OFFSTAGE: Taylor Swift Inspired by Female Singer-Songwriters of the ’90s

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

At Taylor Swift’s recent intimate mini-concert at the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York City , she did more than a half hour of music — old stuff and new. But she also answered a few fan questions. This time, she revealed a little bit more about herself. First, she talked about her 2011 song “Mean.” “This is a song that I wrote about a critic who hated me. And when you write a song, you never know where it’s going to go. You never know what it’s going to mean to people. And you never know if, in your lowest moment of feeling totally, completely rejected — and like this guy hates you and you can do nothing and you’re helpless and you’re in this horrible place — and you write a song,” she explained.” Then, a year later, you … win two Grammys for it.”

After that, a fan named Evie asked Swift who or what inspired her to become a singer and songwriter. She said that she’d been inspired by the really great female songwriters of the ’90s. “I grew up when Melissa Etheridge and Sarah McLachlan and Alanis Morissette were killing it. Just like telling it like it is. And then the Dixie Chicks came along,” Swift said. “And that made me go, ’Wait. You can sing about your life?'”

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