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updated: 10/26/2012 6:23 AM

'Red' hot Taylor Swift riding high with new album, CMA nods

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  • Taylor Swift branched out and worked with musicians she admired for "Red," her latest album.

    Taylor Swift branched out and worked with musicians she admired for "Red," her latest album.
    Associated Press

  • Taylor Swift branched out and worked with musicians she admired for "Red," her latest album.

    Taylor Swift branched out and worked with musicians she admired for "Red," her latest album.
    Associated Press

  • Video: Taylor Swift's "Begin Again"

By Jay Bobbin

If it's not officially the Season of Swift, it certainly is close. With her fourth album, "Red," just out -- and including "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together," the first tune she's placed at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 (though she's been in that slot six times on the magazine's country song chart) -- Taylor Swift again is proving herself one of the most energetic, creative young talents in the entertainment world today.

In a month that also sees her in the running for five honors in MTV2's telecast of the MTV European Music Awards and appearing on "VH1 Storytellers" (both on Nov. 11), she'll perform at the Country Music Association's 46th Annual CMA Awards as ABC televises the event from Nashville's Bridgestone Arena on Thursday, Nov. 1. Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood return as hosts, and Swift could win again, being a nominee in three categories: entertainer of the year, female vocalist of the year and (with the Civil Wars) musical event of the year.

In a recent conversation, Swift talked about her jam-packed itinerary of late and her reinforced dedication to her career and her fans.

Q. You've won seven CMA Awards, including entertainer of the year twice, but what do you think about your scoring nominations again?

A. That was an amazing day. Getting nominated for entertainer of the year is so thrilling, because it acknowledges the work you've done all over the world, and I feel grateful that I get to experiment with the music I'm making and get to grow as an artist, and country music still knows that I know that's home. That trust that has been building up over these years shows itself in the most beautiful ways, and I appreciate it so much.

Q. How would you describe "Red"?

A. It's me writing some of the songs on my own, getting to co-write some of the songs with my heroes, and really getting to challenge myself in the studio. My comfort zone was writing my last album, "Speak Now," by myself and working with the same people I'd always worked with. For this, I branched out and called up people I'd never met but who I'd admired from afar. You never know what you're going to walk into, and learning about other people's studio processes was so exciting for me.

Q. How significant has the success of "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" been for you?

A. Seeing the song top the Hot 100 for three weeks was something I never really even thought of. I'd never been there before, so I didn't know what that felt like ... and it feels amazing! It's the most unbelievable thing the fans did for me, and to have it cross over and be played on all formats of radio, it's just been a dream.

Q. How has it felt to have your teaming with B.o.B., "Both of Us," riding high on the charts at the same time?

A. It's amazing to get to do really cool side projects and departures. That was a fun collaboration, including the experience of shooting the video. It was the same thing with the "Hunger Games" soundtrack, a chance to step out of my skin and try on what it felt like to make a song that was different from what I usually do.

Q. Your performance of "Ronan" on the September "Stand Up to Cancer" special obviously was very emotional for you. How do you look back at that now?

A. That was devastating, just like writing the song was, and just like recording the song was. And just like what the song is about is. It's not easy to sing about a little boy who died before his 4th birthday, but the perfect opportunity to show the world that song was when I was contacted by Gwyneth (Paltrow, an executive producer of the special) to be a part of "Stand Up to Cancer." I very rarely write a song that's so difficult for me to get through without crying, and the fact that it saw the light of day and ended up at No. 1 on iTunes was probably the most unexpected outcome. I really appreciate all the fans buying it, because all the proceeds go to cancer-related organizations, and that's going to end up being quite a donation.

Q. How have you managed to keep up with the itinerary you've had lately, which also included launching songs from "Red" weekly on ABC's "Good Morning America" and doing a Web chat with schools across the country?

A. It can be exhausting, when you're jet-lagged from one batch of international travel, and then you pick up and head out on the next run, but that's what I asked for. I wanted to go to Brazil and to Australia and to Europe, and the travel is worth it when you hear people with British accents singing your music, and you hear people who speak only Portuguese knowing every word to your songs. It's just an amazing feeling.

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