Taylor Swift tells EW about new album 'Speak Now': 'I've covered every emotion that I've felt in the last two years.'

Taylor-SwiftAs you’re likely very well aware, Grammy-winning star Taylor Swift has recorded another sure-to-be-massive album, Speak Now, which comes out Oct. 25.

The star, who has rocketed to fame over the past few years, recently spoke to EW about her new disc, telling us that it’s a “collection of confessions—things I wish I had said when I was in the moment.” The title track, indeed, is about “the moment in a wedding where you speak now or forever hold your peace.” That’s just a tease about the album. More details can be found in the Fall Music Preview in this week’s issue of Entertainment Weekly.

But until you pick that up, enjoy some outtakes from our chat with Taylor.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Do you remember the moment when you finished the track list and how that felt?
TAYLOR SWIFT: I finished the track list about two months ago. I don’t stop writing songs when I have enough songs to make an album. For the last two years, I have just been trying to beat what I have on this list of potential songs for the record.

I would think that working on an album is stressful. But when you talk about working on Speak Now, you seem so happy. Was it a joyful process? Or was there a stressful part to making it?
There is a stressful and joyful element to making an album. For me, I’m either incredibly stressed or overjoyed, and the way  that usually goes is that if I’ve just written a song, I’m the happiest you will ever see me. But if I haven’t written a song in a week and a half, I am more stressed than you will ever, ever see me at any other point. If I haven’t written a song in more than about nine days, that’s when I start to zone out in the middle of conversations because I’m thinking about what I could be writing about next. For me, it’s just such a fun challenge to constantly be writing and constantly be trying to top what you just wrote. It’s one of my favorite games to play—trying to beat what I’ve written last. What I wrote last is something I got really excited about when I wrote it, but I know I could write something better. But it’s just a really fun thing to go through.

Would you consider all the songs on this record to be love songs? Or are there some that aren’t?
I would consider the songs on this record as emotions—that’s what they’re about. There are some that are about infatuation and adoration and the positive, magical feelings of love. But then there are the ones that deal with when it goes wrong, which it oftentimes does. And all the different ways that it can go wrong and all the different ways it can make you feel and all the different phases of that you go through. Then there’s just social dynamics, dealing with people and learning about the fact that life is so unpredictable. I think that’s one of the things I’ve learned—life and love are unpredictable.

And you love writing about love and breakups. Are you a romantic?
I think that whatever I go through in life will be directly reflected in my music. If I have a bunch of different experiences with a bunch of different people and some of them are good and some of them are bad and some of them are confusing, you have an album like this. You never know what I’m going to write about in the future, but for me, I have a hard time putting together an album that’s just a few emotions. I like to feel like I’ve covered every emotion that I’ve felt in the last two years.

I heard that “Mine” got leaked when you were on a plane, and it was everywhere by the time you landed. How was that for you?
The release of my first single was nothing like I expected it to be, because I like things to be structured and planned and orderly. And I’ve never known any kind of release other than, you plan the date it’s going to come out and that’s the day that you release it and that’s what happens. When I got on that plane, I just thought I was going to Japan, and I thought it was going to be a regular flight—watch a few movies, take a nap. But an hour into the flight, one of my managers came up to me and said, “Hey, so, try not to panic. But how would you feel about a release of the single on August 5? So that’s 8/5. And eight plus five is 13, which is your lucky number!” I said, “It leaked, didn’t it?” And she said, “Yes.”

So you had to go with it?
Well, it was two weeks ahead of time, and luckily, we had the single already done and ready to go. Because, we’ve made good time on this album, knock on wood. As far as my next move, I just started asking a bunch of questions: What’s the quality of the recording? Do we know what the source is? Do we know how to prevent this in the future? What’s our next move? OK, we’re releasing it to iTunes right away. What about the radio thing? Oh, we’re just going to let it happen virally. OK. So, at that point, I had to assess whether I should stress out about it. And then I started to think to myself, OK, can I change it? Can I control it? No. But what I can do is make the next move and figure out what that next move is, and I think we made the right choice putting it on iTunes right away and getting it out to the fans. They were nice enough to make it number on iTunes. What the fans did with it was amazing.

What is “Mine” about?
My tendency to run from love. Every really direct example of love that I’ve had in front of me has ended in goodbye and has ended in breakups and things like that. So I think I’ve developed this pattern of sort of running away when it comes time to fall in love. This song is sort of about finding the exception to that.

Some people have been saying that “Mine” sounds like it could have been on Fearless. Has your sound changed for this album?
As far as my sound changing, I like to address each song as its own thing, and it gets to sort of figure out. In my head, when I write the song, I hear the production. I don’t like to make the album sound all the same, production-wise. We did some things I was really excited about. We used an entire string session. Like, we went out and had a string session in L.A. at Capitol Studios, and we did some really, really interesting things on some tracks that I’m really excited about, things we haven’t done production-wise. I’m just excited for people to hear the whole record, to be honest with you.

