Skip to main content

Learn English with Taylor Swift. In an insightful interview with Zane Lowe, Taylor Swift opens up about her evolution as an artist, the double standards women face in the music industry, and the importance of resilience and craft in her career. Discover how Swift navigates the challenges and triumphs of being a prominent female artist, sharing her personal journey and the growth she has experienced over the years.

Donwload available for Premium Subscribers

PDF Full Transcript

Explore every word with our concise PDF transcripts.

Audio Version

Immerse in speeches with clear, downloadable audios.

English Lesson

Enhance English skills with interactive speech lessons.

Become a member now!

⚬ Free 30-day trial

Taylor Swift: Just be yourself, there is no one better.

Just be yourself, there is no one better.

Taylor Swift


Zane Lowe: Are you an emo kid?

Taylor Swift: I was actually at the most emo dinner party the other night because Brendan, Yuri, and Sarah, his amazing wife, like, had me over. I show up, and it’s like Brendan and Pete Wentz sitting next to each other, and I just got to ask them every single question. Pete Wentz is probably, if I had to pick a favorite lyricist, it would be a tie between him and Lana Del Rey. Blank Space is a song that’s just zingers, one after another after another, which I definitely learned from listening to Fall Out Boy.

Zane Lowe: Congratulations, first and foremost, on the success of Lover because there’s no guarantees, even for someone as successful and talented as yourself, every time you release music, you open it up to the universe and you hope it’s discovered.

Taylor Swift: Yeah, and actually an interesting dynamic happens between you and your previous work, and it happens as soon as you put out your second record. Everything you do is a standing ovation on your first record if you’re having that breakthrough record. And then you put out your second body of work, and then you realize that everything you’re putting out now is being compared to what they liked about your first record. But then you put out the third one, and then it’s compared to the first two. Then you put out the fourth one, then it’s compared to the first three, and it goes on and on and on. By the time you’re at album seven, you are so… you have such a strange, convoluted relationship with your previous work because you’re like, damn it, All Too Well was a good song.

And I knew with this album, it was… it was… it was like something that was almost a return to form, like Reputation was such an important record for me because I couldn’t stop writing. And I needed to write that album, and I needed to put out that album, and I needed to not explain that album. Because another thing about that album was I knew if I did an interview about it, none of it would be about music. And this entire Lover phase of my life, there’s been no distraction from the music.

Zane Lowe: Because you’re in a place where you’re actually telling a very personal story or telling something so personal to you that someone else’s opinion be it brilliant or otherwise. It could only cloud that, really.

Taylor Swift: Yeah, and I thankfully work with really wonderful collaborators who, you know, Jack is amazing. Like when I bring in a song that I’ve written 100%, some producers will not, like nowadays, some producers will not produce something that they didn’t have a co-write on. We really haven’t figured out a way to compensate the creators. And that’s something that I’m always going to be very vocal about until I feel like it’s fixed. I definitely wanna write a song 100% I want credit for that. And I think that’s fair.

But I also, when people have these policies where they’re like, we won’t do this without this, I understand why. But I love right now, you know, out there we have amazing creators like Halsey. Like Halsey’s an amazing writer. And she speaks up for what she cares about. And she’s very vocal about things. And we have these very fierce women out there.

Zane Lowe: It’s an amazing time.

Taylor Swift: It’s so good.

Zane Lowe: We were just talking about the internet back there and some of our favorite moments. You may walk away from that world, but you’re able to tap in and use it whenever, you want. And you do it very effectively. Are you into it? The internet?

Taylor Swift: The only thing I really read every day is political news. Oddly, there are actual inflections of how I feel politically on this record, more so than ever before. Like, you know, you need to calm down is…

Zane Lowe: The Man?

Taylor Swift: Yeah. The Man, there’s a song called Miss Americana and the Heartbreak Prince.

Zane Lowe: See, I didn’t pick it up on that one.

Taylor Swift: It’s, it’s definitely all about politics.

Zane Lowe: You’ve got these songs that definitely welcome people into your world. And, yeah, you’re able to keep yourself distant from that scrutiny. How do you do that?

