Journalist reacts to Taylor Swift's TIME Person of the Year Interview 👀

Summary notes created by Deciphr AI


In a detailed analysis of Taylor Swift's Time Person of the Year 2023 profile by Sam Lansky, the Swift expert dissects Swift's historic accolade and her candidness in the interview. Swift reflects on her career's ups and downs, including the infamous "snake gate" incident and the loss of her masters, which she describes as career-defining moments of "extreme pain" met with her characteristic defiance. The article delves into Swift's strategic vulnerability, her control over her public narrative, and her recent embracing of her past selves during the "Eras Tour." The discussion also touches on Swift's relationship with the media, her family's role in her success, and the implications of her re-recording projects on the music industry. Swift's openness about her private life and relationship with Travis is highlighted as a departure from her previous guardedness. The expert concludes that Swift's story is one of resilience, self-acceptance, and the power of narrative control in shaping one's legacy.

Summary Notes

Taylor Swift's Time Person of the Year Profile

  • Taylor Swift is named Time person of the year 2023, marking another moment in her series of historic achievements.
  • The profile is written by Sam Lansky, a journalist and writer highly admired by the speaker.
  • The speaker, a Swift expert, plans to give a detailed analysis of the profile, noting the significance of a journalist gaining such access to Taylor Swift.
  • Taylor Swift's control over her narrative is highlighted, as she does not often allow her words to be interpreted by others.
  • The speaker expresses a desire for deeper journalistic inquiry in the profile, despite understanding the potential limitations faced by Sam Lansky.
  • The speaker has journalistic background and is an online journalist, focusing on Taylor Swift and pop culture, hosting a Taylor Swift podcast called "Evolution of a Snake."

"Taylor Swift is the Time person of the year this is another historic and groundbreaking moment in a series of historic and groundbreaking moments that have been happening for who I would say is arguably the most famous person in the world hence she is times person of the year in 2023..."

The quote introduces the significance of Taylor Swift being named Time person of the year and sets the stage for the profile's analysis.

Sam Lansky's Writing and Journalistic Perspective

  • Sam Lansky is recognized as a prolific entertainment journalist with a history of writing about pop culture and celebrities.
  • The speaker appreciates Lansky's focus on narrative building and storytelling, which aligns with Taylor Swift's approach to her public persona.
  • The speaker acknowledges the challenge of interviewing Taylor Swift due to her charisma and the powerful machine behind her.
  • Lansky's previous work includes ghostwriting for Britney Spears's memoir, and the speaker suspects Taylor Swift chose him for his sympathetic approach.
  • The article is critiqued for being somewhat uncritical, but the speaker understands the context of it being an accolade.

"Sam Lansky is quite a prolific entertainment journalist... he was also the ghost writer of Britney Spears's Memoir the woman in me..."

This quote provides background on Sam Lansky's career and suggests why Taylor Swift might have chosen to be profiled by him.

Taylor Swift's Public Persona and Strategic Vulnerability

  • Taylor Swift is adept at crafting her narrative and being the underdog, making the audience root for her.
  • The speaker notes Taylor Swift's moral principles and her desire to be seen as good.
  • The hero's journey is a recurring theme in Swift's career, with her overcoming challenges and achieving redemption.
  • Taylor Swift's strategic vulnerability is discussed, where she shares enough to feel relatable but maintains her privacy.
  • The speaker reflects on Swift's resilience and mental toughness in the face of challenges throughout the year.

"Taylor Swift is a master of practicing strategic vulnerability telling you just enough to make you feel like you know her but not so much that you can invade her space or her privacy..."

The quote summarizes Taylor Swift's approach to managing her public image, balancing openness with privacy.

Taylor Swift's Impact on Culture and Celebrity

  • Taylor Swift's fame is compared to discussing politics or the weather, indicating her pervasive presence in public discourse.
  • The speaker wishes for deeper exploration of Swift's cultural impact beyond her celebrity status.
  • The phenomenon of Taylor Swift's fandom and her influence on modern fandom culture is touched upon.
  • Taylor Swift's narrative-building skills are praised, but the speaker is curious about Swift's views on the spectacle of her life.

"It's hard to see history when you're in it but harder still to distinguish her impact on the culture from her celebrity which emits so much light that it can be blinding..."

This quote reflects on the difficulty of separating Taylor Swift's cultural impact from her overwhelming celebrity presence.

Taylor Swift's Control Over Public Image

  • Taylor Swift has gained significant control over her public image, more so than in previous years.
  • She exhibits a nonchalant attitude towards how she is perceived, showing less need to be understood or explain herself.
  • Swift is acknowledged as the architect and hero of her own story, exerting dominance in crafting her narrative.

