Taylor Swift Reflects on Why This Year ‘Feels More Special’ and What She’s Most Proud Of

Taylor Swift is ending 2019 on a high note — and as one of People magazine’s People of the Year, she’s reflecting on the past year and has a lot to be proud of. It’s about more than just the release of a new album, Lover, however.

taylor swift 2019
Taylor Swift | Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for dcp

Swift explains why she’s “proud of the things I’ve withstood”

The year wasn’t all ups, however, as she struggled when her former record label Big Machine catalog was sold to manager Scooter Braun. She didn’t hold back, calling him out for “manipulative bullying” and earning plenty of support along the way.

She wrote on Tumblr in June: “For years I asked, pleaded for a chance to own my work. Instead I was given an opportunity to sign back up to Big Machine Records and ‘earn’ one album back at a time, one for every new one I turned in,” Swift wrote.

She noted, in part, “I walked away because I knew once I signed that contract, Scott Borchetta would sell the label, thereby selling me and my future. I had to make the excruciating choice to leave behind my past.” Swift called it her “worst case scenario” and shared that “you deserve to own the art you make.”

Swift told People that she had “a quiet sense of pride” this year, noting, “This is the first time I’ve been able to put out music that I feel is connecting with people, yet look back on everything I’ve made and feel a quiet sense of pride. I’m proud of the things I’ve withstood, and I’ve been able to carve out a life for myself.”

She’s making a difference

Swift made her feelings about Braun’s acquisition known, something she can confidently feel has had an impact on other artists. She explained, “I’m in a position to speak out, thankfully, so if somebody who’s younger who’s signing a record deal can learn from that, then that’s a good day.”

Swift also became more outspoken about her political views and understood how to effectively use her celebrity platform. Her Change.org petition in support of the Equality Act earned nearly 600,000 signatures. She shared: “When you advocate for something, it has to be completely disconnected from what people say about you advocating for it. It should be removed from hard numbers.”

She found the response heartwarming, however, explaining, “When numbers do come in that are promising and petitions are signed in the hundreds of thousands, it’s a good feeling. It reinforces your feeling that there is good in the world.”

Lover is much different from her previous album

Swift also shed some light on how her new album compares to the last one. She shared: “There was so much theatricality in the darkness of reputation. It was secretly a love story, but it was also filled with angst, rebellion and this vengeful taking back of your life. Lover ended up being the album [where I was no longer] answering to something. In the past, I’ve definitely used my criticism as a jumping-off point for creativity. With reputation, I’d said everything I needed to say. I’d been tried in every possible way people could throw things at me, and I felt like now I just get to create.”

The singer noted: “This year feels more special to me than any year before it. Fifteen years into doing this, being able to look around and acknowledge that it’s special, I’m really stoked this moment can happen when I’m 29,” says Swift. “That’s one of the benefits of starting when you’re 12!”