She released her surprise album named Folklore on July 24 as well as begun work on rerecording her first five albums after Scott Borchetta quietly sold her entire catalog (six albums total) to Scooter Braun’s Ithaca Holidngs last year without giving her the opportunity to buy it herself.
The music icon, 30, revealed she felt triggered by divorce stories after what she went through with with her catalog being sold behind her back by Scott, who ran Big Machine Label and signed Taylor at 16, to someone who she claims has bullied her – Scooter.
Candid: Taylor Swift has been named as one of Entertainment Weekly’s Entertainers of the Year. The music icon revealed she felt triggered by divorce stories after what she went through with with her catalog being sold behind her back by Scott Borchetta, who ran Big Machine Label and signed Taylor as a teen, to someone who she claims has bullied her – Scooter Braun
Her Folklore songs My Tears Ricochet and Mad Woman, both of which are about betrayal, loss, and a relationship ending badly with a divorce, are also reflective of her betrayal she went through because of Scott and Scooter.
The parallels between divorce and her own ordeal she explained during the interview, led her to writing the two songs.
She revealed that these songs were in ‘in some ways imaginary, in some ways not, and in some ways both.’
Taylor explained to EW writer Alex Suskind that any story, movie or narrative ‘revolving around divorce’ would trigger her.
Thoughts: The music icon revealed she felt triggered by divorce stories after what she went through with with her catalog being sold behind her back by Scott Borchetta, who ran Big Machine Label and signed Taylor as a teen, to someone who she claims has bullied her – Scooter Braun
The Grammy award winning icon said: ‘There’s no reason it should cause me so much pain, but all of a sudden it felt like something I had been through.’
She explained, speaking of her time at Big Machine Records with Scott, who founded the label in 2005: ‘I think it happens any time you’ve been in a 15-year relationship and it ends in a messy, upsetting way.’
Taylor signed with Big Machine Records at age 16, releasing six albums Taylor Swift (2006), Fearless (2008) Speak Now (2010), Red (2012), 1989 (2014) and Reputation (2017).
In 2018, Taylor signed with Republic Records, a label under Universal Music Group; any music she releases she owns, including Folklore and Lover, which she released last year.
Taylor said she wrote the song My Tears Ricochet using imagery that she had ‘conjured up while comparing a relationship ending to when people end an actual marriage.’
Honest: Her Folklore songs My Tears Ricochet and Mad Woman, both of which are about betrayal, loss, and a relationship ending badly with a divorce, are also reflective of her betrayal she went through because of Scott and Scooter
In the song My Tear Ricochet, she sings ‘Even on my worst day/Did I deserve babe/ All the hell you gave me?’ as well as heart wrenching lines ‘And if I’m dead then why are you at the wake?/Cursing my name/Wishing I stayed/ Look at how my tears ricochet.’
She also sings ‘And so the battleships will sink beneath the waves/You had to kill me, but it killed you just the same,’ referring to her and Scott’s friendship being over after working together for over a decade.
Adding: ‘All of a sudden this person that you trusted more than anyone in the world is the person that can hurt you the worst. Then all of a sudden the things that you have been through together, hurt. All of a sudden, the person who was your best friend is now your biggest nemesis, etc. etc. etc.’
Taylor also said she was watching Marriage Story while writing the songs, which is about a couple – played by Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver – as they navigate through a marriage ending and divorce.
The singer/songwriter said that she wrote some of the first lyrics of My Tears Ricochet watching the show as well as while ‘hearing about when marriages go wrong and end in such a catastrophic way.’
The Scott/Scooter deal, which occurred in June 2019, was worth a reported $300 million – with Scott selling Big Machine Records and also her entire catalog of music , which the star publicly slammed because she was not given the opportunity to purchase her catalog herself.
She had previously revealed she learned about the deal online and that she didn’t hear about it from her team.
After news of the sale went public, Taylor took to Tumblr to reveal ‘bully’ Scooter – who is the manager of Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande and many more – acquired the label she was previously at – Big Machine Records.
The deal included the master recordings of all six of her albums – all of her previous music and her legacy.
Queen: The Scott/Scooter deal was worth a reported $300 million – with Scott selling Big Machine Records and also her entire catalog of music , which the star publicly slammed because she was not given the opportunity to purchase her catalog herself.; pictured January 6, 2019 at the InStyle and Warner Bros Golden Globes after Party in Beverly Hills
Through the deal, in addition to Taylor’s masters, he also gets the music of Reba McEntire, Sheryl Crow, Florida Georgia Line, Thomas Rhett, Rascal Flatts and Lady Antebellum.
On her Tumblr post last year, Taylor slammed Scooter as well as Big Machine Label Group CEO Scott and revealed she was not offered the opportunity to buy her own masters and that the former bullied her for years.
