Taylor Swift Explains How Quarantine Supercharged Her Songwriting Process
Taylor Swift is affected by coronavirus-related downtime as much as anybody. After all, no live shows in 2020 meant two new albums from the superstar — Folklore and Evermore — in just six months.
That's because the lack of touring freed up more time for Swift's songwriting and recording, as she explains in a recent interview with Zane Lowe on Apple Music. Interestingly, Swift says she didn't initially realize just how much headspace planning concerts took up. Once they were off the table, however, the singer quickly adapted to the extra artistic energy afforded her.
"It has changed everything about the way that I do what I do," Swift says of the pandemic and its impact on her usual routine. "I was pretty upset when my shows all got canceled, and I realized I wasn't going to be able to connect with my fans in the way that I'm traditionally used to, just a normal human interaction I couldn't do anymore. And I think we all felt that way. I think the fans felt that way, too."
The singer admits that she didn't use to give merit to "the fact that [touring] is creating. When you're taking music you've already made … and you're choreographing and you're setting up a live spectacle that is taking up so much emotional, creative and imagination-based bandwidth in your brain. So if you take all of that away, what happens [is] I guess I learned that it's very possible for me to write more music."
That also meant the normal delay between tours and albums wasn't required for Swift last year, which, as evidenced, lent itself to the fast turnaround for Folklore and its companion album.
"We always feel that we need a pretty big break, or at least a significant gap of time, where we get to rest," the entertainer points out. "I learned that when we're on the road, it's not just that we're sweating and we're meeting a million people … and all this stuff that happens on tour. It's also the creation of the show itself that is taking up a lot of your brain space. So without that, [these albums] just happened naturally."
Having extra time also gives Taylor a boost in her ongoing project to re-record all of her early albums. Not that it felt like a chore for the singer, anyway. She underscores that the undertaking is a labor of love.
"It makes me feel really close to those songs again," Swift says. "It also reminds me that I want to keep a lot of cool surprises for the fans until I'm ready to show them fully to everyone. But the reason that I feel so passionately that artists should own their catalogs is because if you are the creator of all of this music, you're the only one who actually knows the ins and the outs of it. … You're actually the only one who has the ability to share it with the fans in the way that can make everyone the happiest and the most excited.
"So it's been fulfilling," she adds. "I had no idea what to expect. You don't want to feel like it's your homework got destroyed and so now you have to redo your homework. It's not like that at all."