Re-live Taylor’s iHeartRadio Music Festival performance tonight AND tomorrow at 8p ET on The CW!
- Taylor Nation
So…..about last night.
I guess I should tell you guys that I was contacted on Thursday by Taylor Nation through Taylor’s tumblr and……….I freaked out a little bit. Okay, more than a little bit. Way more than a little bit. We all knew about the secret session she’d done prior and I was thinking to myself that maybe this is what they were referring to in the message. I only say that because all they wanted to know was my full name, age, where I lived, etc, etc. It could only mean one thing.
Flash forward an hour after I email them what they wanted. The phone finally rings with a 615 area code. It was Taylor Nation, and long story short, I was invited to a “top secret event,” meaning I couldn’t say a word to ANYONE ABOUT IT. So up until Sunday night was literally awful because I COULDN’T say anything to you guys!!! AND I SO DESPERATELY WANTED TO!!!!!!
My parents were down with it from the get go and I couldn’t be more thankful for that because they’re the whole reason I was able to get to Nashville. It wasn’t even a thought to NOT let me go because they knew how important this experience was going to be for me. So, on Sunday morning, we all woke up at 5 am and left the house for Nashville at 6, and ended up at the hotel at 1:30 pm.
3:30 rolls around and we arrive at the meeting destination. The line was considerably long and I was kind of bummed that I didn’t see any familiar faces, but I didn’t let that get me down because I knew what was about to happen. We were escorted onto the bus after showing our IDs and we actually ended up being the loudest bus. So loud that the camera man that had been standing around at the meeting place decided to ride along with us.
In about ten minutes, we arrived at Andrea and Scott’s home. It was beautiful. We were directed to the back patio where we were told to help ourselves to the food and drinks (literally I went ham the sushi was fuckin FIRE shout out to whoever made that) and that we would be getting things started shortly. (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
After standing around in the backyard, we were finally let into their home. It was gorgeous. It had these tall black walls with white accents all over and it looked very Autumn-y (Taylor said they did that on purpose lol). The living room floor was covered with pillows and we all sat down and waited for the next thing to happen.
The next thing that happened was something that I will never, ever, ever forget. Taylor walked into the room and I absolutely lose it. She looked gorgeous (literally I wasn’t surprised) and even more beautiful in person and honestly she is so cute I’m starting to lose my good puncuation and sentence formation BUT HONESTLY JESUS CHRSIT I WANTED TO DO A SOMERSAULT THROUGH THE CROWD AND JUST…………..HUG HER……..
But I couldn’t. Yet. Because the first thing we did was listen to the first half of the album. Just by listening to the first half I already knew that 1989 is going to be her best album. There isn’t a doubt in my mind about it. But…I want to keep the songs a surprise, so I’m not going to really talk much about.
It’s finally time for “intermission” aka a break where Taylor passes out cookies, we use the bathroom, talk to her parents, etc etc. During this intermission I got to do all of these things. Except use to bathroom. I was too excited to use the bathroom. I got to speak with Andrea and she is so kind and warm hearted, I understand why people adore her so much now. I asked her if I could hug her and she said yes ofhbghh!!!!!!!!!! Then we had a conversation about how much Taylor appreciates all of the things we do for her and that we were hand picked (I lost it because I didn’t KNOW R I P) and how special this is for HER. Andrea Swift is the love of my life tbh
THEN. FINALLY. NO BIG DEAL. TAYLOR STARTED TALKING TO THE PEOPLE AROUND ME. I WAS LITERALLY CONVULSING NEXT TO HER AND MY SISTER WAS LIKE KYLEE. STAY. COOL. REMAIN. CLAM. AND I WAS JUST…………..?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!.1.1.1!?!?!.,11MNUHGIGUK But I did. I kept my cool (surprisingly) and I had a conversation with THE Taylor Swift about how Olivia looked like a baby polar bear. She made direct eye contact and gave me her full attention despite being crowded around 54678900756658 other people. She gave me a hug and after that, passed out some more cookies and then we finished listening to the second half of the album.
