Who knew an American Music Awards performance could cause so much drama? The awards show named Taylor Swift their Artist Of The Decade a few weeks ago, and she planned to perform a medley of her hits, as most musicians who receive career-spanning honors at awards shows do.
But the AMAs performance got ensnared in Swift’s ongoing feud with music industry exec Scooter Braun, who earlier this year struck up a $300 million deal with Big Machine head Scott Borchetta for the rights to all her albums that she had put out on the label over the last decade-plus. The two parties exchanged heated words in public over the performance rights to her older songs. The conflict even attracted the attention of the Carlyle Group, the private equity firm that helped Braun collect the money to buy Swift’s music — in a recent New York Times report, it appears that the group wants this situation resolved soon because of the bad publicity.
For now, though, Swift reached a deal that allowed her to perform her medley at the American Music Awards, and on Sunday night, she did just that. She started off with “The Man” from her latest album Lover, wearing a button-down shirt that had all of her album titles written on it. “Love Story” followed, then “I Knew You Were Trouble,” “Blank Space,” “Shake It Off” (with Halsey and Camila Cabello), and “Lover.”
Legendary songwriter Carole King was on hand to introduce Swift. “The past decade has been incredible for this brilliant artist and the best is yet to come,” King said in her introduction. After the performance, King presented the award to Swift, and Swift returned the favor and talked about what an influence King’s music was on her. “I remember when I fell in love with music, it was right around the time that I realized an artist could transcend so many different phases and changes in people’s lives. You taught me that was a possibility,” she said to King.
“All any of the artists, or anyone in this room wants is to create something that will last, whatever it is in life,” Swift continued. “The fact that this is an award that celebrates a decade of hard work and art and fun and memories, all that matters to me is the memories that I have had with you guys, with you the fans over the years.”
Swift picked up six awards tonight including Artist Of The Year and Favorite Album – Pop/Rock, giving her 29 total AMAs across her career, which beats the record held by Michael Jackson.
Watch the performance and her speech below.
I was up there because of you and I know that every minute of every day ❤️ photo by 📸 Kevin Winter pic.twitter.com/k9RW2qWdMo
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) November 25, 2019