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Five Things We Learned From Taylor Swift’s Billboard Woman of the Year Cover Story

Taylor Swift
Billboard

Taylor Swift is having yet another amazing year, and Billboard magazine is acknowledging that fact by naming her its 2014 Woman of the Year!

And what a time it has been for Taylor, whose fifth album, the unapologetically pop ‘1989,’ has been breaking as many records as it has been changing people’s perceptions of her as as solely a country artist. As Billboard states in its Swift cover story, she is now the only artist in history to have three 1 million-selling weeks — and she has yet to hit 25 herself! (That milestone occurs Dec. 13, btw.)

The wide-ranging interview covers such things as her struggles with the suits at her record company and her unconventional upbringing, but here are the five things we found the most compelling in the article. Read on!

She doesn’t care why you like ‘Shake It Off’ — she just wants you to like it!

“‘Shake It Off’ is essentially written about an important lesson I learned that really changed how I live my life and how I look at my life,” she tells Billboard. “I really wanted it to be a song that made people want to get up and dance at a wedding reception from the first drum beat. But I also wanted it to be a song that could help someone get through something really terrible, if they wanted to focus on the emotional profile, on the lyrics. Because I’ve had people say things to me like, ‘When my mom died, I listened to this every single day to help me get out of bed.’ And then I’ve had people say, ‘I danced to this drunk at a wedding reception.’ If they want to forget about the lyrics, they can, but if they want to hang on every word, they can do that, too.”

She admits ‘Welcome to New York’ might not be for everyone.

New track ‘Welcome to New York’ has received criticism from those who say the city has become too unaffordable for many people. But Taylor defends the song, effectively stating that you can’t please every listener every time.

“When you write a song, you’re writing about a momentary emotion,” she says. “If you can capture that and turn it into three-and-half minutes that feel like that emotion, that’s all you’re trying to do as a songwriter. To take a song and try to apply it to every situation everyone is going through — economically, politically, in an entire metropolitan area — is asking a little much of a piece of a music.”

Taylor continues, “I’m as optimistic and enthusiastic about New York as I am about the state of the music industry, and a lot of people aren’t optimistic about those two things. And if they’re not in that place in their life, they’re not going to relate to what I have to say.”

Her besties need to have their own lives and interests.

Taylor explains that she chooses her friends — even famous ones like Lena Dunham and Karlie Kloss — in a way that many other celebs don’t. “I never thought too hard about it,” she says, “but you’ll notice a lot of celebrity-type people tend to surround themselves with people whose lives revolve around them. You’ll have a posse of these exciting and fashionable cling-ons, and it’s because those celebrities need to be fawned over.”

She elaborates: “I feel uncomfortable being the No. 1 priority in my friends’ lives — I want to be there to make their lives more fun, if they need to talk, to be there for spontaneous and exciting adventures, but I don’t want friends who don’t have a life outside of me. So whether it’s Karlie, who loves what she does in fashion, or Lily Aldridge or Lena or my [childhood] friend Abigail, whose job is making sure that veterans get their compensation checks, the one thing they all have in common is that they love what they do. They have me in their life because they want me in their life, not because they gain from it.”

She discovers new music the same way a lot of us do!

“I buy it on iTunes,” Taylor tells Billboard. “Things I see trending online, friends on Twitter who tweet about new music. iTunes has really good recommendations — ‘You like Lorde, you’ll probably like Broods.’ Well, I do like Broods! Thank you, iTunes.”

And she likes some of the same websites as the rest of us.

“No. 1 one is Tumblr, because it allows me to experience my fans’ sense of humor. They’re sharing not only stories but also GIFs and memes that they’ve created,” she reveals. “I love Buzzfeed, because they do a really good job of making news funny, or making a complete news story out of a non-news item. Like how I carry my purse in the crook of my arm, and they’ll do a slideshow on it. Somehow they come up with these random things to write about that are highly entertaining.”

See How the Men of Taylor Swift Songs Responded to the Tracks

Next: Top 10 Taylor Swift Lyrics

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