Taylor Swift Explains Why She Allowed ‘Miss Americana’ Cameras in Her Recording Studio for the First Time

The Netflix documentary Taylor Swift: Miss Americana had unprecedented access to the recording artist. Not only did director Lana Wilson film Taylor Swift in her studio writing and recording her Reputation album, but she also spent time with Swift at home alone and with her family. Swift gets personal, and a lot of it is in the film.

Taylor Swift and Lana Wilson
L-R: Taylor Swift and Lana Wilson | Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Netfilx

Allowing Miss Americana into her studio was a big step for Swift. She’s always had a no-cameras policy when she’s working. At the Sundance Film Festival Q&A for Taylor Swift: Miss Americana, Swift and Wilson explained what changed the singer’s mind. Miss Americana premieres Jan. 31 on Netflix.

Why Taylor Swift never wanted cameras in her studio

The artistic process can be very personal. However, Swift has never seemed to have a problem with opening up about her life on her albums. But she still didn’t like the idea of cameras capturing her process. Swift feared that the fragments of her craft and the technical aspects wouldn’t make sense to people outside her industry.

“There’s so much ridiculous addling you do when you write songs,” Swift said. “So much of it sounds ridiculous until it sounds all right.”

Taylor Swift also feared performance anxiety

Swift has no problem getting on stage every night and performing for thousands. But those are songs she’s already written. During the writing process, Swift was worried her creativity wouldn’t flow on cue.

“A lot of that time, I just always refused to have any cameras in the studio when I’m writing because I just feel like what if I can’t do it?” Swift said. “And then wasted a day and then I’ve wasted another creator’s time. I wasted the producer’s time or wasted the cowriter’s time, and I can’t write if somebody’s there.”

‘Miss Americana’ makes the songwriting process clear

Thanks to Swift’s openness, Miss Americana now stands as a document of her creative process. Wilson commended Swift for allowing her to showcase it.

“For me, my favorite parts were probably filming in the studio, getting to see your creative process,” Wilson said. “It’s a really intimate space, and I know no one filmed you in the studio before. So that was probably my favorite thing that we filmed.”

Taylor Swift in a Miss Americana clip
Taylor Swift | Sundance Institute

Wilson also commended Swift on her personal interviews in Miss Americana.

“Similarly, the interviews, when we first met, you hadn’t done press I think for almost three years,” Wilson said. “So I remember it was a big deal to do that first interview. And I think that we just had a really easy rapport and talked a long time about anything. It was just exciting that things actually really shifted in your life during the period of time that we were filming.”

‘Miss Americana’ proved to Taylor Swift she could do this

The main reason Swift previously forbade cameras in her studio was because she thought they would prevent her from writing. 

Taylor Swift at Sundance Film Festival
Taylor Swift | Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

“Having someone in the studio when I’m writing is something I’ve never done before because I didn’t want to know if it would stop me from feeling like I could come up with ideas and feeling like I could throw things out,” Swift said.

Reputation came out before Miss Americana was finished, so Swift learned she could write an album with a documentary crew there the whole time.