Taylor added a picture of Justin Bieber’s Instagram post – that showed what he captioned at the time- which was ‘Taylor Swift what up’ and a picture of Justin facetiming with Kanye West and Scooter Braun.
She had added in red writing with a circle over Scooter: ‘This is Scooter Braun, bullying me on social media when I was at my lowest point He’s about to own all the music I’ve ever made.’
Taylor wrote a lengthy post on Tumblr regarding the sale and also how the news brought her back to ‘the incessant, manipulative bullying I’ve received at his hands for years.’
One of a kind: In 2018 Swift signed with Republic Records, a label under the Universal Music Group; Taylor holding on to her three Grammys at the 2016 Grammy Awards
Swift said the purchase was a betrayal from her old label.
‘Never in my worst nightmares did I imagine the buyer would be Scooter,’ she said.
‘Any time Scott Borchetta has heard the words “Scooter Braun” escape my lips, it was when I was either crying or trying not to. He knew what he was doing; they both did. Controlling a woman who didn’t want to be associated with them. In perpetuity. That means forever,’ she wrote.
Last month, Scooter sold her catalog to Shamrock Holdings for a reported $300 million – with Taylor once again not being given the opportunity to purchase her music herself.
Creative process: She said that she wrote some of the first lyrics of My Tears Ricochet watching the show as well as while ‘hearing about when marriages go wrong and end in such a catastrophic way’
Following Braun’s sale of Swift’s catalog to Shamrock, the music mogul and his backers will retain the remainder of Big Machine – whose other artists include the likes of Sheryl Crow, Lady A, and Tim McGraw – for a fraction of their original investment.
Swift spoke out about her catalog being re-sold on Twitter last month, accusing Braun of denying her the chance to own her old masters.
She detailed how she unsuccessfully tried to negotiate the purchase of the rights to her old music catalog, claiming that Braun demanded she sign an ‘ironclad’ NDA which would silence her before she could even begin discussions with BMLG Records.
The singer also claimed the masters were sold without her knowledge, and she revealed the name of private equity company Shamrock Holdings as the new owners of her work.
Along with her post Swift also shared a letter she sent to Shamrock after they reached out to her to inform her of the purchase.
The Bad Blood hitmaker informed them that she had been excited at the prospect of partnering with them but after learning that Braun is still going to profit off the catalog she realized there was no way forward.
In a statement, Shamrock confirmed the deal and said they ‘made this investment because we believe in the immense value and opportunity that comes with her work.’
The company continued: ‘We fully respect and support her decision and, while we hoped to formally partner, we also knew this was a possible outcome that we considered.’
Silenced: Swift claimed in November that Braun demanded she sign an ‘ironclad’ NDA which would silence her before she could begin discussions with BMLG Records about regaining ownership of her songs
Disappointed: The singer also revealed Shamrock Holdings as the private equity firm that bought the masters in a recent deal. She shared a letter she sent Shamrock after they reached out to her to inform her about the deal
Her original contract stated that she can re-record five albums one year after the original deal went through – something which Taylor is currently undertaking, per EW.
The contract allowed the re-recording for her first five albums only – Taylor Swift through 1989 to begin in November 2020; it is unknown when she is allowed to re-record Reputation, her last album with Big Machine.
The re-recording means that fans can support Taylor herself, which she will now own, which in turn will devalue her old recordings, which Shamrock Holdings now owns.
It also means she can license her re-recordings to movies and shows and commercials; while any company can still license the original recordings through Shamrock, they also risk alienating Taylor herself.
Mad Women is also a song she uses a curse word in a lyric – something which she previously has never done, which led to an explicit content sticker on the album.
On how she felt dropping the F word on the song, Taylor cheekily answered in EW: ‘F****** fantastic.’
On Folklore having curse words, she said: ‘Every rule book was thrown out. I always had these rules in my head and one of them was, “oh haven’t done this before, so you can’t ever do this.”
For Mad Women she said it ‘was one of the times where I felt like you need to follow the storyline and the language match up and you end up saying the -word, just go for it.’
Support: ‘Thankfully, I am now signed to a label that believes I should own anything I create. Thankfully, I left my past in Scott’s hands and not my future,’ Swift said last year after the deal went public; the talented singer pictured on July 10, 2019 at the Amazon Music Prime Day concert in New York
Taylor said she didn’t follow any guidelines or restrictions she had placed on herself: ‘I decided to just make what I wanted to make. And I’m really happy that the fans were stoked about that because I think they could feel that.’
The entire album was written and recorded during the COVID-19 pandemic; the majority of the songs, including Cardigan, was produced by Aaron Dessner from the band The Nationals.
She met him during his band’s concert in Brooklyn last year.
Taylor also worked with Jack Antonoff on Folklore; the duo have worked together on 1989, Reputation and Lover.
For the complete Taylor interview, read it in full on EW.com.