“This is the proudest and happiest I’ve ever felt”: Taylor Swift is named Time’s Person of the Year

Taylor Swift Eras Tour guitar
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Taylor Swift has capped a phenomenal 2023 by being named Time magazine’s Person of the Year. This is the first time that anyone has won the prestigious award for their “success in the arts”.

Time’s annual award goes to the person “who most shaped the headlines over the previous 12 months, for better or for worse”. Recent recipients have included Volodymyr Zelensky, Elon Musk, Kamala Harris, Joe Biden, Greta Thunberg, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin.

This puts Swift in some seriously famous/infamous company. We’ll leave you to judge which of the aforementioned headline-makers have impacted the world positively or negatively, but you’d have to be pretty churlish not to accept that Swift has brought a lot of joy to a lot of people this year.

Explaining Time’s decision, Sam Jacobs, the magazine’s Editor-in-Chief, wrote: “Every year contains light and dark; 2023 was a year with significant shares of darkness. In a divided world, where too many institutions are failing, Taylor Swift found a way to transcend borders and be a source of light. No one else on the planet today can move so many people so well.” 

Swift’s monumental success this year is well documented: there were two re-recorded ‘Taylor’s Version’ albums (Speak Now and 1989) and the ongoing Eras tour, which broke records wherever it went. That also became a movie, scoring Swift a big hit at the box office.

Asked to reflect on her achievements this year, Swift told Time that “It feels like the breakthrough moment of my career, happening at 33.” Later in the interview, she adds: “This is the proudest and happiest I’ve ever felt, and the most creatively fulfilled and free I’ve ever been. Ultimately, we can convolute it all we want, or try to overcomplicate it, but there’s only one question: [adopts a booming voice] Are you not entertained?”

Other tidbits from the interview include the revelation that Swift trained for six months before the start of the Eras tour and stopped drinking because “Doing that show with a hangover - I don’t want to know that world.” Oh, and she has a framed note from Paul McCartney hanging in her bathroom that reads “Take these broken wings and learn to fly,” a key lyric from The Beatles’ Blackbird.

Swift compares her epic album re-recording project, meanwhile, to a fantasy epic :“I’m collecting horcruxes. I’m collecting infinity stones. Gandalf’s voice is in my head every time I put out a new one. For me, it is a movie now.” 

You can read the full interview on the Time website.

Ben Rogerson

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it.