Taylor Swift Elaborates on New Music, Songwriting and Tour Memories

Singer-Songwriter Also Discusses Favorite Fan Gifts, Singing About Personal Life

At the end of a 45-minute web chat with fans on Tuesday afternoon (July 20), a wide-eyed Taylor Swift exclaimed, “I’m really excited that I got to talk to you guys and answer some of the questions! I’ve been dying to tell you about the new record, just absolutely so excited about it!”

Within the first few minutes of the chat, she cheerfully spilled the beans about her new album, Speak Now, which is due worldwide on Oct. 25. Plus, her next single, “Mine,” is coming on Aug. 14 Aug. 16. Then she fielded a handful of online questions from her enthusiastic admirers — with more than 55,000 of them participating in the live webcast.

Here’s some of what she had to say.

Q: What is your advice for first-time songwriters?

Swift: My advice for first-time songwriters would be to know the person you’re writing the song about. First, know that. And then write a letter to him, like what you would say if you could. That’s why I listen to music, because it says how I feel better than I could, and it says what I wish I’d said when that moment was there. I would say, be as direct as you possibly can. If you need to dial it back later, then I guess do that, but for me, the more details, the better. The more it seems like a journal entry, the better. The more it seems like an open letter, the better — the more real and true and honest it gets, where you’re naming the places you were and the time it happened, all the things about a relationship.

What are your favorite memories from the tour?

We played two stadiums on the last leg of the tour. One was in Louisiana and one was at Gillette Stadium in Boston. … You’re showing up to sound check the night before and you get to play to an empty stadium. My band and I are not used to playing in stadiums, and I don’t care if we play hundreds of stadiums, we’ll never get used to it. We’ll never get used to the feeling of walking into this giant, giant, massive, vast space and getting to play songs in it. It was wonderful, and you guys have done that for us. … I remember we were standing there on the edge of the T-shaped [stage] thrust. My brother was on the stage taking pictures of us and we were all looking back at the camera. I have that picture, and I’m going to frame it and put it on my wall because that was one of my favorite moments on tour.

Was it hard to pick the songs for the new album?

Yeah, it was, because every song that I write is about someone. It’s about a certain emotion. In picking the songs, you have to be pretty aware about who is reacting the best to which of your songs. I’ll play my songs for people in my life, like people in my band. I’ll play them for Abigail [Swift's best friend], I’ll play them for my mom. … I really, really trust their opinion, and I know they’re going to be completely honest if they don’t like it. That’s just as important as someone saying that they like it. The ones that would get the best reactions are the ones I would put on the record. For me, Nathan [co-producer Nathan Chapman] and I are always talking about how “may the best song win.” It can’t be personal. It has to be personal when I write it, but when it comes to picking them, I can’t be like, “But no! That one’s more special to me!” … I don’t get my feelings hurt when it comes to picking which one makes the record and which one doesn’t because I tend to like the ones the best that you like the best. I’m sort of impressionable when it comes to what you guys gravitate towards.

Are most of the songs about your personal life?

[Nods yes] Mmm-hmm. And the thing is, I don’t really talk about my personal life in interviews, but I definitely sing about it. Yeah, I definitely sing about it. It’s definitely very sung about on this next record.

What are some of the most memorable things a fan has ever given you?

I have gotten so many awesome gifts from you guys. I love them so much. I hope you know that. You give me the coolest presents, and I have this entire room dedicated to it. There’s one in my house and one in my management office. I keep everything, so thank you for the gifts. And one of my favorite things that I got was actually (from) a lot of you that helped put this together. There was the puzzle-piece project, where there were these puzzle pieces that this group of fans organized. Each one of them made one, and they were all over the world. They put so much effort into it. There were all these glittery, beautiful, artistic puzzle pieces, and it seemed like every time I would turn around at a show, someone would show up at the meet-and-greet and give me one of these puzzle pieces. And I kept them. … After the 15-month tour was over, I had all these puzzle pieces and put them together, and it made the shape of this giant heart. So I decided to get this giant canvas, and I painted the canvas and then glued the puzzle onto the canvas. I’m getting it framed and it’s going to be very prominently placed on my wall. So, thanks, you guys!

Read more about Taylor Swift’s upcoming album.