Taylor Swift Shares Her Three Biggest Influences Right Now

Taylor Swift may be one of TIME’s 100 most influential people in the world — but the singer-songwriter herself also has plenty to say about what influences her. In an exclusive video for TIME, Swift explained three things that shape the way she thinks, from a social network that she adores to the iconic rock star she admires and the animals who bring her joy.

First up in her influences: the social media platform Tumblr. “I go on Tumblr and it’s like a window into what my fans are going through,” Swift says. “They post about what they think is cool, what they think is unjust or problematic.” Swift has long been known by her followers to hang around on Tumblr; eagle-eyed fans notice everything she likes on the platform and interpret her activity as hints about her work. But this pronouncement confirms it.

Next is a rock star who is also a role model to her. “I look at Paul McCartney and I see how he’s had just this amazing career—he’s created unparalleled art,” Swift says of the former Beatle, who just released his latest album, Egypt Station, last year at age 76. “He’s always been known to be kind to people, respectful and also really selfless as a performer.”

Finally, anyone who’s followed Swift more than casually will know that she’s a feline fanatic. “I have cats. I’m obsessed with them. I love my cats so much that when a role came up in a movie called Cats, I just thought, like, I gotta do this,” she says of her decision to join the cast of the upcoming live-action film adaptation of the classic play. “Like, this is my calling in life to do this—for the ladies.” (On set, there was even a “cats school” to help actors get in animal character.) As for what she appreciates about cats? “They’re very dignified. They’re independent. They’re very capable of dealing with their own life.” Sounds like the kind of influence we can all look up to.

Swift is expected to release a new project on Friday, after teasing a new era on social media for the past few months.


Entertainment – TIME

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Breaking Down the Influences and Themes of Solange’s New Album When I Get Home

Early on Friday morning, Solange Knowles released her fourth studio album, When I Get Home. The 19-track album, which the singer and performance artist teased with a mysterious social media roll-out throughout the week, features star-studded collaborations, references to her hometown of Houston, Texas, interludes from feminist writers and production from her teenage son, Julez.

The project, a follow-up to her critically acclaimed 2016 album, A Seat at the Table, plays like a love letter to the rich culture of the black diaspora, looking to both the past and the future for inspiration. This is most apparent in the incredible range of artists she works with, who range from respected industry veterans like Raphael Saadiq and Pharrell Williams to forward-thinking stars of the moment like Standing on the Corner, Earl Sweatshirt and Playboi Carti. But make no mistake about it — this is Solange’s show, from concept to production.

Here’s everything you need to know about Solange’s When I Get Home album.

When I Get Home pays homage to Solange’s Texas roots.

It’s not just the title of Solange’s new album that honors her Houston, Texas, roots. Texan influence is felt throughout the album, from the tracklist (which references different parts of Houston, including a freeway exit) to the samples (which include a clip of famous Houston natives and siblings Debbie Allen and Phylicia Rashad). Likewise, the lyrics also demonstrate’s Solange’s deep love for Houston; in the song “On the Way to the Show,” Solange sings about candy paint, a type of car finish associated with the flashy slab scene (slabs being “slow, loud and bangin’” cars customized to the max), which started with the black community in Houston.

The message that Texas is home is especially felt when Solange touches on the personal. An interlude on the album is credited to her son Julez, while a pre-release Instagram post shouted out Houston rapper and early collaborator Mike Jones, with a caption that referenced Jones’ predilection for handing out shirts with his cell phone number on the back.

Solange is also planning to host several “album experience” events with her creative agency Saint Heron in Houston on Sunday.

The album had a highly strategic rollout.

While Solange’s fans had been eagerly anticipating a new project since last fall, when she announced that she was putting finishing touches on an album, the singer kept most of the details under wraps until the week of its release. Earlier in the week, Solange created a website via the early-aughts social-media platform and black online community Black Planet, where she debuted media, images and cryptic quotes about the project and teased the possibility of new music. The website gave visual clues that Solange’s project might honor her Houston roots with images of black cowboys and cowgirls, rodeos and Solange herself wearing cowboy boots, along with text that read: “I made the pilgrimage back to the pagoda of third ward houston to answer this.”