Then we all were taken outside and seperated into groups according to the number we had on our wristband. I was group 4. FOUR. F O U R. 1. 2. 3. 4!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m not going to talk much about what happened between then and me meeting Taylor because nothing really happened besides a lot of heavy breathing and mental preperation.
When my group got taken into the house, Scott stopped and talked to us for a good ten minutes about how much Taylor loves what she does. He talked about how she’ll wake up in the middle of the night and tell him about ideas for songs that she has. He told us how on a day off Taylor’s just like “Hey, dad. I want to go to the hospital today. Let’s go.” He also talked about when she toured with Brad Paisley, that she would stay out until 1 or 2 am just signing things for fans because she wanted to get to absolutely everyone. We also spoke about how the media portrays her and how hard that is for him sometimes. But he reminded us that Taylor knows who she is and there’s no use in getting upset over it because of that. He was radiating pride and you could tell how much love he has for Taylor.
Finally, it was my time to meet Taylor. I’m so happy I remember all of this so I can share it with you guys.
I approached Taylor but didn’t have time to even get one word in because she grabbed my hands and looked at me and said, “You are so beautiful. You are so pretty, oh my God. You are SO pretty.” I just shook my head and told her to not say that because I’d start crying, I tried to tell her that SHE was beautiful but she wouldn’t let me (R I P ME SHE’S AN ANGEL) because she went on to tell me that I remind her of an actress, that I cannot remember the name of for the LIFE of me and it makes me so angry.
Then I clarified that I was the particle girl from the video. I had to explain a bit and her eyes lit up, still holding my hands from earlier, and said, “Oh my God! I am so excited to be meeting you right now! I love your creativity.” I told her how I had school the next day and how hard I was trying and how I had just gotten out of the shower, but she just told me how much she loved the video. It was……so…………I just………….
She wouldn’t let go of my hands. She told me I smelled good. (R I P ME AGAIN FOR LIKE THE EIGHTH TIME!!!!!)
We talked a bit about tumblr and I said, “I don’t even know if you see what I post.” and she was like “You are /so/ hilarious, like, you are /so/ funny! I love your dark sense of humor. I love what you reblog!” and I felt like fainting because….you guys know how much I love making you guys laugh…I spend so much time on here because you guys GET me and let me say these weird things and LAUGH and you tell me I’m funny and I love making you guys laugh. It makes me so happy. And for Taylor to tell me that was one of the most important things that has ever happened to me.
I then told her I had to get the ~serious~ stuff out of the way. I told her and I guess you guys should know, too.
First, I had to tell her about the night before the Speak Now show. I was making my big, elaborate poster (that I ended up not bringing because the arena said I couldn’t bring it in. I told Taylor that she said “That’s so lame! It’s like not letting you in because you’re too awesome.)
Anyway, I told her about how I struggled a lot with self harm at that time because of a lot of things. School. Family. Etc, etc. I told her that when I was making my poster, I was so invested in what I was doing that I kind of thought to myself, “Why do I get sad about things when this is what my life is? Taylor Swift, a literal ball of sunshine. Why do I get sad and hurt myself when the person I look up to is so happy?”
I told Taylor that I stared at the picture of her I had put on the poster and said to myself, “You know what. I am going to stop. I am going to stop for her.” I told her that I haven’t done it since.
Her whole demeanor changed and suddenly she became really concerned. It was so reassuring to see her like that while looking at me. It’s unexplainable.
I also told her something else.
I sometimes make these long, annoying, sad posts about my mom because a long time ago, way back in 2012, she left us for about seven months. It was just me, my two sisters, and my dad. My dad barely got us by and just had enough money to put food onto the table. My sisters and I had to reconstruct our entire lives because our mom wasn’t there to do the things she normally did. Sometimes I would get left alone a lot because I was the youngest and my sisters were at school or work and my dad was out trying to get every ounce of money he could to raise us three growing girls. In those times, it got very dark. I don’t mean that literally, but it was just a dark time. I would sit alone on the couch crying, asking the fucking wind why my mom wasn’t here. I didn’t know why.
