Some people will never forget where they were when they found out Joe Biden became the president-elect and Kamala Harris the vp-elect on Nov. 7. For Taylor Swift, it was while she was directing a video shoot when she got the notification on her phone.
Swift recalled the “moment of quiet, cautious elation and relief” that day in her Entertainers of the Year cover story for Entertainment Weekly. After realizing on the set of the EW cover shoot on Election Day (Nov. 3) that no clear winner would be declared, she waited it out like the rest of us. Then four long days later, while standing next to her director of photography Rodrigo Prieto, Swift received a news alert that would change the course of history: “Biden is our next president. He’s won the election.”
“And I showed it to Rodrigo and he said, ‘I’m always going to remember the moment that we learned this.’ And I looked around, and people’s face shields were starting to fog up because a lot of people were really misty-eyed and emotional, and it was not loud,” she remembered during her cover story interview. “It wasn’t popping bottles of champagne. It was this moment of quiet, cautious elation and relief.”
The same relief can’t be said about her Nashville home, where she’s seen the city’s residents neglect COVID-19 protocols. While the superstar vigilantly wears face masks and shields on set, Nashville police have been arresting and citing bar hoppers on Lower Broadway for failing to comply with mask mandates.
“I mean, you just immediately think of the health workers who are putting their lives on the line — and oftentimes losing their lives,” Swift responds when asked about the mask-less citizens going out during the pandemic. “If they make it out of this, if they see the other side of it, there’s going to be a lot of trauma that comes with that; there’s going to be things that they witnessed that they will never be able to un-see.”
She draws the comparison between the traumatic and deadly battles brought on by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to her grandfather Dean’s experiences in World War II in the verses of her Folklore track “Epiphany.”
“I did a lot of research on my grandfather in the beginning of quarantine, and it hit me very quickly that we’ve got a version of that trauma happening right now in our hospitals,” the singer adds. “God, you hope people would respect it and would understand that going out for a night isn’t worth the ripple effect that it causes. But obviously we’re seeing that a lot of people don’t seem to have their eyes open to that — or if they do, a lot of people don’t care, which is upsetting.”