By: Jon Corrigan
When Billboard released its annual Women in Music issue a couple of weeks ago, it was no surprise to see Taylor Swift on the cover.
For the second time, Swift was named Billlboard’s Woman of the Year. This came after her new album, 1989, debuted at No. 1 across all genres and sold over a million copies in its first week – the best for an album since 2002.
All of this great success came despite predictions of industry insiders and even people on her own team.
Swift tells Billboard she sent Big Machine Records found Scott Borchetta “into a state of semi-panic” when she broke the news that there would be no “country” on her new album.
“Can you give me three country songs?” and “Can we put a fiddle on ‘Shake it Off’?” are two things Swift recalls him asking.
“All of my answers were a firm ‘no,'” she says. “…it felt disingenuous to try to exploit two genres when your album falls in only one.”
Resistance regarding her new album even came from her own team.
“I remember all the sit-downs in the conference rooms… they said, ‘Are you really sure you want to do this? Are you sure you want to call the album 1989? We think it’s a weird title. Are you sure you want to put an album cover out that has less than half of your face on it? Are you positive that you want to take a genre that you cemented yourself in, and switch to one that you are a newcomer to?’ And answering all of those questions with ‘Yes, I’m sure’ really frustrated me at the time — like, ‘Guys, don’t you understand, this is what I’m dying to do?'”
Sticking to her guns is appearing to pay off in a big way for Swift. 1989 already has posted two No. 1 hits in ‘Shake it Off’ and ‘Blank Space,’ and is currently on pace to surpass the Frozen soundtrack as 2014’s best-selling album.