Taylor Swift was honored with the prestigious Songwriter-Artist of the Decade award at the 5th annual Nashville Songwriter Awards on Tuesday (Sept. 20) at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium. The honor is for her work as a songwriter and artist from 2011 through 2019 in both the country and pop genres.
Swift was introduced by NSAI’s Bart Herbision before walking onstage to accept the award. In her acceptance speech, the megastar looked back on her genre-spanning career, reflecting on the people that helped her reach her goals and even breaking down her unique lyrical styles.
“For me, tonight feels brimming with a genuine camaraderie between a bunch of people who just love making stuff. Who love the craft. Who live for that rare, pure moment when a magical cloud floats down right in front of you in the form of an idea for a song, and all you have to do is grab it,” she shared at the top of her speech, according to CMT.com.
“Then shape it like clay. Prune it like a garden. And then wish on every lucky star or pray to whatever power you believe in that it might find its way out into the world and make someone feel seen, feel understood, feel joined in their grief or heartbreak or joy for just a moment.”
She also commented on the fast-paced nature of the music industry, saying every songwriter is looking for that “one glorious moment in the sun.” Swift noted that she “can’t possibly explain how nice” it feels to receive the award.
“Because the way I see it, this is an award that celebrates a culmination of moments,” she says. “Challenges. Gauntlets laid down. Albums I’m proud of. Triumphs. Strokes of luck or misfortune. Loud, embarrassing errors and the subsequent recovery from those mistakes, and the lessons learned from all of it. This award celebrates my family and my co-writers and my team. My friends and my fiercest fans and my harshest detractors and everyone who entered my life or left it. Because when it comes to my songwriting and my life, they are one in the same. As the great Nora Ephron once said, ‘Everything is copy.'”
The 11-time Grammy winner also dove into her songwriting style, which, according to the artist, is broken up into three self-created categories: Quill Lyrics, Fountain Pen Lyrics and Glitter Gel Pen Lyrics. Quill Lyrics are songs she writes “after reading Charlotte Brontë or after watching a movie where everyone is wearing poet shirts and corsets.” Her song “Ivy,” from her Evermore album, is an example of this.
Her Fountain Pen style features a “modern storyline or references, with a poetic twist,” such as “All Too Well.” Lastly, her Glitter Gel Pen style features lyrics that are “frivolous, carefree, bouncy, syncopated perfectly to the beat,” such as “Shake it Off.”
Swift says that songwriting is “my life’s work and my hobby and my never-ending thrill,” and talked about the “joyride down memory lane” that has been re-recording her past albums. She also shared the genesis of the 10-minute version of “All Too Well” that came out of a songwriting session with Liz Rose. In the end, Swift summed up her gratitude for receiving the award.
“But a song can defy logic or time,” she says. “A good song transports you to your truest feelings and translates those feelings for you. A good song stays with you even when people or feelings don’t. Writing songs is a calling and getting to call it your career makes you very lucky. You have to be grateful every day for it, and all the people who thought your words might be worth listening to. This town is the school that taught me that.”
“To be honored by you means more than any genre of my lyrics could ever say,” she adds. Swift will release a new album, Midnights, on Oct. 21.
Taylor Swift Accepts Songwriter-Artist of the Decade Award
Taylor Swift received the Songwriter-Artist of the Decade award at the 5th Annual Nashville Songwriter Awards. Songwriter Ashley Gorley was honored as the Songwriter of the Decade.