The Netflix documentary Taylor Swift: Miss Americana had unprecedented access to the recording artist. Not only did director Lana Wilson film Taylor Swift in her studio writing and recording her Reputation album, but she also spent time with Swift at home alone and with her family. Swift gets personal and a lot of it is in the film.
Allowing Miss Americana into her studio was a big step for Swift. She’s always had a no cameras allowed policy when she’s working. At the Sundance Film Festival Q&A for Taylor Swift: Miss Americana, Swift and Wilson explained what changed the singer’s mind. Miss Americana premieres Jan. 31 on Netflix.
Why Taylor Swift never wanted cameras in her studio before
The artistic process can be very personal, but Taylor Swift’s music was always personal so that wasn’t the reason. It was more the inside baseball of music. Swift feared that the fragments of her craft and the technical aspects wouldn’t make sense to people outside her industry.
“There’s so much ridiculous addling you do when you write songs,” Swift said. “So much of it sounds ridiculous until it sounds all right.”
Taylor Swift also feared performance anxiety
Taylor Swift has no problem getting on stage every night and performing for thousands. Those are songs she’s already written though. During the writing process, Swift was worried her creativity wouldn’t flow on cue.
“A lot of that time, I just always refused to have any cameras in the studio when I’m writing because I just feel like what if I can’t do it?” Swift said. “And then wasted a day and then I’ve wasted another creator’s time. I wasted the producer’s time or wasted the cowriter’s time and I can’t write if somebody’s there.”
‘Miss Americana’ makes the songwriting process clear
Thanks to Taylor Swift’s openness, Miss Americana now stands as a document of her creative process. Lana Wilson commended Swift for allowing her to showcase it.
“For me, my favorite parts were probably filming in the studio, getting to see your creative process,” Wilson said. “It’s a really intimate space and I know no one filmed you in the studio before. So that was probably my favorite thing that we filmed.”
Wilson also commended Swift on her personal interviews in Miss Americana.
“Similarly, the interviews, when we first met, you hadn’t done press I think for almost three years,” Wilson said. “So I remember it was a big deal to do that first interview. And I think that we just had a really easy rapport and talked a long time about anything. It was just exciting that things actually really shifted in your life during the period of time that we were filming.”
‘Miss Americana’ proved to Taylor Swift she could do this
The main reason Taylor Swift forbade cameras in her studio before was because she thought it would prevent her from writing.
“Having someone in the studio when I’m writing is something I’ve never done before because I didn’t want to know if it would stop me from feeling like I could come up with ideas and feeling like I could throw things out,” Swift said.
Reputation came out before Miss Americana was finished, so Taylor Swift learned she could write an album with a documentary crew there the whole time.
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