Chuck Klosterman profiled Taylor Swift in GQ recently, and it features plenty of interesting tidbits about the cat-loving, bellybutton-concealing star, from her evolving relationship with Kanye to the (still mysterious) beef that inspired “Bad Blood.”
While the interview oddly omits any mention of her Twitter spat with Nicki Minaj leading up to the VMAs, there is plenty of other good stuff to chew on, and Klosterman's smart analysis definitely makes the profile worth reading in full.
Here are five things we learned:
She still won’t say who ‘Bad Blood’ is about
While “Bad Blood” is widely assumed to be about Katy Perry, Swift never comes out and says it. Rather, she tells Klosterman that she prefers to keep things ambiguous.
"You’re in a Rolling Stone interview, and the writer says, 'Who is that song about? That sounds like a really intense moment from your life.’ And you sit there, and you know you’re on good terms with your ex-boyfriend, and you don’t want him—or his family—to think you’re firing shots at him. So you say, “That was about losing a friend.” And that’s basically all you say. But then people cryptically tweet about what you meant. I never said anything that would point a finger in the specific direction of one specific person, and I can sleep at night knowing that. I knew the song would be assigned to a person, and the easiest mark was someone who I didn’t want to be labeled with this song. It was not a song about heartbreak. It was about the loss of friendship."
Kanye’s VMA interruption had a major silver lining
Klosterman says that Swift believes Kanye’s notorious 2009 VMA interruption was “the most consequential accident of her professional life.”
“When the crowd started booing, I thought they were booing because they also believed I didn’t deserve the award. That's where the hurt came from. I went backstage and cried, and then I had to stop crying and perform five minutes later. I just told myself I had to perform, and I tried to convince myself that maybe this wasn’t that big of a deal. But that was the most happenstance thing to ever happen in my career. And to now be in a place where Kanye and I respect each other—that’s one of my favorite things that has happened in my career.”
She hates being called calculating
Per Klosterman, the only time in the interview Swift gets “remotely flustered” is when he brings up an acquaintance who described Swift as “calculating,” which Swift hates has become so associated with her.
“Am I shooting from the hip?” she asks rhetorically. “Would any of this have happened if I was? In that sense, I do think about things before they happen. But here was someone taking a positive thing—the fact that I think about things and that I care about my work—and trying to make that into an insinuation about my personal life. Highly offensive. You can be accidentally successful for three or four years. Accidents happen. But careers take hard work.”
"Shake it Off" was almost a country song
Swift acknowledges that it was risky switching to pop for her latest album, "1989," and the label was hesitant for her to stray for her career in country music. But Swift says she stuck to her guns:
"I’d read a review of [2012’s] Red that said it wasn’t sonically cohesive. So that was what I wanted on 1989: an umbrella that would go over all of these songs, so that they all belonged on the same album. But then I’d go into the label office, and they were like, ‘Can we talk about putting a fiddle and a steel-guitar solo on ‘Shake It Off’ to service country radio?’ I was trying to make the most honest record I could possibly make, and they were kind of asking me to be a little disingenuous about it: ‘Let’s capitalize on both markets.’ No, let’s not. Let’s choose a lane.”
She once wrote a book
Swift tells Klosterman that she wrote a non-autobiographical novel when she was 14 title “A Girl Named Girl,” about a mother who wants a boy but ends up giving birth to a girl. Apparently it still exists.
Publishers — ready those checkbooks.