There she will be vying for the top female vocalist, top new female vocalist and album of the year trophies. Now that she’s 18, she said, “They’re not going to rush me through the casinos. I’m not going to gamble, but I can stop and look around.”
Having established herself as a songwriter, Swift said, “I would love to start getting cuts on other people’s albums.”
Asked if she was involved in any endorsement deals, Swift started to reveal details about a jeans endorsement but was gently and quickly hushed by her publicists.
People invited to the party were asked to wear prom costumes, but only a few did. Mercifully, there was not a single ruffled, pastel-colored dress shirt in sight. Big Machine chief Scott Borchetta looked snappy in his white dinner jacket and black tie. A couple of other people from the label were dressed unaccountably in 18th-century togs, right down to the powdered wigs. Most of the revelers, though, looked like they had just walked in off the street.
A festive punch bowl set up on a side table was barely touched as those who were seriously thirsty headed straight for the bar. A photographer set up a full-size standup of Swift so that everyone could appear to have his or her picture taken with her.
BMI’s Jody Williams led the parade of dignitaries congratulating Swift on her track record as a songwriter. “Taylor’s writing is Taylor’s life,” he proclaimed. He presented her a guitar in honor of “Our Song” attaining No. 1 status.
“Taylor never, ever lets me down,” Borchetta said. “She has incredible natural instincts.” Moreover, he continued, she has that same “it” factor he saw when he worked with Reba McEntire, Vince Gill and Toby Keith.
As to Swift’s upcoming album, Borchetta said, “If you had any concern about a ‘sophomore slump,’ forget about it.”
Borchetta paid tribute to Swift’s father, who stood in the audience, for having faith from the outset that his daughter’s album would both sell triple platinum and win an album of the year award.
As the songwriting, recording and airplay plaques and certificates piled up around her, Swift turned to her producer, Nathan Chapman, and exclaimed, “Nathan, can you believe this?”
Said Borchetta, “I hope you brought a big car.”