During all of those months, I turned to Taylor a lot. I told her everything above (in tears, gripping onto her hands), but I also told her that I didn’t want to say she was like a mother figure for me, but she definitely filled the void that my mom had created when she left. Taylor was there to tell me it was okay, Taylor was there when I woke up for school, Taylor was there to tell me to do all of the things that I didn’t want to do just because I felt like I was too weak and I felt like there was no point. She showed me that there was purpose. Of course, I don’t mean that she was there LITERALLY because. Obviously. Hello. But her and her music guided me through a lot. And I had to thank her for that, so I did.
She held onto my hands and said, “I am so, so proud of you. Everything that you specifically have gone through and what you and your family has gone through, I am so proud. That was all you guys. It wasn’t me. That was you.” I managed to hold back my tears but I thanked her about a gazillion times because at that moment I knew that Taylor Swift was proud of me. Taylor Swift is proud of me. 13 year old me was sobbing in a corner about that somewhere.
My sister Ashlee was walked over and Taylor explained to us how important it was that we stuck together when my mom left. Ashlee said, “This is so important to me, seeing her get to meet you, because this girl right here is my best friend, my baby. And you make her so happy. I’ve never seen her this happy. Thank you.”
We took our pictures and I got to go first. I said, “The duck face and the peace sign are kind of my thing.” She said, “Oh, like this.” And threw up the deuces and did a duck face (R I P ME!!!!!!!!” I was like yes!!! and she said, “Okay, let’s do this!” So we did. It was amazing. Rip. Me. Forever. I am dead. In the grave. Then Ashlee came over and we took a group shot. Rip. Me. Again. Dead.
I hugged her one last time and told her I love her to the moon and back and she told me that she loves me too. I didn’t want to let go tbh my whole life was in my arms honestly I walked away in tears, holding my sister’s hand.
That day will never leave my mind. Those moments will never leave my mind. I will never, ever forget what Taylor did for me yesterday and I am so thankful that she thought I was worthy enough to come spend five hours with her and a bunch of other fans. I will never comprehend that. I will never, ever understand.
I want to end this with reminding you all that I was the girl who had accepted the fact that I was never going to meet Taylor. I had decided that it wasn’t meant to be and I was just going to have to get over that. I’d spend nights crying in my room because I was so sad. I’d make posts about it that went on for HOURS about how I would never get to thank Taylor for all that she’s done for me.
But last night, I got to do all of those things. Nothing went unsaid and I am so happy I told her everything I wanted to.
Thank you again, taylorswift, for absolutely everything. I miss you already.
So here is basically what went down… On Wednesday, I got an email from Taylor Nation and on Thursday, they called me and it was a done deal. I live in Florida so my mom and I decided to drive to Nashville on Saturday. No one knew we were going there. Sunday comes around and it was the SLOWEST PASSING DAY IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. I just wanted it to be time to go. We got to the check in location and it was running a bit late so we didn’t get on the buses for an hour. I made so many amazing friends while waiting though and I’m so glad we got to share last night. There were 89 of us at the check in so we weren’t really sure how we were all going to fit into her apartment… Then her bodyguard told us that we were using someone’s home because they trust us and my mind immediately went to Taylor’s parents’ home. We pulled up to the house and it was crazy. All of us were in shock and didn’t know how to process anything. We went to the pool area and there was all kinds of different food. THE CHICKEN NUGGETS GAVE ME LIFE. We finished eating and then we waited to go into the house. We entered through this room that had a really old family photo and there was that photo of all of the Red Tour family including the crew. My friends and I managed to get seats in the front of the room. It was SO packed cause they had to fit 89 people into a living room, but we made it work. When Taylor came in everyone was screaming and my friends and I screamed “BECKY” and Taylor was like “Becky’s dead!! Let’s take a moment of silence.” She then said, “Hi Amanda!” so Amanda lost it. Taylor kept recognizing people in the crowd it was crazy. Taylor explained how she had been scouring social media for months and picking all of us to be there. There were lots of little conversations here and there, which were adorable. Taylor showed us her pegacorn phone case and also struggled with some