In recent interviews, Big Machine Records CEO Scott Borchetta has come to the defense of his label’s biggest artist, Taylor Swift, over her recent less-than-stellar GRAMMY performance. Here are the things he’s said about Swift in an interview with Nashville’s The Tennessean newspaper:
“The biggest message is [the critics] are not getting it,” Borchetta said. “Because the facts say she is the undisputed best communicator that we’ve got. When she says something, when she sings something, when she feels something, it affects more people than anybody else.
“Maybe she’s not the best technical singer, but she’s probably the best emotional singer because everybody else who gets up there and is technically perfect, people don’t seem to want more of it. … I think [the critics] are missing the whole voice of a generation that is happening right in front of them. … She’s an extraordinary songwriter and her vocal performances are getting better. Everybody is not perfect on any given day. If you pick any of those artists that performed [on the Grammy Awards], I’m sure you can go online and find something where you go, ‘Ew.’ Maybe in that moment, we didn’t have the best night. But in the same breath, maybe we did. And nobody is arguing with the awards.
“The critics are missing the bigger picture. This is what always happens and is the unfortunate part of the American dream, that we build these people up to watch the critics tear them down. Well, you better have more than what you’ve got now if you think you’re going to get in the ring and fight with us. So, get in the ring.”
And as if those weren’t enough, Borchetta continued to defend Swift in later interviews by adding these comments:
“She is the voice of this generation. She speaks directly to [her fans], and they speak directly back to her,” Borchetta told the The Associated Press. “This is not American Idol. This is not a competition of getting up and seeing who can sing the highest note. This is about a true artist and writer and communicator. It’s not about that technically perfect performance.”
“So, she was concerned that she wasn’t able to hear everything in the mix,” Borchetta said. “That’s just part of live TV. … So you’re going to have difficulties on occasion. Unfortunately, on one of the biggest stages, we did have a technical issue. She couldn’t hear herself like she had in rehearsal.”
Mr. Borchetta is doing a lot of defending, which makes me wonder, is he going into panic mode over Taylor Swift? Is he trying to cover or make excuses for something we already knew?
It’s no secret to most country fans that Taylor Swift isn’t one of the most gifted vocalists and that her songs tend to deal with the same adolescent stories. I’m wondering if this is the first time her label has noticed since most of her live performances are nothing to brag about. For Borchetta to claim they had technical difficulties at a very bad time is a ridiculous excuse and maybe he should go back and listen to some of her performances (i.e. “Love Story” at the CMA’s, “Fifteen” at the CMA’s, “Always and Forever” on the CMA’s, etc.). The lame excuse for Swift’s horrible performance isn’t what I have a problem with.
The biggest issue I have is with Borchetta’s comments about American Idol and the artists that come off of the competition show. Isn’t it a little immature to bash other artists? Especially one that is just as, or even more, successful than Taylor herself (meaning Carrie Underwood)? To me, this is a direct blow to Carrie Underwood. Not only is Carrie a better vocalist than Swift, but she can write more meaningful songs that deal with more stories that people can relate to (has Scott listened to “Temporary Home” recently?). Something that Swift can’t seem to do seeing as she appeals to teenage girls. I feel that if you have to come out and bash other artists in order to defend your biggest money maker, you’re obviously thinking something isn’t going right.
So, that leads me back to the question I asked earlier, does Scott Borchetta think there’s something wrong with the juggernaut that is Taylor Swift? I’m thinking this may be the start of Swift’s fall from the top.