It's not unusual for awards contenders to profess shock at being nominated, but Taylor Swift really means it. The country singer, who's going up against the likes of Miley Cyrus and Katy Perry for Best New Artist at the MTV Video Music Awards, never imagined that she'd cross over into the pop world, let alone get a shot at a Moonman.
But that's exactly what's happened to Swift, thanks to a little change to her VMA-nominated song "Teardrops on My Guitar." "The single came out on country and got on the top of the charts," she explained. "We put a beat behind it and turned it into a song that they would play on pop radio. For me, it was a no-brainer."
Still, the 18-year-old singer was surprised by the song's success. "I didn't think it was possible," she said, recalling her reaction to the nomination. "I was so shocked. I started screaming, 'I get to go to the VMAs!' I didn't think I'd get to go to the VMAs. I'm not that cool. As a country artist, I've been pretty unapologetic about it. [But] it's cool to be included."
The "Teardrops" video takes place in a high school, where Swift pines for her love interest, played by musician Tyler Hilton. Though there was talk of a more mature video treatment — after all, Taylor isn't in high school anymore — the singer wanted to set it in a high school to retain the integrity of the song.
"We came up with the idea because basically what you see in the video is what the song is about," she said. "We thought maybe we'd make it a more city video, but we got back to basics. I wanted to make a video about what the song was about."
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Swift's newfound fame has brought tons of tabloid speculation about her private life. The latest gossip is that Swift is dating Joe Jonas. But when probed, she would neither confirm nor deny the news. "For me, in dealing with things that people write, I try not to let it affect my life," she said. "He's an amazing guy, and anyone would be lucky to be dating him."
However, Jonas and Swift were seen leaving New York hotspot Tao last week.
Although Swift remained coy about her relationship status with the Jonas Brother, there's one guy she definitely won't be taking to the VMAs: Drew, the inspiration behind the song.
"He showed up in my driveway this Christmas, and it was awkward because it was three years after I wrote the song," she said. "He was like, 'Hey.' It was definitely weird. I was going to a hockey game with my friends, and it was the most drama you could have when you have to go pick up your friends.
"I got over it," she added. "I wrote the song. It's a venting process."
Lucky for her, venting produced remarkable results. "To have the ability to stay true to myself and to be played on MTV and on pop radio is something I never thought that I would get to do," Swift said.