Taylor Swift was presented with the Nashville Songwriters Association International’s (NSAI) Songwriter-Artist of the Decade Award at a ceremony on Tuesday night, September 20.
The 32-year-old singer took to the Nashville Songwriter Awards stage at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville to accept the accolade, becoming the first female musician to receive the gong, and delivered a 13-minute acceptance speech.
Taylor – who has won the NSAI Songwriter of the Year prize seven times from 2007 to 2015 – told the crowd: “I’m up here receiving this beautiful award for a decade of work, and I can’t possibly explain how nice that feels.”
“Because the way I see it, this is an award that celebrates a culmination of moments. Challenges. Gauntlets laid down. Albums I’m proud of. Triumphs. Strokes of luck or misfortune. Loud, embarrassing errors and the subsequent recovery from those mistakes, and the lessons learned from all of it.”
She concluded: “This award celebrates my family and my co-writers and my team. My friends and my fiercest fans and my harshest detractors and everyone who entered my life or left it. Because when it comes to my songwriting and my life, they are one in the same.”
The ‘Love Story’ hitmaker also revealed for the first time that she breaks her lyrics down into genre categories, “quill”, “fountain pen” and “glitter gel”.
She said: “I’ve never talked about this publicly before, because, well, it’s dorky. But I also have, in my mind, secretly, established genres categories for lyrics I write. Three of them, to be exact. They are affectionately titled Quill Lyrics, Fountain Pen Lyrics, and Glitter Gel Pen Lyrics.
“I know this sounds confusing but I’ll try to explain. I came up with these categories based on what writing tool I imagine having in my hand when I scribbled it down, figuratively. I don’t actually have a quill. Anymore. I broke it once when I was mad.
“I categorize certain songs of mine in the ‘Quill’ style if the words and phrasings are antiquated, if I was inspired to write it after reading Charlotte Brontë or after watching a movie where everyone is wearing poet shirts and corsets. If my lyrics sound like a letter written by Emily Dickinson’s great grandmother while sewing a lace curtain, that’s me writing in the Quill genre.”
The star concluded her speech by admitting being honored by the NSAI “means more than any genre of my lyrics could ever say”.
She then performed a 10-minute version of her hit song “All Too Well” at the ceremony, where the likes of Kelsea Ballerini, Little Big Town and Luke Combs all took to the stage.