Taylor Swift Recorded Her Vocals for ‘Clean’ in ‘2 Takes’

Taylor Swift released her album 1989 in October 2014. At the 2016 Grammy Awards, Swift ended up winning Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album for 1989. During a Grammy Pro listening session in 2015, Swift explained how she made 1989 and revealed she recorded her vocals for the track “Clean” in only “two takes.”

Taylor Swift performs onstage during the 36th Annual Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony
Taylor Swift | Kevin Kane/Getty Images for The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Taylor Swift worked with Imogen Heap on ‘Clean’

The standard version of 1989 features 13 tracks, and “Clean” is the last track on the album. With the song, Swift sings of accepting a breakup following a toxic relationship. Swift co-wrote and co-produced the song with Imogen Heap.

Toward the end of the Grammy Pro listening session, Swift shared how she made “Clean” with Heap. According to Swift, Heap invited Swift to visit her studio and they worked on the song together.

“My vocal was two takes,” Swift said. “And the full thing was nine hours, and she sent me the mix the next day and it was done.”

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Imogen Heap thought the singer’s ‘second take’ was best

After 1989 won Album of the Year at the 2016 Grammy Awards, the Recording Academy published an oral history of the album that explained how it was made. In the article, Heap went into detail about the making of “Clean.”

“I was really writing the tiniest amount just to help her do what she does. I put some noises to [‘Clean’], played various instruments on it, including drums, and anytime she expressed she liked something I was doing, I did it more. It was a really fun day,” Heap said.

She continued, “She recorded all her vocals [for ‘Clean’] during that one session. She did two takes, and the second take was it. We always thought she would probably re-record it, because we thought it can’t possibly be that easy. But after we lived with it for a few months, we felt it was great.”

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What is Taylor Swift’s song ‘Clean’ about?

Since its release, 1989 has been praised for its cohesiveness. As the last track of the album, “Clean” shows the narrator finally moving on and feeling free months after a relationship has ended.

“I had this metaphor in my head about being in this house, there’s been a drought but you feel like there’s a storm coming. Instead of trying to block out the storm you punch a hole in the roof and just let all the rain come in, and when you wake up in the morning, it’s washed away,” Swift said of the song in the Recording Academy‘s oral history.

Heap added, “I knew she loved [‘Clean’]. She said she loved it and her mum loved it. But I wasn’t sure it would be included on the album. But everyone felt it had something special. It came together really magically.”

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