‘She isn’t the best vocalist of this generation, but she is a true musician and artist.’

As told to John Legaspi

It was in 2008, my freshman year in high school, when I first heard the Taylor Swift song titled Love Story. Everyone in the whole campus sang their heart out to every word of its lyrics. It was a moment. Though she was still unknown to me back then, I instantly became a fan of that song. And the rest, as they say, is history. 

Today, I can say that Taylor Swift’s music reminds me of my younger days. That might be the reason why I’m still a fan. I grew up with her music. And even now as a young adult, I am aging with her work.

As a Swiftie, I followed her narratives from when she was 14 trying to get a radio deal for her self-written song to where she is now. As most of us know, before she became one of the world’s biggest pop stars, she was just an amateur country singer who dreamt of playing in front of a crowd—where she would hear them singing back the words she wrote.  

Her strength comes from the stories of her songs, her lyrics, no doubt. While other artists might prefer pop music and upbeat melodies, she managed to thrive on a male-dominant genre, and introduced it to a wider, younger audience, that includes my 12-year-old self. 

With Love Story, I thought it was so brilliant how she managed to tell a story, wrote conversation in between verses, and how she was inspired to write it. Her parents didn’t like this boyfriend of hers and she locked herself in her room and after 20 minutes, she played it to them. That was the start of an era.

I listened to every single song she produced, read all of the lyrics, and played them throughout night and day. What excites and intrigues me as a fan are the notes she puts in her songs, figuring out where she hid clues in the lyrics to convey a secret message. I cannot recall an artist who does it the same way, but I can call it great marketing as well. The whole world followed her and each song became a guessing game of who inspired it.  

Us Swifties don’t just go after her singles or most popular songs, but we go through her deep cuts. Her discography reflects her as a whole and not just by one hit. While others may perceive that she only writes music about her ex-boyfriends or mostly break up songs, which she shouldn’t be called out for, she also dabbled on diverse subjects, from writing songs about her mom (The Best Day and Soon You’ll Get Better) to a four-year-old who died from cancer (Ronan).

She isn’t the best vocalist of this generation, but she is a true musician and artist. She inspired a lot of younger generations to pick up a guitar and write their own songs and tell a story as honest as they could. In my case, it was constructing poetry. She showed us how she makes songs on her piano or her guitar in the middle of the night and how it progressed (just check Making of a Song (Reputation) on Youtube and Miss Americana on Netflix), becoming her album. She co-produced and directed some of her music videos (which earned her her first directing award at the 2020 VMAs for The Man). She actively participated on how her tours should look, from every single little detail like the confetti and her microphone to her wardrobe. Above all of this, she is a genius businesswoman. 

With her, it is always about opening doors to fellow musicians and sharing the spotlight. She inspired and helped a lot of rising artists then to be known mainstream such as Conan Gray, Troye Sivan, Kelsea Ballerini, Halsey, Ed Sheeran, Shawn Mendes, and Camila Cabelo

As a fan of hers for more than a decade, I would definitely agree that Folklore is her best album yet. Her words are on a different level of maturity and discuss topics she had never touched before. She shared narratives from different angles and perspectives. She brought to life characters like Betty, James, and Augustina in songs “Cardigan,” “Betty,” and “August,” dedicated “Epiphany” as a tribute to her late grandfather and health workers, shed light on addiction and a life in crisis with the song “This Is Me Trying.”

The sound and atmosphere of this album sums up 2020 with everyone being affected by this pandemic. Everyone, at some point, needs a “good cry,” as she told her collaborators on Folklore: The Long Pond Sessions on Disney+, which she is definitely right about that. 

Her ninth studio album dubbed Evermore, for me, sounded like Folklore but in full colors, just like the album covers. It was similarly written from tracks in Folklore, but didn’t feel like rejects from the same album.

I can definitely say that I stan her for the longest time because of her attitude, work ethic, and vision toward life. She is a good role model, if it wasn’t for the twisted stories. Taylor is like a white canvas that became a mural for slut-shaming for dating guys around her teenage years, a “liar” and a “snake” thanks to that infamous KanyeKim phone call. People called her fake and greedy when she was fighting for artists rights and helping the LGBTQ Community, saying it was only to her benefits and many more.

But just like what her “Delicate” lyrics say, “you must like me for me,” it taught me to accept myself for who I am, above all adversities, and let others see it. No reputation is worse than seeing yourself in a bad light. After more than a decade of following, I won’t be leaving her side knowing that we already survived the worst. Through her music, I believe I truly know her, and I will always remember her all too well.


About the author

Apart from being a Swiftie, Rommel Mercado works as a financial crime specialist, who loves spending his free time writing poems and mixing tunes on SoundCloud.


Source: Manila Bulletin (https://mb.com.ph/2020/12/15/i-am-swiftie-and-proud-of-it/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=i-am-swiftie-and-proud-of-it)