Damian Dovarganes, AP
"It's a song that is about kind of my tendency to run from love. It's sort of a recent tendency," Taylor shared with fans in an online chat Tuesday, looking somber and nodding slowly when asked if the songs on her new album are about her personal life. "Mm hmm. The thing is, I don't really talk about my personal life in interviews, but I definitely sing about it. So they're definitely very sung about on this next record."
This may well be Taylor's most personal album to date because she wrote all of the songs all by herself. The reason she didn't use co-writers, she said, is that she wrote most of it while on her Fearless tour.
"There is also the fact that the album is called 'Speak Now,' and that pertains to the album as a concept and as an entire theme of the record, more than I can even tell you," she says. "I've been working on it for two years. Ever since we put out 'Fearless,' I've been writing for this record and conceptualizing it and putting it together in my head, what I wanted it to be. I like to take a lot of time between albums to work up the next one and see what it is. We did the same thing with 'Fearless.' We put two years in between it [and her self-titled debut album] and that gives enough time for me [to] write everything that I live. You have got to give yourself time to live a lot of things, so you can write a lot of things."
Although more than 4,100 people signed into the 50-minute online chat, Taylor's answers were as casual as if she was sharing thoughts with a few friends. Watch the full video below, or read some of the highlights:
What she's doing this summer: "We have been off the road for a few months, and I miss you terribly. But it's been a really awesome summer. This summer I've been 99 percent focused on my new record and one percent focused on the fact that I actually just moved into my first place. I'm officially moved in! I'm so excited! As you know, I've been constantly talking about how I've been antique shopping and non-stop planning and construction on this place. It's been really awesome to figure out what it's like to be on your own, just cooking and stuff. I'm having such a blast with it."
On visiting Portland, Maine for a video shoot: "Portland, Maine was the most beautiful place I have ever been. It was gorgeous. I absolutely fell in love with it. I had heard people talk about how they go to Maine and I was almost like, 'I wonder what Maine is like? I wonder why people love it so much?' It's because it is amazing and gorgeous! I went there and got to spend two to three days falling in love with it. When I am old and have silver hair, I want to go live in Maine and have a house and make necklaces or something and have a lot of cats. It's a whole fantasy for me. So at least I know where I'm going to end up."
Why she wrote all the songs for her new album: "I wrote all the songs myself for this record. It didn't really happen on purpose. It just sort of happened that way. I'd get my best ideas at 3:00 AM in Arkansas, and didn't have a co-writer around and I'd just finish it. And that would happen again in New York; that would happen again in Boston; that would happen again in Nashville. The songs that made the cut for the albums are the ones that I wrote by myself so – wish me luck!"
Her reaction to the song 'Sparks Fly' becoming a fan favorite: 'Sparks Fly' is a song I wrote a few years ago and played in concert. You guys have learned it and I think like it, which makes me really happy. When we did the 13-hour Meet and Greet at [last month's] CMA Fest, that was a comment I got over and over again. You guys were saying, 'So what about 'Sparks Fly?' Is it going to be on the next record? What is going on with it?'
"So yes, it's going to be on the next album. I am excited as you guys have been asking the questions and thank you for having an interest in the song. I really appreciate it when you guys pay such close attention. I played that song at maybe one or two shows, and you guys just jumped on it and really made it something that I had to put on the album because you really showed interest in it. And that's one of my favorite things about you all is that you really tell me what you like and what you're thinking."
How she approaches developing an album: "My favorite thing to do is make a list of what the album can be, even when I'm in the beginning stages of writing the album and I've got three songs on the list. I still make a list of what the track listing would be like. Which [song] is track one, two or three. And then you keep writing more songs and writing more songs and all of a sudden you've got a list of 25 songs. What I would do is keep bumping off songs that I felt I had overwritten. As you keep writing more songs, your list gets better and better and better. And I did that so many times I can't even count!"
Her favorite summer outfit: "My favorite summer outfit is definitely the sundress, and I like headbands a lot. I usually just throw on flats, because they are on the bottom drawer of my closet. I now have my own closet and I'm being super obnoxious about that, but I'm really excited about having my own little place."
