AP: You’re up for entertainer of the year again at the CMAs on Nov. 6. If you win, you’ll become the first woman with three wins, passing Barbara Mandrell. How do you feel about that?
Swift: I think winning entertainer of the year would be an unbelievable thing to happen in my life because I still sometimes can’t believe I’ve gotten to win that twice. So a third time, what I think it would mean for my fans, would be the biggest feeling I would have.
AP: You said recently you’ve been working on songs for the new album for about six months. What can you tell us about what you have planned?
Swift: It’s too early to tell who are going to be my predominant collaborators, but I do know that my absolute dream collaborators were Shellback and Max Martin on the last project. I’ve never been so challenged as a songwriter. I’ve never learned so much. I’ve never just been so excited to show up to the studio every day, just because you never know what we’re going to put together. I’ll bring in ideas and they’ll take such a different turn than where I thought they were going to go, and that level of unexpected spontaneity is something that really thrills me in the process of making music. ... What if we did this? What if we made it weirder? What if we took it darker? I love people who have endless strange and exciting ideas about where music can go.
AP: How far are you willing to push the boundaries of your sound?
Swift: I definitely think that with music my favorite thing about Nashville is that it’s a music hub that accepts and allows all genres to be present, and I think there’s been a kind of fusing of genres lately that for me makes me really happy and excited. I am blown away at getting six CMA nominations in a year that I pushed the boundaries of what a genre is more than ever before. I’m so happy that people understood what I was doing conceptually. Getting those six CMA nominations to me signified that this community knew that I was not running from where I come from. I was exploring, and I think the more people who know what country music is, the more people will gravitate toward Nashville.