Taylor Swift Is More

As some of you know, before I started writing and editing full time, I spent 20 years as a music publicist. Over that time, I had the chance to work with hundreds of (usually) amazing artists, from newcomers to living legends to contemporary superstars. Often, people ask me which artist was my favorite to work with, and I never hesitate to tell them that it was Taylor Swift. The next question is usually a variation of, “Is she really as wonderful as she seems?” The answer is, “More.” I’ve had the good fortune to work with Taylor numerous times over the last decade, and I’d like to share two stories that illustrate her grace, class, empathy and intelligence.

On one occasion, Taylor was doing an interview with Matt Lauer in the gallery at a popular Nashville museum. Behind a stanchioned-off area, a large group of lucky museum visitors had gathered to watch. I knew from past experiences that Taylor usually spent time with fans at such events. However, on this date, she was on a very tight schedule and due to fly to London immediately after the interview. When Taylor finished with Matt, several members of her team hurried her to the elevator and out of the gallery, bypassing the fans. I remained with Matt and his crew, and remarked that I was surprised her companions  were able to get her to leave without a visit to those fans. No sooner had I uttered those words–a total of perhaps 60 seconds since Taylor’s departure–than the elevator doors opened again and Taylor stepped out. She immediately went over to the fans and spent time with them, tirelessly hugging and posing for selfies, before she departed. This tells you two things about Taylor: 1) While she may have a great management staff working with her, she makes the decisions; and 2) She never turns down a chance to make people happy, to make their day brighter. Honestly, I felt ebullient myself just watching how much joy she brought to those lucky museum visitors.

Taylor performs at Bridgestone Arena on Sept. 25, 2015. (Photo: Tina Wright)

On another occasion, Taylor was again at the museum, this time for an interview with ABC. While the crew was setting up, I had the chance to hang out with her one-on-one. We mostly shared girl talk–comparing notes on fashion, among other things. She was extremely complimentary about my style and what I wore–this from someone who is one of the world’s best-dressed women. She complimented my PR work, hugged me, and laughed and chatted with me as though I were a member of her #squad instead of just a casual colleague. Though there were other industry and media folks around, not once did she look over my shoulder. When we were talking, she was wholly PRESENT, and made me feel like there was no place she’d rather be than with me. This is the gift of people who are truly charismatic: They don’t drone on and on about themselves, no matter how accomplished they are. Rather, they make everyone with whom they come into contact feel special. Taylor has this ability in spades.

In two decades in the music industry, I have had hundreds–maybe even thousands–of unforgettable experiences. But none of them mean more than the times I was able to work with Taylor, talk to Taylor, watch her perform or interact with her fans. She has a quick mind and an amazing array of talents, but it is her generous nature that I love most. So yes, she really is as wonderful as she seems. More.

Sexy Times, Sexy Tunes

Welcome to my blog! Since I’ve recently transitioned from the music industry to writing romance novels, I thought I’d kick things off with a post about my favorite romantic CDs. First, a brief housekeeping note: This blog will be intermittent until my novel’s (tbd) release date nears and then will be updated regularly. Now, with no further ado (and in no particular order), here are my favorite romantic records:

* Dierks Bentley/RISER. Dierks’ voice could probably induce swoons singing the national anthem, and it’s used to full effect here on songs like “Say You Do,” “Five” and the title song (sample lyric: “I’m gonna get down low so I can lift you higher”).

* Meiko/THE BRIGHT SIDE. I’m not sure anyone has captured all of the emotions of falling in love on one CD better than Meiko does on this record. From joyous songs like “Stuck on You” and “I’m in Love” to the sultry “When the Doors Close,” and even during a detour through love gone wrong (“Good Looking Loser”), this one is a winner from start to finish.

* Cee Lo Green/THE LADY KILLER. You wouldn’t necessarily expect the CD that includes the “stick-it-to-em” anthem “F*ck You” to also include a slew of romantic songs but, if you love the rich tradition of seductive R&B, I highly recommend THE LADY KILLER. I think every tune on this disc is a home run, but I particularly love the overt sexuality of “Satisfied” (“The least I can do is try…I want you to be satisfied”), the swoony “Old Fashioned” and the passionate plea of “No One’s Gonna Love You.”
* Roxy Music/AVALON. Hands down, this is my desert island disc. It’s ethereal. Dreamy. Awash in longing and desire. The song titles say it all: “More Than This,” “While My Heart Is Still Beating,” “To Turn You On” and my personal favorite, “Take a Chance with Me.”
What’s your go-to romantic CD? I’d love to know.