Her favorite memory of the last tour: "My favorite memory of being on tour was we played two stadiums (in Louisiana and Boston) on the last leg of the tour. You're showing up to sound check the night before and you get to play to an empty stadium. My band and I we aren't used to playing in stadiums. I don't care if we end up playing hundreds of stadiums, we will never get used to walking into this giant, massive vast space and getting to play songs in it. It was wonderful, and you guys have done that for us.
"I remember we were standing there on the edge of the [stage] and my brother was on stage taking pictures of us, and we were all looking back at the camera. I have that picture and I'm going to frame it and put it on my wall."
Her favorite private moments: "My favorite moments off tour are when I run into you guys and you say, 'I saw the show in Chicago,' or 'I saw the show in Atlanta' or 'I saw the show in Des Moines' or [one of the other] places we went. You say the nicest things to me, and I really appreciate that. Knowing that you guys came and saw the show and saw what we put together, that really means a lot to me. Those memories always make me smile."
Her favorite coffee: "I really love Starbucks. I'm sort of addicted. I'll get different things there. Right now I'm going back to what I used to drink when I was 16. Before school I'd go and get an iced caramel latte. So I'll switch back and forth between that and a skinny vanilla latte that's really awesome."
Her favorite food: "I've always loved baking, but right now I'm obsessed with cooking. So I have this entire bookshelf full of cookbooks in my place. And I really love reading 'Barefoot Contessa' cookbooks. You know when you go into the store and there's [a cookbook with a title such as] 'How to Make Great Sandwiches'? Who buys those? I buy those ... So basically anything I can make from a cookbook and improvise with. I'll get basic recipe from a cookbook and then say 'Oh I wonder what would happen if I added this to it?'"
On future acting plans: "I've had a blast acting. 'Valentine's Day' was so much fun. And I was in 'CSI,' which you guys know I'm obsessed with, and that was so much fun. And I would love to be in [another] movie at some point. But just not when I'm so immersed in what I love the most. I can't think about anything else."
How she decorated her house: "My house is very mismatched. I don't like to match things. I like them to be a little bit off. Some people have a very clean and modern look to things, and if you are doing that you probably don't want to mismatch everything. But for me I wanted it to look kind of like a pirate ship/'Alice in Wonderland'/old antique store -- sort of like a fortune teller's house/tree house/bird cage/a garden -- a very mismatched place."
Why 13 is her favorite number: "Don't get me started. I'm obsessed with 13. I had so many 13s happen to me today. I was on my way downstairs from my place and [the elevator] stopped at Floor 13, which was awesome because I was on my way to the studio to close out a mix on the first single. Then we were in the studio [discussing people who have names with 13 letters in them] and all the things that have happened that have 13. Thirteen pops up, and I can't control it. It's always there when good things are happening. It's like a good omen. Some people think it's a bad luck charm. For me, it's a really good thing. When I see it, it just means everything is going to be OK. I hope that's what it means, because I see it a lot!"
All about fan presents: "I love them so much. You give me the coolest presents. And I have this entire room dedicated to them. There's one in my house, there's one in the management office. And I keep everything. So thank you for the gifts.
One of my favorite thing is the puzzle piece project fans organized. Each one of them made one. And they were all over the world. They put so much effort into it. They were all these glittery beautiful artistic puzzle pieces, and every time I turned around someone would show up at the meet-and-greet and give me one of these puzzle pieces. When the 15-month tour was over, I had all these puzzle pieces, and I put them together and it made the shape of this giant heart ... The other day, I went and got this giant canvas and painted the canvas and then glued the puzzle onto the canvas, and I'm getting it framed and it's going to be very prominently placed on my wall."
When she does meet-and-greets: I do meet-and-greets before and after every single show. [CMA Fest] was supposed to be a 13 hour meet and greet, and it was 15 hours. I had so much fun with you guys there. That was one of the coolest days of my entire life. The stories I got, the wonderful emotion I got to see that day. Filling up an entire arena with you all. You all traveled so far. And getting to do the show in the middle of the signing ... I had so much fun with you guys. I would really like to do it again, the long, long meet-and-greet. It was an unforgettable thing."
Starting on August 20, Taylor Swift's 'Speak Now' album will be available for pre-sale on www.SpeakNow13.com.