Taylor Swift reveals her ‘1989’ inspiration in this never-before-seen Etalk interview from 2014

She also talks, of course, all things cats
October 27, 2023 11:05 a.m. EST

Swifties, you’re going to want to bookmark this: we’ve gone into the Etalk vault and found a never-before-seen interview with Taylor Swift when she visited our Toronto studio way back in 2014 ahead of the release of her seminal album “1989.”

This resurfaced video couldn’t come at a better time, as Taylor’s “1989 (Taylor’s Version)” has just dropped and her re-recorded album is climbing the charts once again with mega hits like "Shake it Off," "Bad Blood," "Blank Space," and "Welcome to New York." It dropped at midnight, October 27, exactly nine years ago to the day that the original record first hit the radio waves.

Taylor, who is currently on her “Eras” tour and the “Eras Tour Movie” is currently playing in cinemas across Canada, speaks frankly in this resurfaced interview about drawing musical inspiration from the late 80s pop hits for “1989” and how it will surprise longtime fans

“They were taking a lot of risks back then and synth-pop became popular and I think just in culture in general, people were taking a lot of risks,” she said of the late 80s music that influenced her.

“I was very inspired by that time period,” she continued. “Looking back on it in music history, it was a bright spot, I think.”

She then went on to explain how her album “1989,” which at this point had yet to drop, would defy what people were expecting of her musically.

“I think what will surprise people about it is it’s a different sound. The one thing I tried to maintain was the lyrical content and the storytelling but I’m trying things sonically that I’ve never tried before. And it’s different from the last couple of albums I’ve made because on my last album ‘Red’ which I was incredibly proud of, you’d hear mandolin on one song and then dubstep on the next. And you’d just kind of think ‘what album am I listening to?’”

“But this one is very sonically cohesive, it has its own sound, and that’s what I’m really proud of.”

She then talks about some tracks that are now classic Taylor mega-hits, but back then, she didn’t know how they would land with audiences. 

“There’s a song called ‘Blank Space’ that I think will surprise people because it was kind of a song I wrote about a joke. It was a joke I started just ‘cause I wanted to poke fun at the fictionalized version of my personal life the media has come up with. And it ended up being the most hilarious experience writing that song.”

She says that she only collaborated with five or six others on “1989” versus having a long list of people to collab and learn from on “Red,” calling the album more streamlined. She also reflects on how moving to New York City and cutting her hair short allowed her to “let go” versus how planned and structured her days were when she lived in Nashville, Pennsylvania, and Los Angeles. “I walk everywhere!” she exclaimed here, noting that she just “lets the day happen” to her. 

“In New York, they’re nicer,” she says of the paparazzi that follow her from the minute she leaves her apartment. “They know I don’t want to talk, they know I don’t really want to hold a press conference. So they don’t ask me intrusive questions or try to provoke me or try to make me upset. Which I really appreciate. They just take their pictures and then they say thank you and then they go on their way on their bikes!”

She then goes on to speak about how the paparazzi outside her door and also the culture of New York City influence how she dresses each day.

But of course, this wouldn’t be a Taylor interview if she didn’t talk about cats. At this point, she reveals she got a new cat, whom she calls a “people cat.”

“I think she thinks she’s a person!” she details. “She’s really sweet and she’s always halfway in asleep state.”

“So she really doesn’t care if all my friends are over and she just gets passed around and everyone is holding her.” She goes on to talk about how her other cats get along with the new one, making fun of the noises they make at each other, calling one noise a “demon.”

Taylor currently has three cats Meredith Grey, Olivia Benson, and Benjamin Button. From what we know about her cats, it’s reasonable to assume she was talking about Olivia Benson in this clip, who is named after the character from “Law & Order: SVU.”

The interview also features her describing her publicity team and how she manages to work well with them and the “chill” vibe they espouse. Of course, Taylor talks about her love of Tumblr (so you know just how dated this interview truly is!) and how talking to people on Tumblr makes her feel more connected to the world.

The full interview can be watched on Etalk’s Youtube channel here.

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