Taylor Swift is a Master Storyteller & this is how she Inspired me to be One
Learn to be a Storyteller from Taylor Swift
I have grown up listening to Taylor Swift songs. I was 13 years old when I heard ‘Love Story’ for the first time and fell in love with Taylor Swift’s rendition of Romeo and Juliet’s love story.
And from then on, it was a long list of Taylor Swift songs me and my girlfriends would sing along to. I remember the obsession being at its highest when my friend bought a CD of her 4th album, ‘Speak Now’ and I gushed as I made a copy of it and listened to every song on the album.
But after that phase, I never could call myself a fan of Taylor Swift. I wasn’t particularly interested in her music, but as it turns out, it was everywhere to be heard. Even though I was no more a fan, I still secretly admired her work. Secretly because being a grown-up required you to have a more grown-up taste, which apparently did not include Taylor Swift’s rant of her long list of Break-ups.
I think what I and millions of others like about her music is that it seems simple, relatable and yet is a complex web of clues for you to decipher and arrive at the end of the story she’s telling. I like her music because her love songs make me want to fall in love, her break-up songs make me reminisce over a relationship I’ve never had and her revenge songs, well, they just make me feel like an HBIC (Head B*tch in charge).
Even though she’s a great singer, I’ve always admired her more as a songwriter and her album, ‘Folklore’ is a testament to that. Each song is written with such beauty and grace that the message hits home. And, just when we thought that 2020 marked the beginning and the end of another era for her, she dropped her 9th album ‘Evermore’. Evermore is Folklore’s sister album, which means the stories webbed in Folklore will continue to engulf their audience even now.
Taylor Swift is a writer and a songwriter and a good one at that, but more importantly, she’s a storyteller. She’s probably the best storyteller in today’s times, including writers, singers, musicians, actors, directors and illustrators. Why, you say?
Well, everyone is aware of Taylor Swift dropping clues in her songs, music videos and social media handles to keep her fans guessing. Does that bind her audience to her art? Yes, but that’s a part of the process. Just like every other aspect of her song is a part of her storytelling journey.
Well thought out and meaningful lyrics tie their strings around the heart
Songs like ‘All too Well’ and ‘Cardigan’ showcase her ability to use metaphors to convey the emotion to the listener. Words have the power to bring things to life. Sometimes, when we say whatever is in our mind out loud, it doesn’t hold much weight because the mouth spits out whatever it is asked to. However, your hands do not write anything they’re asked to. That’s what makes the written word special, not every word can be transferred to that format and those that make the cut, seem like an arrow to the heart.
The mood of the song dictates the style and melody
A country singer turned pop artist, Taylor Swift takes a lot of care when it comes to deciding on the melody and the genre of the song. This is a great strategy on her part that the lyrics, the tone and the choice of instruments all sit together well.
We’ve been on a journey with her ever since she came out with her first single
You can see how vested she is in making her audience experience what she’s feeling at that moment. She’s honest and vulnerable in her craft and makes sure that people who listen to her music, not just live through her experiences, but become a part of that experience. This is what a great storyteller does, they lure you in, keep you hooked and make you feel as if you’re in a different world, devoid of anything except that moment right there.
Finally, to bring her story to life, she uses aesthetically profound music videos to give her art a tangible effect
Music videos have the power to make you like a song even if its melody isn’t strong enough to carry itself through to your heart. Visuals when attached to a song, bring forth the creator’s idea of what the song and the melody would look like when personified. Taylor Swift’s music videos are often a representation of what her imagination looked like when she was writing that song. Her recent song, Willow from her latest album, ‘Evermore’ has an aesthetically pleasing video. In tandem with her song Cardigan from Folklore, Willow’s music video also depicts the personification of stepping into another world and following where the adventure takes you.
Because I’m so moved by her work each time, I think she’s one of the main reasons I’ve wanted to be a storyteller and not a writer. It’s that mysterious and mystical quality that comes with being a storyteller that makes me want to put on that magic cloak. A writer might be able to tell you how to live your life better but a storyteller will let you in on the journey of life and help you find out how you want to live your life. A writer makes a reader happy and satisfied once the reader has read their work and liked it. A storyteller makes his/her reader beg for the story to continue. Storytellers entrance their audience and bind them in a cocoon made of warmth, intrigue and hope.