B1 Intermediate US 397 Folder Collection
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Absolutely love this one, right?
(audience applauds)
This is sort of a, it's not a short speech.
So just, I don't want this to slip and break
'cause it's very important to me.
- I got it.
- Thank you so much.
(audience laughs)
She's so supportive, we all need someone like that.
I'm Taylor, good evening.
I wanna first thank Billboard from the bottom of my heart
for this honor, for--
Whoa, this is going great so far.
(audience laughs)
Excellent, okay.
I wanna say thank you so much to Billboard
for giving me this honor,
for naming me as their Woman of the Decade.
So what does it mean to be the woman of this decade?
Well, it means I've seen a lot.
When this decade began I was 20 years old
and I had put out my self-titled debut album when I was 16,
and then the album that would become my breakthrough album,
which was called Fearless.
And I saw that there was a world of music
and experience beyond country music
that I was really curious about.
I saw pop stations send my songs Love Story
and You Belong With Me to number one for the first time.
And I saw that as a female in this industry,
some people will always have slight reservations about you.
Whether you deserve to be there, whether your male producer
or co-writer is the reason for your success,
or whether it was a savvy record label.
It wasn't.
(audience laughs)
I saw that people love to explain away a woman's success
in the music industry, and I saw something in me change
due to this realization.
This was the decade when I became a mirror
for my detractors.
Whatever they decided I couldn't do is exactly what I did.
- [Audience Member] Woo!
- Oh, I'll take it. (applauding)
Whatever they criticized about me
became material for musical satires
or inspirational anthems,
and the best lyrical examples I can think of
are songs like Mean, Shake It Off, and Blank Space.
Basically if people had something to say about me,
I usually said something back in my own way.
And this reflect dictated more than just my lyrics.
When Fearless did win Album of the Year at the Grammys
and I did become the youngest solo artist to ever win
the award, with that win came criticism and backlash
in 2010 that I'd never experienced before
as a young new artist.
All of a sudden people had doubts about my singing voice,
was it strong enough, was I a little bit pitchy?
All of a sudden they weren't sure if I was the one
writing the songs because sometimes in the past
I had had co-writers in the room.
At that time I couldn't understand
why this wave of harsh criticism had hit me so hard.
I believe a popular headline back then was,
A Swift Backlash, which is clever, you gotta give it to 'em.
(audience laughs)
And now I realize that this is just what happens
to a woman in music if she achieves success or power
beyond people's comfort level.
I now have come to expect that with good news
comes some sort of pushback.
But I didn't know that then.
So then I decided that I would be the only songwriter
on my third album, Speak Now,
and that I would tour constantly,
work on my vocals every day,
and perfect my stamina in a live show.
I decided I would be what they said I couldn't be.
I didn't know then that soon enough
people would decide on something else
I wasn't quite doing right, and then the circle
would keep going on and on and rolling along
and I would keep accommodating, over-correcting,
in an effort to appease my critics.
They're saying I'm dating too much in my 20s?
Okay, I'll stop, I'll just be single.
For years.
(audience laughs)
Now they're saying my album Red
is filled with too many breakup songs?
Okay, okay, I'll make one about moving to New York
and deciding that really my life is more fun
with just my friends.
Oh, they're saying my music is changing too much
for me to stay in country music?
All right.
Okay, here's an entire genre shift
and a pop album called 1989.
- [Audience Member] Woo!
- Ah! (applauding)
You heard it?
Now it's that I'm showing you too many pictures
of me with my friends, okay, I can stop doing that too.
Now I'm actually a calculated manipulator
rather than a smart businesswoman?
Okay, I'll disappear from public view for years.
Now I'm being cast a villain to you?
Okay, here's an album called Reputation
and there are lots of snakes everywhere.
In the last 10 years I have watched
as women in this industry are criticized
and measured up to each other and picked at
for their bodies, their romantic lives, their fashion,
or have you ever heard someone say about a male artist,
I really like his songs but I don't know what it is,
there's just something about him I don't like?
That criticism is reserved for us!
But you know, I've learned that the difference
between those who can continue to create in that climate
usually comes down to this.
Who lets that scrutiny break them
and who just keeps making art.
I've watched as one of my favorite artists of this decade,
Lana Del Rey, was ruthly criticized--
(man mumbles)
(applauding) Thank you.
We have similar tastes, I like it.
She was ruthlessly criticized in her early career
and then slowly but surely she turned into, in my opinion,
the most influential artist in pop.
Her vocal stylings, her lyrics, her aesthetics,
they've been echoed and repurposed in every corner of music,
and this year her incredible album
is nominated for Album of the Year at the Grammys
because she just kept making art.
And that example should inspire all of us,
that the only way forward is forward motion.
That we shouldn't let obstacles like criticism
slow down the creative forces that drive us.
And I see that fire in the newer faces in our music industry
whose work I absolutely love.
I see it in Lizzo, Rosalia, Tayla Parx,
Hayley Kiyoko, King Princess, Camila Cabello, Halsey,
Megan Thee Stallion, Princess Nokia, Nina Nesbitt,
Sigrid, Normani, H.E.R., Maggie Rogers, Becky G,
Dua Lipa, Ella Mai, Billie Eilish.
