(Note: This piece was written and released ahead of the announcement that Swift’s 1989 had sold over 1.2 million copies in its first week out.)
As of press time, the sales forecasts for Taylor Swift’s album “1989” were set to place the artist in a league of her own. Billboard reported that the latest album from the “Shake It Off” singer could sell more than 1.3 million copies. If it does, that will break the record set in 2000 by Britney Spears for the biggest album sales week by a female artist. “Oops! … I Did It Again” sold 1.319 million units in its first week.
“I’ve always been very optimistic about music sales and album sales, and to have that optimism kind of rewarded with people going out and buying the album; I was so happy about it,” Swift told me last Friday. “Yunno, I would look a little ridiculous if I was just going out for the last two years going, ‘No, people still care about albums!’ And then my album comes out and everybody’s like, ‘Well we don’t care about yours.’”
But people certainly do care, and it has made the launch for “1989” not just memorable, but quite possibly historic as well.
“It’s been the best week I ever had,” Swift responded, without hesitation, when I asked her how things had gone since Monday. “I put out this album that was very different from anything I had done before. Taking kind of a bold move and saying, ‘I choose this genre over that genre for this album’ was taking a bit of a risk. For people to completely see what I was doing and understand it and get it and love it… was the most amazing feeling.”
In addition to the masses, known collectively as “Swifties” or “Taylor Nation,” artists like Kacey Musgraves and Demi Lovato texted Swift on the album’s release date with well wishes. For Musgraves, the switch of Swift’s focus to pop may provide the country singer’s mantle with some extra hardware. For the first time since 2007, Taylor is not nominated for “Favorite Female Artist – Country” at the American Music Awards. When the honor is presented later this month, it will be the first time that an artist not named Taylor Swift wins it since 2008.
“I definitely thought about what I was going to be giving up before I gave it up,” Swift said when I mentioned this, adding that the idea of her not being nominated in the category is far from a sticking point. “I didn’t make this decision thoughtlessly. It was amazing to start out in country, and who knows if I’ll go back at some point. The one thing I was worried about was losing my relationships with the people who work in that industry, and thankfully they’ve all been really accepting of me making a creative change.”
Swift will perform at the AMAs, which air live November 23 at 8 pm on ABC. Also performing is her friend Lorde, who received nods in four different categories, including “Artist Of The Year.”
“We talk about everything,” Swift insisted. “Lorde knows everything. Ella’s (her birth name) has got the inside scoop on everything. I don’t know what it is about her. People tell her everything. She sees everything. She’s also got an incredible amount of insight. She’s the person I go to for advice. She’s 17 years old.”
Granted, the “Royals” singer turns 18 on November 7 – but Swift turns 25 next month. What makes Lorde great at giving advice? Her friend credits Ella’s lack of a filter. But the fact that the world’s biggest pop star will actually listen to someone who gives it to her straight well, may put Swift in her own league for an entirely different reason.