Taylor Swift couldn’t have done it without you. “You know, it’s interesting because you never know where a song is going to go when you write it,” she explained during her VH1 Storytellers session, which premiered tonight and is now available online for your viewing pleasure. “You never know what’s going to happen to it when it goes out into the world, and what you guys are going to do to it. And, you know, how big you guys could possibly make it.” If the sales of her most recent album, Red, are any indication, then big — very, very big. And so, as a thank you to her fans and to ensure that the evening would be “spirited,” Taylor took her VH1 Storytellers: Taylor Swift to the winning Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, California. And spirited an evening it was, she eager the stories behind some of our favorite songs and the audience excited to chip in questions and singalong.
If you missed tonight’s premiere, it’s not to late to join in. VH1 Storytellers: Taylor Swift is now available online! Watch the full episode above, or click through for a rundown of the evening.
“You Belong With Me”: She began the show with a lively rendition of her smash hit of an outsiders anthem, played on a glittery guitar and with the excited audience singing along like they were her back-up singers.
Audience Question 1: Taylor answered questions from the audience throughout the night. First up was Maya, who wanted to know if Taylor ever doubts herself. “Like 400 times per ten minute intervals,” admitted Taylor, who says she fears “like, literally everything,” from spiders to the support of the roof over her head.
“Ours”: Taylor disbanded her band and played “Ours,” a song written for “someone that I really liked at the time,” from the couch and with just a guitar in her lap. “It’s kind of like a message in a bottle, you write a song and you can send it out into the world and the person you wrote it about might hear it, and they might end up knowing what you think about them or how you feel about them,” she says.
Audience Question 2: Next, Taylor is asked if she feels like she missed out on the college experience. Taylor says that, to her, the college experience is “kind of this vivid, pretty daydream” that just wasn’t in the books for her. That doesn’t mean she’s not studious, though: “I want to keep learning things,” she says. “I want to learn as much as I can throughout my life, but it just didn’t work out to go away for four years.”
“Mean”: Though the song is aimed at one “liar, pathetic and alone in life” music critic who “really, really, really, strongly disliked” her in particular, Taylor is proud that her fans for embracing it and turning it into an anthem against bullying. “I want to thank you for everything that you did to make this song into something that was bigger than just a critic who hated me,” she says. “We won two Grammys for this song, and it’s all because of you.”
“We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”: As she tells it, this song began asa rant to her co-writers and songwriting heroes, Max Martin and Johan Shellback, about an ex-boyfriend who Taylor swore she would — yes, you can probably guess where she’s going with this — “never ever” get back together with. It took no more than one we-eeEE to get the audience up and singing along.
“Our Song”: Taylor figures she wrote this song off her first eponymous album when she was just 14 or 15-years-old. It’s about her then boyfriend, Drew, and she performed it at her high school’s talent show. Everybody loved it, and so she took it to her record label and insisted it be included on her album. Executives tried to warn her against making decisions based her friends’ whims, “But,” she said, “it ended up being our first number one on country radio, so I guess you can.”
“Love Song”: Taylor closed the fairytale of a night with her “very first worldwide number one, crossover hit,” “Love Song.” Like “Ours,” this is yet another song written for a Romeo her parent’s didn’t approve of, but whom she just could not imagine living without. “So lovely to be telling a love story on Storytellers with you tonight, at Harvey Mudd,” she said, trouncing across the stage. “Thank you so much!” Our love for you, Taylor? The real deal.