The 29-year-old hit maker touches on the tough topics in her new Vogue September issue cover story. Ahead of the release of her highly-anticipated album, Lover, Swift opens up about burying the hatchet with “Bad Blood” subject Katy Perry, the outcome of being “canceled” by Kanye West and Kim Kardashian, and what inspired her to speak out in favor of LGBTQ rights.
Swift is proud that she and Perry were able to reconcile after years of tension and barbs in the press. The “Firework” singer appeared in Swift’s recent music video for “You Need to Calm Down” as the pair dressed as a burger and fries, respectively.
Originally, Swift reached out to ask Perry if she’d like to be a part of the project after Perry sent her a literal olive branch last year following their feud.
“She wrote back, ‘This makes me so emotional. I’m so up for this. I want us to be that example. But let’s spend some time together. Because I want it to be real,’” Swift reveals. “So she came over and we talked for hours.”
Though she’s not ready to make amends with Kimye -- the main subjects behind her Reputation album -- Swift is willing to see the positives that came out of the drama with the famous couple.
“It’s so strange trying to be self-aware when you’ve been cast as this always smiling, always happy ‘America’s sweetheart’ thing, and then having that taken away and realizing that it’s actually a great thing that it was taken away, because that’s extremely limiting,” she explains. “We’re not going to go straight to gratitude with it. Ever. But we’re going to find positive aspects to it. We’re never going to write a thank-you note.”
Swift notes that she didn’t go on a press tour for Reputation because her feeling on the topic would change from day to day. Today, she still criticizes the “cancel culture,” which she found herself in the heart of.
“A mass public shaming, with millions of people saying you are quote-unquote canceled, is a very isolating experience,” she says. “I don’t think there are that many people who can actually understand what it’s like to have millions of people hate you very loudly. When you say someone is canceled, it’s not a TV show. It’s a human being. You’re sending mass amounts of messaging to this person to either shut up, disappear, or it could also be perceived as, ‘Kill yourself.’”
Most recently, Swift made headlines when she spoke out about her former record label selling her master recording to manager Scooter Braun. Though she didn’t elaborate on the topic, when asked if she tried to get her masters from the label, Swift replies, “It was either investing in my past or my and other artists’ future, and I chose the future.”
These days, the GRAMMY winner is all about speaking out for causes that are close to her heart. After publicly making a political stance last year, Swift has continued to speak out, petitioning in support of the federal Equality Act. She says that her collaborator and friend, Todrick Hall, inspired her to lend her voice to the cause.
“Maybe a year or two ago, Todrick and I are in the car and he asked me, ‘What would you do if your son was gay?’” she recalls. “The fact that he had to ask me… shocked me and made me realize that I had not made my position clear enough or loud enough. ‘If my son was gay, he’d be gay. I don’t understand the question.’”
Her friend’s question made her think about what her fans might be questioning in regard to the singer’s stance.
“If he was thinking that, I can’t imagine what my fans in the LGBTQ community might be thinking,” she says. “It was kind of devastating to realize that I hadn’t been publicly clear about that.”
As to why she hasn’t spoken out before, Swift says she didn’t necessarily know she could.
“I didn’t realize until recently that I could advocate for a community that I’m not a part of. It’s hard to know how to do that without being so fearful of making a mistake that you just freeze,” she explains. “Because my mistakes are very loud. When I make a mistake, it echoes through the canyons of the world. It’s clickbait, and it’s a part of my life story, and it’s a part of my career arc.”
Now she’s preparing to move forward with Lover, which she describes as, “a love letter to love, in all of its maddening, passionate, exciting, enchanting, horrific, tragic, wonderful glory.”