What Makes Taylor Tick
Setoodeh, Ramin, Newsweek
Byline: Ramin Setoodeh
With the release of her fourth album, 'Red,' 22-year-old Swift sounds off on love and feminism.
Does it weird you out that I'm a 30-year-old guy who likes your music?
No, that makes me incredibly happy!
Aren't your fans mostly female?
It's been pretty even, actually, in the last year or so. Lots of guys in the audience, which is good to see.
You started out as a country star, but now you're sounding more pop.
When I went in to make this record, I recorded the songs over a two-year period. Every time I would come up with a new song that sounded different or unique or new, I knew we were getting closer. What I wanted was an album that explored the edges and broke new ground. One of my big fears is people saying my songs are all starting to sound the same.
Do you think your music empowers women?
I wrote a song called "Mean" about a critic who hated me. I put it out, and all of a sudden, it became an anthem against bullies in school. When people say things about me empowering women, that's an amazing compliment. It's not necessarily what I thought I was doing, because I write songs about what I feel. I think there's strength when you're baring your emotions.
Why do you think girls relate to you?
I try to have a normal life and look at things in a normal way, under very abnormal circumstances. You look at the idea of being 22, that's when you're supposed to be out there living and being selfish and making mistakes and messing up. If I mess up once, it's a headline everywhere.
Do you read about yourself?
I don't, really. If I focus too much on what people think about me--every five minutes there's a new blog, let's say--that seems self-obsessed and it would bring out all these insecurities that would make me a horrible person to be around. …