technical difficulties. Taylor told us little stories of what inspired each song, which I am not allowed to talk about so please do not ask. The album is seriously AMAZING. It’s unlike anything she has ever done. It’s not bubblegum pop either. It’s really well produced and it has that Taylor feel to it. The lyrics are amazing in each song, while still being really catchy. Shake It Off is an amazing song and I love it, but the rest of the album is even better. Everyone is so unprepared. Taylor also played us one of the voice memos that will be on the Target deluxe edition and it’s so cool to kind of get a look into her mind. She told us to count how many times she said “whatever” and “like” in the voice memo and it was so funny. She then played us how the song ended up after being mixed and all of that and it’s definitely one of my favorites. I can’t even remember at what point, but we took an intermission where Taylor went to go get us snacks and she brought out Olivia. I got to hold Olivia and nearly died at how soft she is. When I saw Taylor had like four platters of different things she baked for us, I headed over there. She was talking to people and one guy took one of her chai cookies (the ones she posted on Instagram) and was like “THIS IS LIKE CHRISTMAS IN MY MOUTH” and she was like “THAT’S WHAT I WAS GOING FOR” and got really excited about it. I took a cookie and thanked her and headed over to talk to Liz and Teresa and we were all dying. Taylor made her way back to her chair and finished playing the rest of the album. Taylor was dancing and mouthing the words to every single song. She’s so proud of the album and it’s very clear why. After she finished playing the album we had a huge dance party to Shake It Off. It was crazy. The floor was shaking and the chandeliers were shaking too. My mom said her parents were looking at all of the lamps and lights like they were so afraid. After we had the dance party we all went back out to the pool area and were told to get into our group numbers. My friends and I got to talk to Scott while waiting to go back in to meet Taylor. Taylor had these really cool huge door mats that said “T.S. 1989” and we told him that they should sell them on the online store. He said he would tell them so if they appear on the store, then you’re welcome. Scott was so nice and we talked for a solid 10 minutes. Then it was time for the group before mine to go in and I was getting really nervous. When I finally got inside and I was the next person to meet Taylor I was like this isn’t real. I went up to her and hugged her and she was like “HEY MAN” I introduced myself and we just talked. She said that she loved my dress and wanted to say something during the listening session, but didn’t want to get off track. At one point she interrupted me and said, “I love your dimples and how they’re different from each other. I’ve never seen anything like that!! Have you ever noticed before?” It was so cute she was like obsessed with them. We talked for a bit more and I heard a woman say that we should take the picture so I asked Taylor if we could do the arm thing she does with a lot of her friends and she literally had no idea what I was talking about. So I showed her what I meant and she was like “That’s such a good idea!!” So we posed and she told me the photo would take 30 minutes to develop and we said bye. I walked away, but my mom told me she wanted me in her photo so I came back and I told Taylor that I loved how she was playing Ed and told her about our trip to Nashville two weeks ago and she was like “Isn’t he amazing?!” I then said, “Can I hold the Grammy?” And she was like “YES YOU SHOULD” and passed it to me. It was her Grammy for White Horse. I told her that it was the best night of my life and she yelled “YES” and did this cute thing. We got merch bags and soon enough we were back on the buses. It was the most magical night ever and I can’t thank Taylor and her team enough. I’m seriously so stoked for 1989. I’m so proud of you and I love you taylorswift.
I had the best day of my life, with you.
Now that I’ve gotten some composure.
I got the Twitter message at 10:48 AM on a stressful Thursday morning. I was rushing to get to campus to attend the semester annual career fair. It was a DM from Taylor Nation. My heart stopped. I knew exactly what it was for. I instantly replied with the information they asked for. I got a response rather quickly from Taylor Nation saying they’d be in touch soon. Little did I know just how soon.
At 4:29 PM came the call. I was watching my college’s marching band. A Tennessee number. I instantly knew who was calling because who would be calling me from an unknown Tennessee number? I answered with my heart in my mouth. “Would you like to attend a Taylor Swift event in Nashville, Tennessee this weekend?” umm YES. “Do you have a pen and paper so you can write down some information?” umm I sure do!
