With the 2013 Billboard Music Awards rapidly approaching, we caught up with BBMA finalist and performer Taylor Swift to help recount the incredible high points, new discoveries and memorable moments that caught her ears during the past 12 months.
Swift is the only woman to have had two albums (2012's "Red" and 2010's "Speak Now") sell at least 1 million copies in a week. Her single "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" spent three weeks at No. 1 on the Hot 100. She is a finalist in 11 Billboard Music Awards categories including Top Artist, Top Billboard 200 Album (for "Red"), Top Female Artist and Top Hot 100 Artist.
Watch the 2013 Billboard Music Awards Sunday, May 19th at 8|7c on ABC live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas as host Tracy Morgan welcomes the biggest names in music to the stage.
Looking back on the past year, what was the highlight for you?
Taylor Swift: For me, the highlight of this year was that fans went out and bought more than a million copies of "Red" in its first week of release. That was such an unbelievable feeling, knowing that many people wanted to hear about the last two years of my life. When I put out an album, it’s like me releasing my version of events, the way I felt at my highest and lowest points. Sharing that with the world is a vulnerable position to put yourself in, and having it be so celebrated by my fans was almost an indescribable feeling of joy and relief and "Oh, good, they understand me."
What song really made an impact on you this year?
I’m obsessed with "Cruise" by Florida Georgia Line. It’s the catchiest thing I’ve heard in years, and I love the Nelly version too. They’re out on tour with us right now, so I get to hear it all the time. I’m also absolutely smitten with “I Love It” by Icona Pop. It’s the way reckless abandon sounds in my head. I play it right before I go onstage.
What new talent emerged or came into his or her own this year that blew you away?
Tegan & Sara have been around for years and I’ve always loved them, but I feel like they really stretched sonically on this new album, "Heartthrob." I was just so impressed by it, and there isn’t a song on it I don’t love. So I guess, in my mind, I categorize them as the new Tegan & Sara. To see artists evolve like that is so inspiring.
What to you was one of the biggest losses this year in music?
I think losing George Jones deeply saddened everyone in Nashville. His influence on country music and his legacy will last forever. On top of all of that, he was a very sweet man and I'm so sorry we've lost him. George Jones never stopped wanting to be onstage. He played live shows until the day he died, and that passion for performing is something I look up to.
What was your favorite music-related meme or viral video this year?
I like the app where you can make your own memes. I make memes all the time and send them to my friends. I also love basically any cat-related YouTube video. Yes, I’m that girl. And I thought the goat video for “I Knew You Were Trouble” was brilliant—I showed it to everyone on my tour.
Was there a surprising sound or music trend that pricked up your ears?
I love that ballads became huge hits this year and that unexpected songs and artists got lots of airplay. Ed Sheeran, the Lumineers and fun. are some of my favorites right now, and they’ve all had big hits with songs that have substance and real instruments. I like it!
What music trend hurts your ears?
I don’t like to feel like I’m in a club when I’m in my car and I turn on the radio. Anything that ceases to be a song and just sounds like house music kind of stresses me out.