“I’ve by no means talked about this publicly earlier than,” stated Taylor Swift, teasing the viewers as she accepted an award in Nashville Tuesday evening, main no less than among the attendees to be on the sting of their seats. And since it was an viewers largely of songwriters, they stayed there, even when the key to be revealed turned out to should with classifications of several types of lyrics she has saved in her head for years.
She went on to say that “it’s dorky. However I even have, in my thoughts, secretly, established genres classes for lyrics I write. Three of them, to be precise: They’re affectionately titled Quill Lyrics, Fountain Pen Lyrics and Glitter Gel Pen Lyrics. … I got here up with these classes primarily based on what writing software I think about having in my hand after I scribbled it down — figuratively. I don’t even have a quill. Anymore. I broke it as soon as after I was mad.”
The speech was given in the course of the annual Nashville Songwriter Awards, held at Nashville’s storied Ryman Auditorium, the place Swift was being honored with the Songwriter-Artist of the Decade award. She was being celebrated by the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) for her work within the 2010s.
Swift additionally carried out on the ceremony, doing a rendition of a track that’s of the 2010s but in addition very a lot of the 2020s, in a method few if any others have been: “All Too Nicely (10-Minute Model).” Earlier than singing the epic-sized model of the tune accompanied by her acoustic guitar, Swift stated, “I by no means may’ve imagined after we wrote it that that track can be resurfacing 10 years later or that I’d be about to play it for you tonight. However a track can defy logic or time. An excellent track transports you to your truest emotions and interprets these emotions for you. An excellent track stays with you even when folks or emotions don’t.”
Swift had a fantastic punchline in her speech, though it was one which was “written” by the songwriting sibling staff the Warren Brothers. “A part of my re-recording course of has included including songs that by no means made the unique albums, however songs I hated to depart behind,” she famous. “‘Fearless,’ my model, got here out final yr and as I used to be selecting songs for it, I got here throughout one I’d written with the Warren Brothers after I was 14. … After I referred to as the the Warrens as much as inform them I used to be slicing our track 17 years after we’d written it, I’ll always remember the very first thing they stated: ‘Nicely, I feel that’s the longest maintain we’ve ever had.’”
The singer-songwriter-superstar didn’t hold anybody guessing as to what precisely she meant by the several types of writing-instrument-based classes she was revealing. A “quill track,” she defined, is “if my lyrics sound like a letter written by Emily Dickinson’s nice grandmother whereas stitching a lace curtain” — and she or he quoted a snippet from “Ivy,” from her 2020 album “Evermore,” for example.
“Glitter Gel Pen lyrics,” she stated, “are the drunk lady on the celebration who tells you that you just appear like an Angel within the rest room” — and “Shake It Off” was the illustration. As for “fountain pen fashion,” that’s “making an attempt to color a vivid image of a state of affairs, right down to the chipped paint on the door body and the incense mud on the vinyl shelf” — which followers may all too simply guess meant “All Too Nicely.”
Learn the total textual content of Swift’s speech on the Ryman, right here:
I wish to say thanks to Bart (Herbison, NSAI’s government director) for introducing me in such a beneficiant method and that i wish to say thanks to the NSAI for getting us all collectively for this occasion. For me, tonight feels brimming with a real camaraderie between a bunch of people that simply love making stuff. Who love the craft. Who stay for that uncommon, pure second when a magical cloud floats down proper in entrance of you within the type of an concept for a track, and all you must do is seize it. Then form it like clay. Prune it like a backyard. After which want on each fortunate star or pray to no matter energy you consider in that it would discover its method out into the world and make somebody really feel seen, really feel understood, really feel joined of their grief or heartbreak or pleasure for only a second.
I’ve realized by being within the leisure trade for an prolonged time period that this enterprise operates with a really new, new, new, subsequent, subsequent, subsequent mentality. For each artist or songwriter, we’re all simply hoping to have one nice yr. One nice album cycle. One nice run at radio. And as of late, one track that goes viral on TikTok. One wonderful second within the solar. As a result of in your subsequent undertaking you’ll in all probability should invent a brand new factor to be. Consider all new issues to say, and contemporary methods to say them. You’ll have to entertain folks. And the actual fact is that what entertains us is both seeing new artists emerge or established artists exhibiting us a brand new facet to themselves. If we’re very, very fortunate, life will say to us ‘your track is nice’. The following factor life will say is ‘What else are you able to do?’
I say all of this as a result of I’m up right here receiving this stunning award for a decade of labor, and I can’t presumably clarify how good that feels. As a result of the best way I see it, that is an award that celebrates a end result of moments. Challenges. Gauntlets laid down. Albums I’m pleased with. Triumphs. Strokes of luck or misfortune. Loud, embarrassing errors and the next restoration from these errors, and the teachings realized from all of it. This award celebrates my household and my co-writers and my staff. My mates and my fiercest followers and my harshest detractors and everybody who entered my life or left it. As a result of relating to my songwriting and my life, they’re one in the identical. As the nice Nora Ephron as soon as stated, “The whole lot is copy.”
Twenty years in the past I wrote my first track. I used to dream about sooner or later attending to bounce across the completely different musical worlds of my numerous sonic influences, and alter up the manufacturing of my albums. I hoped that sooner or later, the mixing of genres wouldn’t be such a giant deal. There’s a lot dialogue about style and it at all times normally leads again to a dialog about melody and manufacturing. However that leaves out presumably my favourite a part of songwriting: lyricism.