"Taylor is the architect and hero of the story the protagonist and the narrator and I think that this is something that she really wanted in the 1989 ERA this ability to control the narrative and to kind of you know be able to exert dominance by the flick of a finger and have people discussing her in a very particular way."

The quote highlights Swift's desire and success in shaping her own narrative, particularly during the era of her album "1989." It emphasizes her role as the main character in her story and her ability to influence public perception.

The Complexity of Taylor Swift's Identity

  • Taylor Swift is seen as a multifaceted figure: the person, the public image, and the character discussed by fans and media.
  • The challenge of managing multiple personas is noted, questioning how Swift contends with the various versions of herself.
  • The distinction between Taylor Swift as a person and her celebrity persona is explored.

"She is both the designer the writer the editor and the liver of her story like she lives through all of this."

This quote captures Swift's comprehensive involvement in her career, from creating to experiencing her own narrative. It underscores her active role in all aspects of her life story.

Taylor Swift's Artistic Shift

  • Swift's shift in her approach to her career and public image is considered significant.
  • Her less introspective public demeanor during the era is noted, along with speculation about her private reactions to various achievements and events.
  • The discussion touches on the impact of her fans' behavior and the nature of fandom.

"I think this is an incredible shift for her as an artist and a person."

The quote reflects the perceived change in Swift's attitude towards her career and public image. It suggests a positive development in her approach to being an artist and a public figure.

The Nature of Fandom and Swifties

  • Taylor Swift's fans, known as Swifties, are described as extremely passionate and engaged in analyzing her work for clues and messages.
  • The behavior of Swifties is likened to cult-like fervor, with intense speculation and online activity.
  • The role of Swifties in the culture surrounding Swift, including their impact on critics and other celebrities, is discussed.

"Taylor Swift fans are the modern day equivalent of those Cults who would consistently have inaccurate Rapture predictions once a month."

This quote humorously compares the intense dedication and frequent speculation of Swift's fans to cults with recurring but unfulfilled prophecies. It highlights the fervency of her fanbase.

Taylor Swift's Preparation for the "Eras" Tour

  • Swift began rigorous training six months before the first show of the "Eras" tour.
  • Her preparation included a custom program with strength conditioning and weights, as well as extensive dance training.
  • The commitment to her craft and the quality of her live performances are emphasized.

"I wanted to be so over rehearsed that I could be silly with the fans and not lose my train of thought."

This quote reflects Swift's dedication to her performance, ensuring she is well-prepared to engage with her audience without distraction. It illustrates her professional approach to live shows.

Ticketmaster Controversy and Tour Demands

  • The issues with Ticketmaster during the "Eras" tour ticket sales are mentioned but not deeply explored in the interview.
  • Swift's perceived relationship with Ticketmaster and her response to the Congressional hearings are topics of interest.
  • The physical and psychological demands of touring on Swift are acknowledged.

"The only thing she said about the ticket process was that fans had to work really hard to get them."

The quote points to Swift's acknowledgment of the difficulties fans faced during the ticket buying process, without delving into the specifics of the controversy.

Taylor Swift's Reflection on the "Eras" Tour and Personal Growth

  • Swift's embrace of her past selves during the "Eras" tour is seen as a form of radical self-acceptance.
  • She reflects on the transformative nature of the tour and the healing experience of embracing her history.
  • Swift's resilience in the face of professional and personal challenges is highlighted.

"Every part of you that you've ever been every phase you've ever been through was you working it out in that moment with the information that was available to you at the time."

This quote conveys Swift's philosophy of self-acceptance and growth, suggesting that every stage of her life has been a necessary step in her development.

The Role of Swift's Family in Her Career

  • Taylor Swift's family is mentioned as a significant influence, contributing to her career success.
  • The dynamic of the Swift family business is considered unusual in the context of child stars, with their close relationship and positive outcomes noted.

"I thought it was funny that she referred to her dad her mom and her brother as a small family business."

The quote humorously refers to the involvement of Swift's family in her career, portraying them as a cohesive and supportive unit.

Taylor Swift's Approach to Reinvention and Career Longevity

  • Swift's conscious effort to reinvent herself with each album is discussed.
  • The strategy of shape-shifting to maintain relevance and avoid negative outcomes in the music industry is examined.
  • Swift's scrappy nature and determination to prove points are considered key to her success.

"It's harder to hit a moving target."

This quote summarizes Swift's philosophy of constant reinvention, suggesting that by continually evolving, she makes it more difficult for critics or the industry to diminish her relevance.

Taylor Swift's Image and Brand Evolution

  • Taylor Swift's image and brand evolution seemed natural, reflecting her feelings at the time.
  • The album "Reputation" marked a significant, intentional shift in her image.
  • She refers to her "Imperial phase" during the "1989" era, indicating a peak period of cultural dominance.

