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Taylor's Time: Catching Up With Taylor Swift

Singer-songwriter reflects on her big year (rapping! Grammy nods!) and previews 2010

January 25, 2010 11:08 AM ET

In a hilariously candid interview in our current issue, Taylor Swift opens up about her Shakira impression and the koi pond she's building in her new apartment. Here's more from the Q&A that you won't find in the magazine: Swift on her love of John Mayer, bling and last-minute song-writing binges.

Check out photos of Taylor's swift rise to stardom.

How did you spend the holidays?
I was back in Nashville, and it was pretty cool — my brother's leaving for college next year and I'm moving out in a few months, so this was sort of a moment in time for me, I was definitely recording all of it in my mind, the last Christmas with all of us being in the same place.

Where were you when the ball dropped on New Year's Eve?
I was texting Hayley [Williams, of Paramore] to let her know I got home from dinner, and that my paranoid thoughts of getting in a car wreck were unwarranted. So I think I texted her something like, "Don't worry about me, I'm not dead," and I looked at the clock and it was midnight. So I actually got to experience looking at the clock when it struck midnight, and that was a really fun moment for me, it was the most unconventional New Year's Eve I've ever had.

Also, my brother had a party, and I walked through and I said hello. A lot of the kids were in my video for "You Belong With Me," because I shot my video for that song at Pope John Paul High School. When I'm playing the mean girl cheerleader and I'm flirting with some other guy on the football field, that other guy is just one of my brother's friends.

Can you tell me about any of the influences we might hear on your next record?
I'm always going to love Keith Urban, I'm always going to love John Mayer. I'm always going to love people like that, who I feel are truly authentic, and that's not to say that my music will ever sound like theirs, but I'm inspired by people who I feel know exactly who they are, and that inspires me to continue to figure out and inform who I am as an artist.

What I was getting at was when are you going to start rapping? I thought T-Sweezy was one of the highlights of 2009.
Did you really? [Laughs] The CMT Awards asked me, "Do you want to be a part of our intro?" and one of the first things that came to my mind was that I really, really want some excuse to be able to rap and go to the mall and go to those kiosk things and go buy bling and experience rapping in front of a car with spinners for the first time. T-Pain agreed to it and flew to Nashville and we were in a sweltering hot, 95-degree parking garage for an entire day shooting — I will never, ever forget that memory.

[Cont. from 1]

I'm inspired by all kinds of different sounds, and I don't think I'd ever be someone who would say, "I will never make a song that sounds a certain way, I will never branch outside of genres," because I think genres are sort of unnecessary walls. I've been really lucky to have experienced that firsthand, with people taking down those walls for me little by little — I've been very lucky that country radio and pop radio have both been so wonderful to me. But when I hear a great song, I can't help but be inspired by it, regardless of whatever genre that song falls under.

Tell me about your Grammy predictions, what do you think is going to happen?
I predict that I will be there. I'm planning on performing, and that's really all that I can predict. You never know what's going to happen. I like being nominated for eight, I'm not going to lie. I like that feeling. It makes me smile. All I know is that I'm a really, really happy person, thinking about being nominated for eight of them, and I think that's a gift in itself, so we'll see what happens in L.A.

What's the status of the next album, are you talking about getting it out this year?
I like to have two years in between albums, so if you take Fearless and go forward two years, that's my ideal place to put out the next record, because I think two years of growth and development and feelings and life intake, love intake, emotion output, is my preferred formula for albums right now.

Does that mean now that you're 20, you're done writing for that last album, is it that strict?
Absolutely not, I write as life happens to me, and I'm writing so much lately. It's been crazy. So I think that it's fun making an album, knowing that two days before you're scheduled to have the last master in, and everything finished, and they're about to go print up the booklets, I can write something, call up my producer, we can get in the studio, put a rush on it, get an overnight mix, and that can be a last-minute addition to the record. I've had that happen on both my first and second album, the last minute, 11th hour songs.

That was "Love Story," right?
"Love Story" wasn't technically the last one, but it was very, very last minute. The two songs that were completely last minute were, on the first record, "Should Have Said No," and on the second album, "Forever and Always." Both of them had to do with something really, really dramatic and crazy happening to me and me needing to address it in the form of music.

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Song Stories

“Don't Dream It's Over”

Crowded House | 1986

Early in the sessions for Crowded House's debut album, the band and producer Mitchell Froom were still feeling each other out, and at one point Froom substituted session musicians for the band's Paul Hester and Nick Seymour. "At the time it was a quite threatening thing," Neil Finn told Rolling Stone. "The next day we recorded 'Don't Dream It's Over,' and it had a particularly sad groove to it — I think because Paul and Nick had faced their own mortality." As for the song itself, "It was just about on the one hand feeling kind of lost, and on the other hand sort of urging myself on — don't dream it's over," Finn explained.

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