When the news broke that Taylor Swift would be featured on an upcoming episode of VH1’s “Storytellers,” it seemed like a no-brainer. Swift’s leave-it-all-onstage style as a performer is a perfect fit for the shows up-close-and-personal feel.
And judging by the reaction to the taping of her episode this week, which took place in front of 2,500 fans/students at Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, California, Swift’s storytelling is as engaging as her live performances.
Although a lot of Swift’s emotions and experiences come through in her songwriting, she was just as excited to tell them in full to a captive audience.
“I’m excited about telling the beginnings of stories, like the story of this song called ‘Ours,’ where I wrote it about this guy nobody thought I should be with,” Swift told VH1 News just before the taping. “So I wrote this song specifically just to play it for him, just to show him, ‘I don’t care what anyone says. I don’t care that you have tattoos. I don’t care that you have a gap between your teeth. I love you for who you are.’ And that song ended up actually making it on a record [Speak Now] and becoming a #1 song. And then you take me being mad at my parents because they didn’t want me to date this dude when I was 17, and I threw a fit and ran to my room and wrote a song on my bedroom floor called ‘Love Story.’ So that turned into something that I never expected to be our first #1 worldwide hit.
“Songs happen in really weird, strange, quirky ways, and to explore the start of them, where they were first brought into the world, where you first got that first little idea, it’s wonderful to get to share that with a crowd of 3,000 people,” Swift added.
And those few thousand people thought Swift was wonderful, according to VH1 News’ Kate Spencer, who was lucky enough to be present for the taping.
“It was very sweet,” Spencer told MTV News. “These students won a contest to bring her to Harvey Mudd, which is an engineering and science school full of really smart, scholarly students. They were really proud of bringing her to the school,” she explained. “There was a real appreciative vibe, and she was aware of that. And the students … were genuinely into it. When I was in college, if there had been a concert, people would have partied beforehand. These students were there to listen to her music, and she really responded to it.”
Spencer said one of the performance highlights was the debut single from Swift’s upcoming album, Red, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.” Swift politely request that the crowd sing on the chorus.
“At the end, she explained that she had a nerdy daydream that everyone would sing the ‘we-eee’ part of the song with her,” Spencer said. “It was really cute. Everyone got really into it.”