Is this a record that you should listen to from beginning to end?
This is an album, and I’m really, really in love with the idea of making an album. I don’t really have much of an interest in having a few possible radio singles and then filling in the blanks with whatever you have. For me, putting out an album means that every song on that album has to be something that I thought was the best thing I’ve ever written when I wrote it.

So one of the other songs that’s on the album is “Sparks Fly,” which you’ve performed before and fans already love. Is it a special song?
“Sparks Fly” is a song that the fans have been talking to me about in meet-and-greet lines for the last two years. So I revisited it, and I breathed some new life into it, lyrically and from a production standpoint. I’m really excited about the way it turned out.

Are you looking forward to the promotional tour that’s coming for Speak Now?
I’m really excited about everything that has to do with telling people about this album, because I’m just so proud of it. You know, promotion is all different—you’re never doing too much of the same thing. There are magazine shoots and interviews and talk shows and performances and concert specials. I like the variety of it, it’s definitely something you have to go into saying to yourself, I will not get tired. I will not complain. Because this is me going into it knowing that I’m going to work harder and faster and longer days than I will at any other point in the next two years. This is what I’m going to be now.

The last two years of your life have been so nuts. Is there a song that reflects the business and change of your last two years?
There is, actually. The last song on the album is about looking back on the last two years and how I feel when I do that.

Tanner on Twitter: @EWTanStransky

Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.

More news from EW.com’s Music Mix:
What’s the ultimate song of summer 2010? Vote in our official poll
Bruce Springsteen: Six-disc ‘Darkness on the Edge of Town’ details
Eminem leads Billboard Hot 100 chart again
Wyclef Jean records song to protest Haiti presidency disqualification
Russell Simmons speaks out in support of ‘Ground Zero mosque’

Comments (51 total) Add your comment
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  • Elizabeth

    Commence the haters…

    I like Taylor and looking forward to getting a copy.

    • carlee

      ive already bought the diamond presale package and will be going out at midnight to get another copy of it :)) I absolutely cannot wait shes AMAZING!!

  • laura

    How about the emotion that you can’t sing …. have you found that one?

    • whatevs

      Songwriters don’t have to market themselves as singers.

    • Chris

      This girl cannot sing.

      • duh.

        Like you could do better b!tch!.

      • marcee

        You have to be kidding! My comment to you is that you have no idea what you are talking about. I have seen her in person and I do not think that I have ever seen someone as beautiful inside and out like Taylor. She is an incredible entertainer.

    • porsha

      you know what
      your a rude person
      lets see you do what shes done at such an early age

  • Hayley

    I love Taylor but this was pretty boring. I’m looking forward to reading/seeing/listening something new.

    • Muthu

      The way information is pibeushld and made available to end users is shifting dramatically from a sort of monologue (from the big media to a largely mute audience ) to a wonderfully diverse and rich multidirectional online scheme.By allowing such proximity between the publisher (or journalist, or blogger) and the active readers / commenters , gathering news becomes a much more fulfilling experience, for everyone.No wonder the younger generations of journalists seek to master this new and amazing trend that, hopefully, will stick around for a -very- long time!

  • Torrence5

    Enjoyed “Fearless” & still think “Tim McGraw” is an incrediable song (from her debut albume). Looking forward to this new cd & the great songS to come to the radio

  • Arabang

    If Taylor swift can win a grammy, then Eminem will win one.

    • bbc

      I agree.

    • Jennifer

      Do you hate white people or something? You probably think douchebag kanye and jay-z are the best thing to happen to the music industry.

    • AllHailTheGoat

      Eminem has 11 grammys. He deserved all of them. Maybe you don’t like the style of his music but give him some credit.

      • 1234513

        yes, eminem did deserve his in his categories. but taylor deserved all of hers in her category, she does have more talent than him (songwriting, producing, keeping ground, entertaining, and managing) ,but if you like his music, that is great, because it is good.

  • Preston

    I think that upcoming songs or singles being leaked long before its release is really from some overzealous fans who just can’t take long hiatuses from recording artists between albums. They can’t take patience and the long waiting. How did they even get Taylor’s song before the record label did? Record labels need to be very PROTECTIVE of their artists’ new singles or albums even in an Internet, technology, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook age. Smart that Taylor and her label got the song out to the public BEFORE the leakers did.

