Taylor Swift Tells Ellen About Bad Dreams and Brain Infections

First, Taylor Swift sang “You Belong With Me” on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Monday (Nov. 1). Then DeGeneres danced to Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough.” Then all the real fun, and all the talking , started. But even with all the ground covered, there was no naming names about boyfriends or exes. Still, Swift did have a lot to say. On writing the songs on Speak Now by herself: she said that was mostly circumstantial because there was no co-writer on her tour bus in Montana at 3 a.m., when she had an idea for song. On the emotional process of making an album: she said for the last six months she had nightmares that Rolling Stone magazine hated it and only gave her half a star. On her two main goals: in spite of success, she said she wanted to remain the same person and the same songwriter. On moving out: she says her mom still jumps to the worst-case-scenario conclusions, like telling her that if she blows her nose too hard she’ll get a brain infection. On honesty: “When I was 12, I was writing songs about my life. I’m still gonna continue to write about my life. And I’m gonna continue to never tell them who the song’s about. With music, that’s where I can say whatever. I was alone a lot of the time in school. I wouldn’t be invited to stuff and I’d be like, ‘It’s OK because I can write a song about it later.'” Then she performed “Mine.” All alone. With just an acoustic guitar. It might have been the most powerful a song has ever sounded on the talk show.

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.