December 5, 2014


Taylor Swift Says Her Label CEO Begged Her to Write Country for '1989'

Karwai Tang/WireImage
Karwai Tang/WireImage

If the massive, massive sales of 1989 proved anything, it's that Taylor Swift knows how to make an album people will buy—which makes a recent revelation all the more shocking. 

In a new cover story with Billboard magazine, Tay detailed her creative process while writing her first pop record...and Scott Borchetta, her label CEO and the man who signed her, panicked when he heard the news. 

"When I knew the album had hit its stride, I went to Scott Borchetta and said, 'I have to be honest with you: I did not make a country album. I did not make any semblance of a country album,'" she said. "And of course he went into a state of semi-panic and went through all the stages of grief—the pleading, the denial. 'Can you give me three country songs? Can we put a fiddle on 'Shake it Off'?'"

Think about that for a second: The trumpets on "Shake It Off" replaced with fiddles...

Taylor went on to explain that the recording process naturally led itself to pop-leaning collaborators (booking time with Max Martin; Hanging out with Jack Antonoff and BFF Lena Dunham), instead of her usual country peers, resulting in an album she could only describe as pop.

"It felt disingenuous to try to exploit two genres when your album falls in only one," she explained. "I never want to pull the wool over people's eyes, because people are so much smarter than a lot of marketing professionals give them credit for."

The star added that her label also questioned her album title ("They said, 'Are you really sure you want to do this? Are you sure you want to call the album 1989? We think it's a weird title') and album cover ("Are you sure you want to put an album cover out that has less than half of your face on it?"), but Taylor stuck to her guns. 

"Answering all of those questions with 'Yes, I'm sure' really frustrated me at the time," she added. "Like, 'Guys, don't you understand, this is what I'm dying to do?' The biggest struggle turned into the biggest triumph when it worked out."

With already 2.5 million albums sold after five weeks on sale, we'd definitely say it worked out.