  • lilly

    I think songs in her Fearless matched with her age about 15-16 years old, her voice does not need to be good in order for teenage fans to like her songs plus that is the age like to talk or dream/ crush about teenage boys. Now, she is almost 21 years old, she still just talks about crush, her voice/singing does not deliver very good emotion from what I hear from her new song ” mine” sure the video is beautiful pictures ( herself and lovely kids), however, it is just NOT touchable/ no any passion.
    Kelly Clarkson had a music video with similar scene in which a young girl & fighting parents, I can feel the pain from Kelly’s singing.

    • jo

      shut up if u dont like her why u on the page oh and STTOP BEING A HATER!!!!!!!!!!! taylor swift voice is awesome i u dont lik tswift leave this page bye

  • lilly

    Sorry to Preston,
    Nothing against free speech. I think leaking happens to most of singers or movies. Not just happen to taylor swift.I am not sure how the leaking happen, thought.


    I can’t wait for the Speak Now tour! We saw the Fearless tour twice and it was one of the best concerts that I have ever been to!
    Taylor is a talented song writer and has a beautiful raw voice. My daughter LOVES Taylor and I think she is a pretty fabulous person to look up to! I hope Taylor stays true to who she is. She writes from her heart and if you don’t like it change the station! I am a big fan!

  • mary

    I like taylor swift’s songs back 2-3 years ago, now I grow out of it. It does not mean I hate her. Her new song does not relate to me anymore. I listen to lots of other musicians’ songs, sometimes for relaxing, does not mean I will go to copy singers’ life style. I am not going to look up someone living in a dreaming/disney world without touching the real world where I experience now.

  • Rhonda

    She still cant sing!!!!

    • Darah

      Yesss she can!!!

  • Darah

    Ummm….. Taylor is my favorite singer, songwriter, my rolemodel, my inspiration and one person I can say is beautiful inside and out!! And, I have to say.. with her self-titled album and “Fearless” being two of my favorite albums….”Speak Now” will be my 3rd. She’s older and more mature now since she released “Fearless” and I think this one will be the best out of ALL her albums so far. I LOVEE Taylor Alison Swift and I CAN. NOT. wait ’til “Speak Now” comes out!!!!

  • Laura W

    Can’t wait but I hope she goes a little darker the fairytale stuff can get tired once and while!

  • kathy60

    I’m sorry, but I have heard Taylor in person and when she performs live (without the aid of a auto tune machine) she is so out of key it makes me cringe. I feel sorry for her.
    She should stick to writing songs for other performers (who can actually sing).
    Thank you.
    P.S. No wonder she is not nominated for anything at the upcoming CMA awards in Nov.

    • Kimberly

      Yeah, well I’ve heard her live as well at her concert and she wasn’t out of tune at all. I didn’t want to go to her concert, but after reading the Ticketmaster reviews from people who’ve actually been to her concerts, I am now a fan too. The reviews say she sings great live and I agree, so whatever.

      • Vanna

        she sings great live because her voice is run through the soundboard containing the auto tune mechanisims. her crew learned the hard way to NEVER let her sing without the machine!!!

    • Arya

      P.S. She’s not nominated for anything because she didn’t have anything new. She’s won more than enough for Fearless.
      P.P.S. Get a life and quit being a hater.

      I don’t usually post, but after reading your post…I really dislike you.

      • archibald

        true that Arya. not getting nominated for the upcoming CMA’s doesnt mean anything. i highly doubt Fearless can win anything else anyways seeing as how its won every major award out there. Quit hating Kathy60. dont know why im commenting on this just cuz you haters are a waste of time but for taylor its cool

      • cody

        Aryas right. Cant wait for Speak Now! Mines not my favorite song but Innocent is good. Why would haters be even looking her up? screw off.

    • Jeff

      You’re a moron. Her album came in 08′ Do you really think she would be nominated for the same award show where she already swept the awards away from everyone else;] Taylor is absolutely incredible and i’m buying her album 3 times<3

      Once on itunes, The diamnod package and the Target delux version. With 3 new songs and 3 remixes. w000000t

    • Jeanette

      I’ve never seen her live, but even if her voice is not great, nobody wants to hear Taylor Swift songs sung by anybody else. Frankly, I don’t care how she is live. She sounds beautiful on her albums and that’s all I really care about. Not everybody can be the best singer, but an ok singer who sounds pretty once she’s edited, and who is an incredibly talented songwriter and beautiful person? I think she deserves to sing her own songs.

  • Jordyn

    To all of you posting negative comments: if you don’t like Taylor Swift then a.) why are you reading the article? and b.) why are you wasting your time posting on the article? You people are ridiculous. I hate country music. But after seeing her perform & watching interviews with her on TV find myself liking Taylor: her music & her songwriting ability. She keeps her nose clean & provides young girls with a positive image. Keep going Taylor!

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