Taylor and Travis (aka TnT) are the love story we all need right now and I’m here for it. WHY NOT BE HAPPY FOR THEM? They’ve each met their match, not only in their level of fame, but in the values they stand for, and lifting up others, plus they also both love to act goofy and how cool is that? They both have amazing families who are super supportive. They seem really suited for each other, so why not just STOP with the hate, and just ENJOY this LOVE STORY, about a woman, rooting for her man, in a football game.
Sorry not sorry. I’m feeling the feels. There are so many sad, bad, and mad things in this world. Taylor Swift isn’t one of them, so please STOP with the hate and the hurt. It seems like sometimes people are so quick to judge, without thinking it through. I’ll leave it to the sociologists and psychologists to go deeper in the following mega-run-on sentence, but here’s my take. You have a young girl who starts writing songs at age 12, who has a dream and unstoppable tenacity to achieve it, who convinces her parents to bring her to Nashville, who walks into record company offices and asks to be heard, who plays the iconic Bluebird Café at 14 years old, who writes one of her most iconic songs in her late teens, who becomes a super successful musician and businesswoman, who is ridiculed for changing genres (don’t even get me started there), who faces unfounded hate upon hate, who disappears from public view (google it) for over a year because of it, who reappears with a next-level album (Reputation) and regains her strength, who wins a sexual assault lawsuit against a former radio host — counter-suing him for a symbolic one dollar – hoping her lawsuit could set an example for others in similar situations, who continues to go the extra mile for her fans, who resolves to rise above and no longer allows the haters to bring her down, who writes songs I WISH I could write, who re-records her old records so that she can take back ownership of her own music, who goes to bat for other musicians to get paid fairly, who has relationships and breakups (um, why is that an issue and how is that different than millions of people) and writes about them sometimes, BUT whose songs are way WAY deeper, and speak metaphor time and time again, who is known for treating her band and tour crew well, who gives back in BIG ways ($100k to each of her 50 tour truckdrivers, huge donations to food banks in every city she plays in, and way more), who encourages voter registration, and who now appears to have met her match in a relationship. Why would anyone not be happy for her? Why do we insist in this society to tear people like this down, but if they were YOUR kid or YOUR best friend you wouldn’t put up with it for half a second? As others before me have said, kids are watching. Be a better role model. It’s not that hard.
Can you imagine, I mean like really imagine what your life would be like if you were her? How would you navigate it? What would YOU do? How would YOU go about your day to day? How would YOU manage the haters? Thank goodness for her inner core, her loved ones, and of course, the Swifties of which I’m proud to be one. I think Taylor is amazing, and I have for a long time. I first started listening to her in 2011 when I heard the song MEAN, which she wrote about a critic who trashed her. It became an anti-bullying anthem that has helped thousands if not millions of kids. The power of that really affected me. It was my first time seeing one of her signature moves – turning something horrible into something meaningful that could in turn help lots of other people. Then I watched her interview on 60 Minutes the same year and was blown away by this young woman’s accomplishments, drive, business sense, songwriting, and being a role model. I love her songwriting, like REALLY love it, I love how real and authentic she is with her fans, I love how she is as a businesswoman, and how she has been able to rise above time and time again. Performing in front of 70,000 fans in stadium after stadium and being as centered as she appears to be is remarkable, not to mention being the reason that hundreds if not thousands are employed on the crew/support end. She performs a 3.5 hour show each night of the tour including in torrential rain, with costume and set changes rivaling a Broadway extravaganza. All the while, creating an intimacy with the audience, especially during the acoustic set and surprise songs where it feels like you’re at a coffeehouse, listening to your friend play a song. I got to experience this in person at the Eras tour in Pittsburgh and that’s exactly how it felt.
I’ve said for years that I’m so over people hating celebs for NO GOOD REASON. There is a culture of criticism and disdain that is quite often unfounded and Taylor doesn’t deserve it. Is she perfect? No. And I’m sure she would be the first one to admit it. She has found a power within her to not let the haters win. They keep coming, and she keeps being herself, with love and lyrics, with kindness and giving back, with rising above, with strength, and with resilience. In other words, she has quite literally found her voice. If you take nothing else away from this piece of writing, please let it be this paragraph.
I think one of the reasons this hits home with me so much is that I’m also a songwriter, and as so many of us songwriters know, it’s a very personal thing to sit with your guitar or piano and feel/hope/let the lyrics and music reach the paper as authentically as possible. My big dream hasn’t been to sing in front of 70,000 fans, but it has been for my songs to be out there for others to hear or cover. When you can write songs from such a personal space, but have them hit heartstrings so universally, that’s magic. Taylor does that. And she isn’t out there trying to compare herself to anyone else. Others are doing that. Does she co-write sometimes? Yes. Is that a bad thing? No. Is it super common? Yes. Does she also write a lot of her own songs on her own? Yes. I’m 61 years old as I’m writing this, and Taylor Swift is an inspiration to me and a role model. So why do some people hate someone that is out there living their life, singing their songs, filling stadiums, loving their guy, writing honest songs, doing amazing things, giving back, being a positive role model, encouraging the vote, standing up for others, and rising above EVERY SINGLE TIME? Do you know how exhausting that can be?