However, eagle-eyed Solange fans will recognize that the singer left clues about the album on social media in the two years leading to the release of When I Get Home. In 2017, Solange took selfies with the Wopsters Gucci Mane and his wife Keyshia Ka’oir; Gucci features prominently on the album’s track, “My Skin My Logo.”

Likewise, Solange carried a bottle of Florida water in a bejweled net bag to the 2018 Met Gala and wrote about using the spiritual substance to feel “renewed” in an article in Dazed the same year. On the new album’s interlude “Nothing Without Intention,” she samples spiritualist Goddess Lula Belle’s “Florida Water For Cleansing and Clearing.”

The album expands on the disparate sound of A Seat at the Table.

Like A Seat at the Table, Solange’s new album draws from music across the black diaspora. In October, she discussed the sound of the record with T magazine: “There is a lot of jazz at the core,” she wrote in an email. “But with electronic and hip-hop drum and bass because I want it to bang and make your trunk rattle.”

The lush keyboard chords on ballads like “Time (is)” and “Dreams” are indebted to jazz, with the latter featuring production from the jazz drummer Jamire Williams. There are Moog keyboards and springy, ambling basslines reminiscent of ’70s soul. Solange layers her voice and others in cascades of harmony and also employs trap cadences on more upbeat songs. On “Almeda” and “My Skin My Logo,” she recruits the rappers Playboi Carti and Gucci Mane, respectively, who deliver blithe verses.

The collaborations include marquee names but mostly come from the hip-hop avant-garde.

The credits are packed with prominent names, from Pharrell to Raphael Saadiq to Dev Hynes — who produced her 2012 EP True. But one of the album’s most frequent collaborators is Standing on the Corner, a Brooklyn-based collective with freewheeling, avant-garde impulses. Their most recent release, Red Burns, consists of two 30-minute “sides” that pull together jazz, soul, hip-hop, poetry and mock radio broadcasts. They have closely collaborated with the rapper Earl Sweatshirt, who revels in murky, anti-grid production and also produced the outro on “Dreams.”

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U KNOW WTF GOIN ON

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Odd Future, the Los Angeles hip-hop collective known for their grisly sense of humor, transgressive aesthetic choices and strong communal spirit, has a strong presence on When I Get Home. Sweatshirt is a member, as is Tyler the Creator, who appears in dense murmurs and ad-libs on “Time (is) and “My Skin My Logo.” Steve Lacy, the guitarist for the exploratory funk band The Internet — which is led by Odd Future member Syd contributed to three songs. And three tracks feature production from Chassol, a French composer who is also credited on Blonde, the revelatory album by Odd Future member Frank Ocean.

The lyrics deal with strong feminist themes and a celebration of blackness.

A Seat at the Table was hailed as an ode to the strength and beauty of black women’s experiences, and When I Get Home appears to continue in this vein. Drawing on a nuanced, multi-dimensional view of black womanhood, Solange’s samples might speak as loudly as her lyrics when it comes to parsing out desire and love free from restraint, fear or respectability politics: A clip from Alexyss K Tylor, a viral sex expert known for irreverent show Vagina Power, flanks an earnest poem from the late Pat Parker, a lesbian feminist poet and activist. Both are homages to black women who live and love on their terms.

In an equally candid manner, Solange also celebrates her blackness, lacing her lyrics with references to both black struggle and black excellence. “Dollars never show up on CP time / I just wanna wake up on CP time,” she sings on “Binz,” referencing a stereotype about African Americans and lateness. On “Almeda,” she celebrates black and brown things (“Brown leaves, brown keys/ Brown zippers, brown face/ Black skin, black braids / Black waves, black days,”) in a flow reminiscent of the ones used in both A$ AP Mob’s “Black Card” and Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “Who Gon Stop Me.”