(audience cheers)
And so many other amazing women
who are making music right now.
Female artists in music have dominated this decade
in growth, streaming, record and ticket sales,
and critical acclaim.
So why are we doing so well?
Because we have to grow fast.
We have to work this hard,
we have to prove that we deserve this,
and we have to top our last achievements.
Women in music, onstage or behind the scenes,
are not allowed to coast.
We are held at a higher,
sometimes impossible-feeling standard.
And it seems that my fellow female artists
have taken this challenge and they have accepted it.
It seems like the pressure that could have crushed us
made us into diamonds instead.
And what didn't kill us actually did make us stronger.
But we need to keep advocating for women
in the recording studios, behind the mixing board,
in A and R meetings, because rather than fighting
to be taken seriously in their fields,
these women are still struggling
to even have a chance to be in the room.
(audience applauds)
We now find ourselves fully immersed
in a vast frontier that wasn't around last decade,
and that is the streaming world.
In music, we're always walking hand-in-hand with technology,
and sometimes that is so awesome,
like how now we're able to just drop a song
that we made yesterday.
I've spoken out in the past about the future
of revenue flow for creators and the songwriters
and producers who are being left behind
due to these rapid shifts and changes.
I still don't think that record contracts
or producers agreements have fully caught up,
and I hope that in the next decade,
we can keep searching for the right solution
for producers, songwriters, and creators.
Don't you?
(audience applauds)
Lately there's been a new shift that has affected me
personally and that I feel is a potentially harmful force
in our industry, and as your resident loud person,
I feel the need to bring it up.
And that is the unregulated world of private equity
coming in and buying up our music as if it is real estate.
As if it's an app or a shoe line.
This just happened to me without my approval,
consultation, or consent.
After I was denied the chance to purchase my music outright,
my entire catalog was sold
to Scooter Braun's Ithaca Holdings
in a deal that I'm told was funded
by the Soros Family, 23 Capital, and the Carlyle Group.
Yet to this day none of these investors
have ever bothered to contact me or my team directly.
To perform their due diligence on their investment.
On their investment in me.
To ask how I might feel about the new owner of my art.
The music I wrote.
The videos I created.
Photos of me, my handwriting, my album designs.
And of course Scooter never contacted me or my team
to discuss it prior to the sale
or even when it was announced.
I'm fairly certain he knew exactly
how I would feel about it though.
And let me just say that the definition
of the toxic male privilege in our industry
is people saying, but he's always been nice to me,
when I'm raising valid concerns about artists
and their rights to own their music.
And of course he's nice to you.
If you're in this room, you have something he needs.
The fact is that private equity
is what enabled this man to think,
according to his own social media post,
that he could buy me.
But I'm obviously not going willingly.
Yet the most amazing thing was to discover
that it would be the women in our industry
who would have my back and show me the most vocal support
at one of the most difficult times,
and I will never, ever forget it.
Like, ever.
(cheers) (applauds)
But to conclude, I will say that in 10 years
I've seen forward steps in our industry,
in our awareness, our inclusion,
our ability to start calling out unfairness and misconduct.
I've seen the advent of social media,
the way it can boost the breakthrough of emerging artists
and I've seen fans become more engaged and supportive
than ever before.
I've leaned on that support
and it has kept me in a place where no matter what,
I always wanted to keep making music for them.
I was up on a stage in New York City in 2014
accepting Billboard Woman of the Year
and I was talking about the future of streaming.
How we needed to make sure that the female artists,
writers, and producers of the next generation
were protected and compensated fairly.
This was before my record deal with Universal, last year,
that would contractually guarantee
that the artists on their roster be paid
upon any sale of their Spotify shares unrecoupable.
So thank you for that.
(audience applauds)
This speech I'm referring to was on my 25th birthday.
I'm about to turn 30 tonight, woo!
(cheers) (applauds)
But my exact quote during the speech was,
"I really just feel like we need to continue to try
"to offer something to a younger generation of musicians,
"because somewhere right now your future Woman of the Year
"is probably sitting in a piano lesson or in a girls' choir
"and today right now we need to take care of her."
I've since learned that at that exact moment,
an 11-year-old girl in California
really was taking piano lessons
and really was in a girls' choir.
And this year she has been named Woman of the Year
at the age of 17, her name is Billie.
(audience applauds)
And those are the stories we need to think about
every day as we do our jobs within this industry.
The ones where people's dreams come true
and they get to create music and play it for people.
The ones where fans feel a connection to music
that makes their day easier, makes their night more fun,
makes their love feel more sacred,
or their heartache feel less isolating.
The ones where all of you in this room
stand as an example for someone else in the next generation
who loves the same thing that we love.
And no matter what else enters the conversation,
we will always bring it back to music.
And as for me, lately I've been focusing less on doing
what they say I can't do and more on doing
whatever the hell I want.
(applauds) Thank you for a magnificent,
happy, free, confused, sometimes lonely
but mostly golden decade.
I'm honored to be here tonight.
I feel very lucky to be with you, thank you so much.
(cheers) (applauds)
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Taylor Swift Accepts Woman of the Decade Award | Women In Music

397 Folder Collection
Jill Lin published on December 14, 2019
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