Everyone has the right to voice their opinion, and if she’s not your cuppa, that’s ok. But I’m over the haters that hate for no apparent reason. Walk a mile in Taylor’s shoes. I’m not saying that any of the current one-name-women-wonders like Taylor, P!nk, Beyonce, Dolly, Brandi, Miley, Rihanna, Gaga, Adele, JLo, Kelly, and others need defending; they do just fine on their own, but this has been on my mind for a long time, long before Taylor and Travis started dating. Each of these incredible women have undeservedly and unfortunately received their share of hate, but I haven’t seen it to the same level with these other AMAZING artists like I have with Taylor. Not to mention, it seems there is more of it directed overall to women than to men. (Big surprise: NOT.) So to those that hate for hate’s sake, I just ask you to take a moment. Do you really think these aren’t real people with real feelings? Do you think that awards and money and fame should equate to not deserving respect and understanding? If that happened to someone you love, how would you feel? If you suddenly were face to face with Taylor, would you really be as hateful as the comments on the internet? Hating without learning and understanding the person is really not cool. Have we learned nothing? Isn’t it hard enough to “make it”? As a songwriter and music fan, I love SO many different types of music and musicians, from local to world music, from my singer/songwriter peers to mega-stars, from Taylor to all the ones mentioned above, and a zillion others. We know not everyone gets to “make it”. Heck, I’m still wishing for my big music dream to come true and I’m not ashamed to say it. I don’t go to the big concerts very often, but guess what, most artists start out in a small setting, perhaps even a coffeehouse near you. If you knew someone that worked half as hard as the women I mentioned, (and of course the generations of legends before them) who started in their local town bar or coffeehouse, who made it to the top, only to then be torn down by haters, wouldn’t you want to defend them?
Sidebar, I may need to continue this type of writing. I happen to live in the same area where P!NK is from, and though I’m 17 years older than her, we were probably hanging around Doylestown in the same era, her playing rock gigs, me playing singer/songwriter gigs. I never met her (yet!), but I admire the hell out of her, LOVE LOVE LOVE her music/songwriting, and finally got to see her this past summer, and was COMPLETELY BLOWN AWAY AND ENTRANCED by her show. I love her songs, her spirit, her realness, her incredible physical abilities and acrobatics WHILE she’s singing, and being unapologetic for who she is, and lifting the tide for others to rise.
I’ll close by saying instead of spending time on the hate train, go out and support your fave local/regional acts. You could be on the cutting edge. And whether they make it to playing stadiums, or have a great career as a working musician on a smaller scale, love them and support their journey. I could have posted a zillion different videos with this post, but below are just some, including live duet performances of Taylor with Mary J.Blige, Mick Jagger, James Taylor, and Jennifer Lopez. Go explore. You might be glad you did.
If you knew someone that was hated on and bullied as much as Taylor, and that person still managed to rise above, wouldn’t you want them for a role model? Oh right. That’s what you have. Her name is Taylor Swift.
“Every singer out there with songs on the radio is raising the next generation, so make your words count.” ~ Taylor Swift
CBS Sunday Morning – When asked why she keeps singing to the haters, she said, “When they stop coming for me, I will stop singing to them.”
I LOVE recommending The Long Pond Studio Sessions to new Taylor listeners.
Watch The Long Pond Studio Sessions trailer.
Watch in full on Disney+ or in sections on YouTube.
Taylor’s Billboard acceptance speech for Woman of the Decade. A great and very personal speech on resilience and empowerment:
Can you imagine being presented an award by legendary songwriter Carole King??!! Who by the way, sings her praises….and then Taylor pays tribute to Carole King.
Taylor on sexism in the music biz.
On the sexual assault case that she won. What she said afterwards, “My hope is to help those whose voices should also be heard. Therefore, I will be making donations in the near future to multiple organizations that help sexual assault victims defend themselves.”
On Trump and Marsha Blackburn.
Trailer for Taylor’s documentary Miss Americana.
Watch in full on Netflix. First premiered at Sundance 2020.
Taylor wrote the song MEAN about a critic that completely trashed her. The song turned into an anti-bullying anthem, likely helping countless kids over many years.
Taylor on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert
Taylor Swift – NYU Commencement address – 2022
A great recent post about Taylor and Travis that went viral. Written by Eric Folkerth.
Bruce Springsteen talks about Taylor (at about 5 minutes in).
All Too Well – the short film, written/directed by Taylor
All Too Well – Behind the Scenes of making the movie
Taylor Swift on 60 Minutes in 2011
Dolly talking about Taylor (about 4 minutes in)
Singer/Songwriter Craig Wiseman brings on a VERY special guest at the Bluebird Café in Nashville, which (IYKYK) is a room that seats maybe just over 100 people. I got to play there once or twice, and have some great stories from spending time there, including being stranded in an ice storm, only to be rescued by then owner Amy Kurland, which led to doing a custom pin for The Bluebird. Anyway, I digress. Here’s a clip from Taylor’s surprise appearance. This version doesn’t have the sweet intro by Craig because I didn’t want to use the full version that includes Scott Borchetta. You can easily find that version on YouTube, and I do recommend watching Craig’s intro.
Duets – Live performances
With Mary J. Blige – Doubt – Los Angeles 2015
With Mick Jagger – Satisfaction – Nashville 2015
With Jennifer Lopez – Jenny From the Block – Los Angeles 2013
With James Taylor – Fire and Rain – Madison Square Garden – November 2011. SO sweet the way Taylor introduces him and talks about being named after him. Intro is cut off but you can hear the full intro here.
With Chris Stapleton – I Bet You Think About Me (I had to include this one even though it’s not a live performance.)
And lastly, a few people covering Taylor songs:
Sara Bareilles – Clean
Kelly Clarkson – Delicate
Meghan Trainor – Shake it Off
(Photo by LisaBeth Weber – Taylor Swift Eras Tour in Pittsburgh – June 17, 2023)