Entertainment – TIME

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Lifetime peer influences, and parenting, predict adult coercive relationships

Researchers have found peer socialization and disruptive parenting were strong predictors of whether adults age 28-30 years were in a coercive romantic relationship. The 230 study participants were followed starting at age 11, and those who engaged in deviancy training at age 16-17 were more likely to end up in unhealthy relationships as adults.
Teen Health News — ScienceDaily

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Five out of five? Study reveals psychological influences in online reviews

A new study reveals how psychological factors affect the ratings people provide and how they describe their experiences when posting online reviews. Researchers found the length of time between product or service consumption and posting affects the review given.
Consumer Behavior News — ScienceDaily

PARENTAL UPDATE:

Ariana Grande Urges People To Vote After Taylor Swift’s Political Message Influences Many To Register!

After Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande is the next superstar to encourage her fans to go vote in the midterm elections! While Taylor’s post was long and detailed, as it was her very first politically-charged message, Ariana’s was simple and straight to the point. She captioned a pic of her ballot envelope: ‘vote, f***ers.’

But considering that she said ‘bye bye to the internet for just a lil bit’ only a few days ago and still reminded her followers to vote, makes it worth noting!

Meanwhile, Ariana has been leaning on her loved ones since she and Pete Davidson broke their engagement.

Her social media silence was more like a way to only post about things that really matter to her for a while.

As for Taylor Swift, her lengthy post came as a huge surprise as she had managed to stay away from politics before then.

She wrote: ‘In the past I have been reluctant to voice my political opinions, but due to some events in my life and in the world in the last two years, I feel really differently about that now.’

Taylor went on to say that ‘I believe in the fight for the LGBTQ rights, and any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or on gender is WRONG. I believe the systemic racism we still see in this country towards people of color’s terrifying, sickening and prevalent.’

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I’m writing this post about the upcoming midterm elections on November 6th, in which I’ll be voting in the state of Tennessee. In the past I’ve been reluctant to publicly voice my political opinions, but due to several events in my life and in the world in the past two years, I feel very differently about that now. I always have and always will cast my vote based on which candidate will protect and fight for the human rights I believe we all deserve in this country. I believe in the fight for LGBTQ rights, and that any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender is WRONG. I believe that the systemic racism we still see in this country towards people of color is terrifying, sickening and prevalent. I cannot vote for someone who will not be willing to fight for dignity for ALL Americans, no matter their skin color, gender or who they love. Running for Senate in the state of Tennessee is a woman named Marsha Blackburn. As much as I have in the past and would like to continue voting for women in office, I cannot support Marsha Blackburn. Her voting record in Congress appalls and terrifies me. She voted against equal pay for women. She voted against the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which attempts to protect women from domestic violence, stalking, and date rape. She believes businesses have a right to refuse service to gay couples. She also believes they should not have the right to marry. These are not MY Tennessee values. I will be voting for Phil Bredesen for Senate and Jim Cooper for House of Representatives. Please, please educate yourself on the candidates running in your state and vote based on who most closely represents your values. For a lot of us, we may never find a candidate or party with whom we agree 100% on every issue, but we have to vote anyway. So many intelligent, thoughtful, self-possessed people have turned 18 in the past two years and now have the right and privilege to make their vote count. But first you need to register, which is quick and easy to do. October 9th is the LAST DAY to register to vote in the state of TN. Go to vote.org and you can find all the info. Happy Voting! 🗳😃🌈

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Proving how much her voice can influence people for the better, voter registration spiked massively immediately after her message was posted!

‘We are up to 65,000 registrations in a single 24-hour period,’ Vote.org sector of communications’ Kamari Guthrie stated.

Two days later, Vote.org released another statement about Taylor’s impact.

‘Since Taylor Swift’s well-publicized Instagram post on Sunday night, in which she urged her 112 Million fans to vote, Vote.org has found a massive spike in voter registering nationwide. While there’s several factors that contributed to this, a majority of new registrations since Taylor Swift’s post on Sunday have been people between the ages of 18 and 29 years old – about 102,000 out of 240,000 total new registrations in less than 48 hours.’

Let’s hope Ariana Grande will manage to do the same!

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