Taylor Swift was presented with the 2021 National Music Publishers’ Association’s Songwriter Icon Award and celebrated the honor with a meaningful speech on the “magical and mystifying” art of songwriting.
On Wednesday (June 9), the “Cardigan” singer-songwriter, 31, made a virtual appearance at the organization’s annual meeting and delivered an acceptance speech thanking her longtime collaborators like Jack Antonoff, Aaron Dessner, Liz Rose, and Max Martin.
“I’m really, really honored to be receiving this award because it honors the part of my job that is so magical and mystical to me, still,” said Swift after being introduced by NMPA president/CEO David Israelite. “I love songwriting so much because there’s an element to it that is still really mysterious — like I think any songwriter will tell you, when you get an idea you’re not quite sure where it floated down from, but if you can grab onto that idea and turn it into something, a piece of music, that’s where craftsmanship comes in; that’s where you have the opportunity to learn and to nurture that craft, and I want to take a moment to thank the people who were my professors, my teachers, of the craft of songwriting.”
Later in her speech, Swift thanked Rose, who had penned songs for the pop star's self-titled debut album, Fearless, and Red
“Liz Rose was someone who spent hours and hours and hours with me when there was absolutely no sign that anything would happen in my career," Swift said. "My dance card was not full, I was 14, and she wrote with me so many times and taught me how to edit my ideas down into something that would pack an emotional punch.”
“Jack Antonoff is such a wonderful creator and such a nurturing presence — with his own art and other artists, he’s just so versatile and such a wonderful friend,” she said of the Bleachers frontman. “[Folklore and Evermore collaborator] Aaron Dessner came into my life recently and he is just such a prolific creator. All of these people changed my writing and helped shape it.”
In closing, Swift said, “There are amazing songwriters who came before me who deserve this, there are incredible songwriters coming up now who are so impressive and amazing: I have such an affinity and respect for all of you.”
(Read her speech in full at Variety here.)