Taylor Swift brought out a little daylight on a dreary New York City day.
Hours after Lover‘s release, Swift performed a small, acoustic set of songs from the album for a SiriusXM Town Hall.
Surrounded by a group of Swifties, the singer began with “The Archer,” added her guitar for “You Need to Calm Down” and then went to the piano to play “Daylight” — the final track off of her seventh studio album — for the first time in front of an audience.
During the question and answer portion of the event, spaced between her performances, Swift imparted words of wisdom she wished she had known when she was younger.
“I treated life like it was a report card, like I was being graded on every single moment of every single day. And if I got less than an A minus, I pretty much felt completely worthless. I still struggle with that every day. But what I would say is that life is not a report card. You’re not being graded on this moment to moment,” she said. “Go easy on yourselves, kids. Be kind to yourselves.”
Asked what she would tell children growing up in the world today, Swift admitted it’s harder now than it was when she was a child.
“I think kids now are facing such harder circumstances. The fact that the isolation and that rejection hits in real time, I can’t begin to give you advice. All I can do is empathize and say ‘I see you, I see your struggles, I see how hard that is. It’s harder than what I had to go through, so hang in there, I have no idea how you’re doing it,'” she explained.
“Also, you don’t need to look like a filter. You’re great,” Swift added.
Taylor revealed that the hardest song to write was “Soon You’ll Get Better” featuring the Dixie Chicks.
“That’s a song I don’t know if I’ll ever play it live. It’s just really difficult for me. It was hard to write. It’s hard to sing. It’s hard to listen to for me. But sometimes, music is like that. Sometimes it’s not just about stuff that was pleasant to feel.”
On the other hand, she said the easiest songs were the ones she wrote herself — “Cornelia Street,” “Lover” and “Daylight.”
“I love to collaborate and I love to co-write,” she said. “You know which songs would be great to bring to these amazing collaborators. I’m so lucky to get to work with these people. When I’m writing a song and I think I’m going to stop it and bring it to a co-writer and I can’t, that’s when I end up finishing it myself, so that’s usually because the inspiration is so weirdly, effortlessly potent that I have to finish the song.”
Her favorite lyric off of her new songs comes from “Death By a Thousand Cuts” — “Our songs, our films, united we stand/Our country, guess it was a lawless land/Quiet my fears with the touch of your hand/Paper cut stains from our paper-thin plans.”
As for Lover on the whole, she admitted it might be her favorite album. “It’s been a real joy. I really think it’s my favorite. I love this album so much, and I’m so happy you love it too. It’s been a really good couple of days. I’m really having a great time.”