Taylor Swift Reveals The Trick To Writing Famous Pop Songs

Taylor Swift | Jun Sato/TAS18/Getty Images
Taylor Swift | Jun Sato/TAS18/Getty Images

Taylor Swift has been a hot topic as of late, due to speculations that the singer could be releasing a new album sooner rather than later. In the midst of all the hype, she was featured in Elle Magazine, where she wrote a personal essay on why “pop is personal.”

“My favourite kinds of books to read are the ones that do more than just tell you a story. They do more than just set the scene or paint the picture.

The writing I love the most places you into that story, that room, that rain soaked kiss. You can smell the air, hear the sounds, and feel your heart race as the character’s does. It’s something F. Scott Fitzgerald did so well, to describe a scene so gorgeously interwoven with rich emotional revelations, that you yourself have escaped from your own life for a moment,” penned the singer.

Pop isn’t usually personal, but Taylor Swift thinks it should be

To Swift, writing pop songs is an extremely personal process. In the essay, she writes about how the pop genre isn’t one typically thought to be emotionally specific. But the artist has roots in pulling from personal experiences. When she first began making music, back when she was branded as a country singer, she’d sing about the love and loss a teenage girl experiences. Country music is known for getting personal, sometimes painfully so. Divorce, affairs, and death are all fair-game topics in country music. It was a recipe for success, then, when the young country singer transitioned into a pop star, bringing her personal country roots with her.  

She writes personally not just for her fans, but for herself

When Swift writes about falling in love or breaking up or watching her reputation go down the drain, her fans can hear themselves in her songs. She takes on the role of all her listeners. But Swift says her music serves another purpose: each song preserves whatever the singer was feeling and experiencing during the songwriting process.

“I love writing songs because I love preserving memories, like putting a picture frame around a feeling you once had. I like to use nostalgia as inspiration when I’m writing songs for the same reason I like to take photographs. I like to be able to remember the extremely good and extremely bad times,” writes Swift.

How to write a famous pop song: A recipe by Taylor Swift

So what’s the secret to writing a famous pop song? Swift says the key to success lies in the artist’s ability to open up and share their own story.

“I think these days, people are reaching out for connection and comfort in the music they listen to. We like being confided in and hearing someone say, ‘this is what I went through” as proof to us that we can get through our own struggles.

We actually do NOT want our pop music to be generic.”

Swift went on to write that fans also want a glimpse into the lives of the artists they listen to. Not only do they want to feel connected to the music on a personal level, they want to learn something new about the musicians they adore.

“This glimpse into the artist’s story invites us to connect it to our own, and in the best case scenario, allows us the ability to assign that song to our memories.

It’s this alliance between a song and our memories of the times it helped us heal, or made us cry, dance, or escape that truly stands the test of time. Just like a great book.”

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