Why Taylor Swift Wasn’t at the 2020 AMAs in Person Despite Winning Artist of the Year

Tonight, the American Music Awards came and went with appearances from stars like Billie Eilish, The Weeknd, and BTS. But despite winning some of the evening’s top honors, Taylor Swift did not attend the award show in person. She explained why in her acceptance speech for Artist of the Year, which she recorded from the studio where she is re-recording her first six albums.

“Oh hey guys, thank you so much for this!” she started. “This is a fan-voted award, which means so much to me. You guys have been beyond wonderful all the years of my career but especially this one when we’ve been so far apart. We haven’t been able to see each other in concert, but I still feel really connected to you through the music and your reaction to folklore and all the ways in which your imagination honored that album. I just love you so much and I’m really, really lucky because of you. The reason I’m not there tonight is I’m actually re-recording all of my old music in the studio where we originally recorded it. So it’s been amazing, and I can’t wait for you to hear it but have a great night! I love you so much and thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, guys.”

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Swift won Artist of the Year, Favorite Music Video (for “cardigan”), and Favorite Female Artist — Pop/Rock. She was also up for Favorite Album — Pop/Rock (for folklore).

Swift has been quarantining with her British boyfriend of four years Joe Alwyn. Earlier Sunday, Swift shared a photo of herself in a cabin, writing, “not a lot going on at the moment.” That’s of course a reference to her Red music video “22” and a nod to Swift’s work re-recording her first six albums.

Earlier this month, Scooter Braun sold Swift’s first six albums’ masters that he acquired with his purchase of Big Machine Label, Swift’s former record label where she started out of her career, to a private equity firm. Swift revealed on Twitter that she had tried to buy them back, but he made the terms impossible for her team to enter negotiation with his.

As she wrote in her Twitter statement, “Scooter’s team wanted me to sign an ironclad NDA stating I would never say another word about Scooter Braun unless it was positive, before we could even look at the financial records of BMLG (which is always the first step in a purchase of this nature). So, I would have to sign a document that would silence me forever before I could even have a chance to bid on my own work. My legal team said that this is absolutely NOT normal, and they’ve never seen an NDA like this presented unless it was to silence an assault accuser by paying them off 😬 He would never even quote my team a price. These master recordings were not for sale to me.”

Swift added that she is continuing her original plan of re-recording her first six albums now that she is legally able to recreate the songs.

“I have recently begun re-recording my older music, and it has already proven to be both exciting and creatively fulfilling,” she wrote. “I have plenty of surprises in store 😎 I want to thank you guys for supporting me through this ongoing saga, and I can’t wait for you to hear what I’ve been dreaming up.”

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