"The only time that I really felt that in the first six albums there was a really really concerted image shift I suppose was to reputation."

This quote highlights the deliberate change in Taylor Swift's public persona during the "Reputation" era, marking a departure from her previous image.

Reflections on the Music Industry

  • Taylor Swift reflects on the music industry's treatment of artists, especially young pop stars.
  • She criticizes the industry for exploiting young talent and discarding experienced artists.
  • The industry's approach in the '90s and 2000s is viewed as problematic, with a focus on teenage stars.

"When an artist is mature enough to psychologically deal with the job they throw you out at 29... let's take a bunch of teenagers, throw them into the fire, and watch what happens."

The quote captures Swift's critique of the music industry's tendency to prioritize young, inexperienced artists and then cast them aside as they gain wisdom and maturity.

Snake Gate and Hero's Journey

  • Taylor Swift discusses the "Snake Gate" incident as a defining moment in her narrative.
  • She views herself as a comeback kid and an underdog, fitting into her hero's journey.
  • Despite her claim that her career was taken away, Sam Lansky challenges this perception.

"Make no mistake this was a career death... my career was taken away from me."

Swift's statement reflects her personal feeling of career devastation following the "Snake Gate" scandal, although the reality may not have aligned with this perception.

Psychological Impact and Isolation

  • Swift describes the psychological toll of the "Snake Gate" incident.
  • She talks about pushing people away and isolating herself due to trust issues.
  • The experience seems to have had a lasting impact on her and influenced her work in 2023.

"I moved to a foreign country... I didn't leave a rental house for a year... I pushed away most people in my life because I didn't trust anyone anymore."

This quote emphasizes the extent of Swift's self-imposed isolation and the emotional challenges she faced during this period.

Reputation and Public Backlash

  • Swift was concerned that the backlash from "Reputation" would define her career negatively.
  • She acknowledges the mixed reception of the album and the critics' fatigue with her persona.

"I thought that moment of backlash was going to Define me negatively for the rest of my life."

Swift expresses her fear that the negative reaction to "Reputation" would have a lasting detrimental effect on her career.

Creative Control and Overthinking Albums

  • Swift felt her creative choices were often second-guessed by her old label.
  • She reflects on how this influenced the making of albums like "Red" and "1989."
  • The "Taylor's Version" project is seen as a way to fully express her creativity without interference.

"The mole chemistry of that old label was that every creative choice I wanted to make was second-guessed."

The quote suggests that Swift's artistic decisions were frequently questioned by her previous label, impacting her creative freedom.

Partnership with Universal Music

  • Universal Music's partnership with Swift allowed her to release music more freely.
  • She contrasts this with the constraints she experienced under her old label.

"They said they would utilize everything they have as a company and give it to her."

The quote indicates Universal Music's commitment to supporting Swift's creative endeavors without the restrictions she previously faced.

Masters Sale and Artistic Ownership

  • Swift discusses the sale of her Masters to someone she believes had nefarious intentions.
  • She expresses the emotional toll of losing ownership of her music.
  • The incident motivated her to be more creative and proactive in her career.

"I was so knocked on my ass by the sale of my music and to whom it was sold."

Swift shares the profound impact of losing control over her music catalog, which has been a driving force in her recent projects.

Re-Recording Albums as a Coping Mechanism

  • Swift views re-recording her albums as a way to cope with the loss of her original Masters.
  • She likens it to redoing homework that has been lost, highlighting the frustration but also the determination to regain control.

"Nobody wants to redo their homework if on the way to school the wind blows your book report away."

This quote captures the reluctance and challenge of revisiting past work, yet Swift is committed to reclaiming ownership of her music.

Major Labels and Re-Recording Rights

  • Major labels have made it more difficult for artists to re-record their music.
  • Swift's project may have influenced these changes, although this was not directly addressed in the interview.

"Major labels have since made it more difficult for artists to re-record music."

The quote implies that the industry's response to Swift's re-recording efforts has been to tighten restrictions on other artists' ability to do the same.

Gratitude and Creating Art

  • Swift emphasizes the importance of gratitude and resilience in her career.
  • She values the ability to continue creating art, regardless of external circumstances.

"My response to anything that happens good or bad is to keep making things."

Swift's philosophy is to use art creation as a response to both positive and negative events in her life, underscoring her commitment to her craft.

Defeating Enemies and Self-Advocacy

  • Swift subtly addresses her conflicts with Scooter Braun and Scott Borchetta.
  • She believes in the power of self-advocacy and taking control of one's career.
  • Swift's approach to challenges is to bet on herself and push forward with her projects.

"I've also learned there's no point in actually trying to quote unquote defeat your enemies; trash takes itself out every single time."