I didn’t. My backpack was across the parking lot under a tree as I had ended up walking away from the band because it was so loud. Can you hold on just one second while I run and grab a pen and paper? ”No problem! We’ll wait.” I literally sprinted through the parking lot and grabbed my bag and ran all the way to the bus stop. I ran like a freaking lunatic but when you’re on the phone with Taylor Nation you do whatever you can to do what they want you to do. Nearly completely out of breath I finally found words. Okay, I’m ready. As they told me an address to which I would be meeting them the coming Sunday. They gave me a password to remember in order for me to actually board the bus. As I answered their questions, I felt as though I was on speaker phone which made me think Taylor was in the same room during this phone call like looking at my Twitter profile and being like “Omg that is SO Garrett!”.
There was so many people I wanted to tell! But I couldn’t and that was the hardest secret I’ve ever had to keep. I immediately drove home and told my roommate we needed to go to Nashville this weekend. I couldn’t tell him much but he could tell it was something Taylor Swift related. We would set off the following day, Friday. As I began to pack my bag I was thinking to myself What would Taylor love to see me in? Because this is a gigantic decision. This is the first time she is ever going to see me! Friday finally arrived and I was besides myself and the event wasn’t for another two days! Literally could barely sleep on Saturday night, but somehow I managed. Sunday morning rose over the Nashville hills. FINALLY. I was terrified actually. I didn’t want to stumble over my feet or say something stupid, or worse not have anything to say at all.
As I rode up to the meeting place there was a line that seemed to continue into eternity. After an hour of standing through the line, signed confidentiality forms, and checked in my phone, it was time to load the bus. My legs were like Jell-O. Luckily I had made a few new friends who shared my terror and excitement. It wasn’t too long into the short drive that a few of Taylor’s team members informed us of how we were chosen. “Taylor has been following you guys on all forms of social media for six months.” SIX MONTHS. My heart exploded like an atomic bomb. Tears sprinkled my eyes. I was immediately embarrassed because for the past three months I had been tweeting obnoxiously about Big Brother. After the shock only sort of wore off, we were then informed that at the home we were actually at was Mama and Papa Swift’s home. I just about died in my seat. With shaking legs we walked around the the backyard where we were greeted with sushi, pizza, hamburgers, chicken and fruit. There were bottles of water and Sprite and Cokes (also Diet Cokes of course).
Taylor’s team went around and started taking pictures of groups of us while we were trying to befriend every Swiftie we saw. After talking with a few people, it became apparent to me that probably 80% of Swifties present had either met or seen Taylor in one or more concerts. Unlike myself.
It was time to move the party into the living room. By the time I, and my new friend Brandon, had reached the room, it was basically filled to capacity. One of Taylor’s team members called us up to the front of the room, which was directly beside the chair; I could only assume Taylor herself was going to sit in during the listening. How did Brandon and I get so lucky?? Just before I sat down, I saw a Grammy. A GRAMMY. It was her Grammy award from 2010 for “White Horse” for Best Country Song. I couldn’t believe it. Soon after, heels click clak-ed on the marble floor in the room outside the living room. She entered the room and an eruption of sound and tears filled the room. There she was. I couldn’t control myself and I started crying. I pushed those tears aside because she then explained how and why we were all summoned to her family home. Taylor told us she had been watching all 89 of us on social media for six months. I was kind of skeptical of this until one girl spoke up and asked, “Really?”. Taylor looked straight up, looked her dead in the face, called her by name and knew exactly what her Twitter profile picture looked like. Done. It was official. I have a stalker and her name is T-Swizzle. But yet I was still confused as to how I was invited because I have never seen her live, never met her, I don’t really post about her that much (unless she’s been looking at my tumblr), and I just felt like everything I posted was so irrelevant and boring. Then she dropped the bomb that we were all sitting in the same room where she wrote “I Knew You Were Trouble”. I quickly turned around and touched it. It felt like I had touched the robe of Jesus himself.
She played the first half of the album and explained how and why she ended up writing the songs that she wrote for the album. To hear those stories was something special just to understand firsthand how she goes about writing music is was just incredible to me because contrary to popular belief she doesn’t just write about herself. She’s not even the slightest bit self-involved like the media likes to perceive her as. At the intermission, she brought of two kinds of cookies (Chai Tea sugar cookies with cinnamon eggnog icing (“AKA Christmas in September”) and dark chocolate peppermint cookies) and rice crispy treats. AH-MAZING. The blogs were not joking when they talked about her baking abilities. It was during this time that she brought out adorable little Olivia Benson. People wondered where Meredith was and Taylor replied with “Oh she didn’t want to leave form under my bed in my apartment so she’s still in my apartment.”