Taylor Swift: I think after a while, you just realize that it’s part of the job. You know, there’s a lot of things that I tell myself when I’m kind of panicking. And one of the things that I tell myself is like, this is part of it. This is normal.

Zane Lowe: When was the hardest? When was the toughest for you?

Taylor Swift: This has happened several times. So I can’t like, you know, when I was like 23 and people were just like kind of reducing me to like kind of making slideshows of like my dating life and putting people that I’d sat next to at a party once and deciding that my songwriting was like a trick rather than a skill and a craft kind of, it’s a way to take a woman who’s doing her job and succeeding at doing her job and making things.

And in a way it’s figuring out how to completely minimize that skill by taking something that everyone, you know, in their darkest, darkest moments loves to do, which is to slut shame. And so now when I see this happening, I can see a headline about a young artist, about a young female artist, about like another breakup and it makes, it sends me into a…

Zane Lowe: It takes you back there to a degree?

Taylor Swift: It sends me into a real sad place because I don’t want that to keep happening. And I don’t think people understand how easy it is to infer that someone who’s a female artist or a female in our industry is somehow doing something wrong by wanting love, wanting money, wanting success. Women are not allowed to want those things the way that men are allowed to want them.

Zane Lowe: Do you still have blindsides? Do you still have things that catch you off guard? Things that kind of surprise you that you’re not prepared for?

Taylor Swift: You know, every step of my career, there’s been, you know, people questioning whether I deserve to be there. So I feel like my whole career up until very recently was spent… trying to prove myself to those people. I’m trying to prove that I, that I belong here, that I’m going to work hard enough, that I’m gonna… I’m going to make music that’s good enough to belong here. And, you know, I’ve had people standing up and saying, you don’t, you don’t deserve to be here, either very loudly or very loudly in headlines or, you know, comments or whatever. But, you know, that’s part of life.

Zane Lowe: New adventures, Cats.

Taylor Swift: Yes. I’m so happy I got to do this. I really wanted to work with Tom Hooper. I know that he records live and he films and records your vocals live. It’s, it’s such an interesting thing to me. And I wanted to see him work. I had actually done screen tests for Les Mis and had met him through that process, like 2012.

Zane Lowe: Really?

Taylor Swift: Yeah.

Zane Lowe: You went for it?

Taylor Swift: Yeah. I didn’t get it.

Zane Lowe: Do people know that? Is that out there?

Taylor Swift: I mean, I think so, but it’s, it was such an amazing experience just doing the screen test. And I was obviously like, I’m not going to get this. And so basically when I was approached this time, it was a straight up offer. And then I started going in for rehearsals and they have this behavioral studies class called cat school that I was.

Zane Lowe: Okay. And that’s where we pause. I need to just spend a little time in behavioral studies for cats.

Taylor Swift: So basically you go in, you… you watch these videos of cats, you watch them walking, you watch them sensing things. You learn facts about them anatomically, biologically, how do they sense things… how do they like, what’s their gaze like… what’s their, what’s their, like, it’s amazing.

Zane Lowe: Have you ever written a song from someone’s point of view and played it to them and it’s been too close to the bone?

Taylor Swift: You know, I remember I wrote a song called 15 for my friend, Abigail, who is still just my best friend. And, you know, she’s been, God, she’s gone through a lot of like changes in my life and changes in her life. And we just still are like this. And she, um, she was my, you know, sitting next to me in freshman year and we became best friends. And a few years later, I wrote a song called 15 that was about, you know, not just my life and journey at that age, but also hers. And I had to, you know, that was a situation where I played it for her. And I was like, this is just for you. And it’s never going to see the light of day if you don’t want it to. And she was like, no, you need to put this out.

Zane Lowe: What do you love most about your friends?

Taylor Swift: You know, I now like see resilience as like a major quality in friendship. Like when your stock is down, if they’re still wanting to hang out, that’s like, and I know who those people are now.It’s really fun to know that.

Zane Lowe: Selene is one of those people.

Taylor Swift: Oh, she is.

Zane Lowe: And by the time we’ve started to put this out, there’ll be music.

Taylor Swift: It’s just, I’m so proud of her. She’s been through so much. I’ve watched so much happen in her life. I’m 100% convinced this is the best thing she’s done so far.