And I’ve by no means talked about this publicly earlier than, as a result of, properly, it’s dorky. However I even have, in my thoughts, secretly, established genres classes for lyrics I write. Three of them, to be precise. They’re affectionately titled Quill Lyrics, Fountain Pen Lyrics, and Glitter Gel Pen Lyrics.
I do know this sounds complicated however I’ll attempt to clarify. I got here up with these classes primarily based on what writing software I think about having in my hand after I scribbled it down, figuratively. I don’t even have a quill. Anymore. I broke it as soon as after I was mad.
I categorize sure songs of mine within the ‘Quill’ fashion if the phrases and phrasings are antiquated, if I used to be impressed to write down it after studying Charlotte Brontë or after watching a film the place everyone seems to be sporting poet shirts and corsets. If my lyrics sound like a letter written by Emily Dickinson’s nice grandmother whereas stitching a lace curtain, that’s me writing within the Quill style. I offers you an instance from one among my songs I’d categorize as Quill.
“How’s one to know
I’d meet you the place the spirit meets the bones
In a religion forgotten land
In from the snow, your contact introduced forth an incandescent glow
Tarnished however so grand”
Shifting on to Lyricism class #2: Fountain Pen fashion. I’d say most of my lyrics fall into this class. Fountain pen fashion means a contemporary storyline or references, with a poetic twist. Taking a standard phrase and flipping its that means. Making an attempt to color a vivid image of a state of affairs, right down to the chipped paint on the door body and the incense mud on the vinyl shelf. Inserting your self and whoever is listening proper there within the room the place all of it occurred. The love, the loss, every part. The songs I categorize on this fashion sound like confessions scribbled and sealed in an envelope, however too brutally trustworthy to ever ship.
“Trigger there we’re once more in the course of the evening
We’re dancing around the kitchen within the fridge mild
Down the steps, I used to be there
I keep in mind all of it too properly
And there we’re once more when no one needed to know
You saved me like a secret however I saved you want an oath
Sacred prayer, and we’d swear to recollect all of it too properly “
The third class known as Glitter Gel Pen and it lives as much as its identify in each method. Frivolous, carefree, bouncy, syncopated completely to the beat. Glitter Gel Pen lyrics don’t care if you happen to don’t take them significantly as a result of they don’t take themselves significantly. Glitter Gel Pen lyrics are the drunk lady on the celebration who tells you that you just appear like an Angel within the rest room. It’s what we’d like each as soon as in a whereas in these fraught occasions through which we stay.
“my ex man introduced his new girlfriend; she’s like ‘oh my god’ however I’m simply gonna shake and to the fella over there with the hella good hair, received’t you come on over child we are able to shake, shake, shake.”
Why did I make these classes, you ask? As a result of I really like doing this factor we’re lucky sufficient to name a job. Writing songs is my life’s work and my passion and my endless thrill. I’m moved past phrases that you just, my friends, determined to honor me on this method for work I’d nonetheless be doing if I had by no means been acknowledged for it.
Recently I’ve been on a joyride down reminiscence lane. I’ve been re-recording my first six albums. After I undergo the method of meticulously recreating every ingredient of my previous and revisiting songs I wrote after I was 13, 14, and 15, that path leads me proper to music row. How my mother would decide me up from faculty and drive me to my co-writing classes with dozens of writers (and a few of you’re on this very room tonight) who 15 years in the past determined to present me their time, their knowledge, their perception earlier than anybody thought writing with me was a productive use of a day. I’ll always remember you, each final one among you.
A part of my re-recording course of has included including songs that by no means made the unique albums, however songs I hated to depart behind. I’ve gone again and recorded a bunch of them for my model of my albums. “Fearless,” my model, got here out final yr and as I used to be selecting songs for it, I got here throughout one I’d written with the Warren Brothers after I was 14. I made a decision to file it as a duet with the sensible Keith City. After I referred to as the the Warrens as much as inform them I used to be slicing our track 17 years after we’d written it, I’ll always remember the very first thing they stated. “Nicely, I feel that’s the longest maintain we’ve ever had.”
In 2011, simply over ten years in the past, my trusted collaborator and confidant Liz Rose came visiting to my residence and I confirmed her a track I’d been engaged on. I used to be going via a tough time (as is the pure state of being 21) and had scribbled down verse after verse after verse, a track that was too lengthy to placed on an album. It clocked in at round 10 minutes. We set out modifying, trimming, slicing out massive sections till it was an affordable 5 minutes and 30 seconds. It was referred to as “All Too Nicely.” Final yr after I re-recorded my 2012 album “Pink,” I included this 10 minute model with its authentic verses and additional bridges. I by no means may’ve imagined after we wrote it that that track can be resurfacing ten years later or that I’d be about to play it for you tonight.
However a track can defy logic or time. An excellent track transports you to your truest emotions and interprets these emotions for you. An excellent track stays with you even when folks or emotions don’t. Writing songs is a calling and attending to name it your profession makes you very fortunate. It’s important to be grateful day by day for it, and all of the individuals who thought your phrases is likely to be price listening to. This city is the college that taught me that.
To be honored by you means greater than any style of my lyrics may ever say.