The second half of the album was just as spectacular as the first half. And if it’s even possible, Taylor has truly out-done herself on this next album it’s a completely different sound and it’s unbelievable. As I grooved along to the songs Taylor kept making eye contact with me and I felt sparks all through my body. The camera guy that was filming all of the festivities was pointing the camera in the direction I was sitting so whatever footage they got, I was in it too! After the album listening was a “Shake It Off” dance party! The floor shook and I was almost certain the 89+ of us were going to break through the foundation of the house. According to Mama Swift, the house was built in the 1920s and when Mama suggested to Taylor that we should have the dance party on a sturdier floor, Taylor said “Aw! That’s no fun!” So, despite Mama Swift’s wishes, we stomped all over that floor. The awards above the fireplace mantle were sure to fall and break.
Next, it was time for meet and greets! We were separated into nine different groups. I was in the eighth group. As my group and I waited anxiously trying to come up with things to ask, I saw Mama Swift. I casually strolled up to the group around her and just listened to the current story she was telling about Taylor. My intention wasn’t to grab her attention or scream for a hug or any sort of attention. I just wanted to be in her presence, which was enough for me.
It was my group’s turn. Oh god. I still hadn’t thought of anything to say once I actually met Taylor. I was sort of a hot silent mess, jingling my legs and biting my nails. I’m sure the team could read the words “Nervous Loser” written across my forehead. I could feel the anticipation building with every step I took. I was 10 feet away from her when her iPod started playing “One” by Ed Sheeran. I was about to lose it. I started shaking and started to cry when someone from her team put her arm around me and patted my back. I somehow regained composure as I walked like a newborn deer towards her, still biting my nails. He graciously opened her arms. “Hi!” I meekly sputtered out a Hey. I still didn’t know what to talk to her about so I complimented her on the color of her toe nails because they were my favorite color of green, mint green. I told her it was my favorite color. She then told me she could see that it was as I had worn a lot of that color that night. I nervously laughed and because I was still wondering what got me to this sacred space, I blurted out, “How did I even get here? I feel like I’m just so boring.” More nervous laughter. Then she told me that I wasn’t boring at all which was surprising, I guess she does like my tweets, I hope they make her laugh. Then she asked me what I wanted to do for our picture and I told her I wanted to do her signature heart, but I didn’t want it to be lame or corny. She exclaimed, “No! It won’t be lame! We’ll each form a side of the heart!” So we did. It was a short second of everlasting bliss.
She’s one of the sweetest people I have ever met. I was so beyond nervous to meet her and she made it seem like I had known her my entire life. Her presence was so comforting and I really felt secure when I was around her.
Up until last night, my life was somewhat uneventful. Nothing interesting had happened to me. As I said, I had never been to a Taylor function ever before in my life, but to be in Taylor Swift’s home with her parents and experience a secret screening of her upcoming album was just an absolute dream. I felt so special. I truly felt like nothing like this would ever happen to me and the fact that I got handpicked by Taylor to be a part of this special event was something truly unbelievable. I met so many amazing people that made the night even more special. One of the things I wish I had told her was just how inspirational she was to me. I wish I had told her that apart from listening to her music almost every day, it is her music that keeps me pushing through my life. My life has been pretty difficult over the last decade and it’s her music and her philanthropy that gives me strength to keep fighting this tough battle known as life because sometimes it’s more than we can take. She’s an incredible person and an even better role model. I’m very blessed I was given this opportunity to fulfil a longtime dream of mine. I can only hope to see her again very soon. Hopefully on the 1989 tour! Again, a HUGE thank you to Taylor Nation (tswiftnation) and Taylor Swift (taylorswift) for making my dream a reality! I’ll remember that night for the rest of my life.
Glad you had a good time! (We are not the official Taylor Nation, though! :) )