The quote suggests Swift's belief in the eventual self-destruction of those who act against her, while also hinting at her proactive efforts to overcome obstacles.

Independence and Self-Funding Projects

  • Swift discusses the difficulty of finding support for her movie project.
  • She took a chance on herself by self-funding the project, reinforcing her independence.

"A lot of the times you have to make your own luck in this world."

Swift's statement reflects the necessity of creating one's own opportunities and the value of self-reliance in the creative industry.

Personal Life and Artistic Inspiration

  • Swift subtly introduces the topic of her split with Joe Alwyn.
  • She implies that personal experiences continue to inspire her work.

"The Joe Alwyn split... she is very openly talking about it."

Although not directly quoted, the transcript suggests that Swift incorporates personal life events into her artistic narrative, using them as inspiration for her music.

Taylor Swift's Candidness

  • Taylor Swift is known for not discussing her personal life publicly, especially her relationships.
  • Recently, she broke this pattern by openly talking about her partner, Travis.
  • Swift's candidness indicates a shift in how she controls her public narrative.

"alking about Travis and that is so weird to me as a Taylor Swift fan to hear her being like so candid and open like naming someone talking about what it's like to be dating them."

This quote highlights the surprise the speaker feels due to Taylor Swift's unusual openness about her relationship, marking a departure from her typically private stance on personal matters.

Public Perception and Privacy

  • Swift was unaware of being filmed at NFL games; she attends just to support Travis.
  • The public misinterpreted her attendance at a game as her and Travis's first date.
  • Swift chose to let the public believe what they wanted instead of correcting them immediately.

"she doesn't know when she's being filmed at the NFL games... she's just there to support Travis she has no awareness of if she's being shown too much and pissing off a few dads Brads and Chads."

This quote illustrates Swift's lack of concern about public perception when attending events to support her partner, suggesting a shift towards a more relaxed attitude about her privacy.

Relationship with Kelsey

  • Swift's relationship with Kelsey has been more public than her past relationships.
  • She explains that the public nature of her relationship began after Travis mentioned her on his podcast.
  • Swift emphasizes the importance of mutual support in a relationship rather than hiding it.

"this all started when Travis very adorably put me on blast on his podcast... by the time I went to that first game we were a couple."

Swift's quote explains the origin of her relationship's public aspect, which contrasts with her previous approach to privacy.

Taylor Swift's Public Image

  • Swift has become more relaxed in the public eye despite increased attention.
  • She no longer worries about things that don't matter and values living her life fully.
  • Her past relationship with Joe influenced her to be more private, but she has since grown to trust more.

"over the years I've learned I don't have the time or the bandwidth to get pressed about things that don't matter."

Swift's quote reflects her evolved perspective on dealing with public scrutiny and her decision to prioritize personal happiness over media perception.

Feminine Extravaganza

  • Swift discusses the success of women in the entertainment industry, including herself, Beyoncé, and Greta Gerwig.
  • She criticizes the media and fan culture for pitting successful women against each other.
  • Swift suggests that the financial success of women's art is a positive development for all.

"it's extremely heartening that three women have become Ultra Ultra Mega Rich that's good for everyone."

This quote from the speaker characterizes Swift's view on the economic empowerment of women in the arts as beneficial to society, while also hinting at an underlying critique of Swift's perspective.

Control Over Narrative

  • Swift has taken control over her narrative, both in her work and personal life.
  • By sharing aspects of her life publicly, she leaves less for the media to speculate or expose.
  • Her control extends to her career, where she relies less on traditional media and more on her fanbase for promotion.

"Taylor is controlling the narrative not only in her own work but in her life."

The quote from another writer illustrates Swift's strategy of managing her public image by providing her narrative, reducing the need for media speculation.

Reflection on Reputation

  • Swift reflects on her album "Reputation" as a moment of female rage against societal gaslighting.
  • She views the re-recording of her albums as a healing process and a reclaiming of her work.
  • The speaker compares Swift's re-recordings to collecting "Infinity Stones" or "Horcruxes," symbolizing the regaining of control.

"I'm collecting Infinity Stones... it's like a mythical quest to her."

This quote conveys Swift's perspective on her re-recording efforts as an epic and empowering journey to reclaim ownership of her music.

Taylor Swift's Impact

  • Swift's story of redemption aligns with a hero's journey.
  • Despite commercial success, she felt a lack of respect during the "Reputation" era.
  • Swift's influence allows her to validate the emotional experiences of her fans, especially women and girls.

"something in her had been lost. and she was grieving it."

The quote reflects the personal struggle Swift faced during a challenging time in her career, despite outward success, which resonates with her fans' own experiences of feeling invalidated.

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