Taylor Swift is notoriously press-shy—she did no traditional interviews around her 2017 album Reputation, instead releasing a promotional magazine through Target. Now, she’s appeared on the cover of the August issue of Harper’s Bazaar. Instead of answering questions from a journalist, or even another celebrity, she’s instead chosen to interview legendary rock muse Pattie Boyd. It’s a clever dodge that allows Swift to nab a prominent cover without revealing anything personal. Still, Boyd is a fascinating subject. She was married first to George Harrison and then Eric Clapton, inspiring the Beatles’ “Something” and Clapton’s “Layla” along way—a biography that’s naturally appealing to a pop star who’s made a career of writing about her lovers.
“We’re both women whose lives have been deeply influenced by songs and songwriting,” Swift says in the piece. “I stand on one side of it, and you on the the other.” Her following questions center around Boyd’s recent memoir Wonderful Tonight; Swift seems particularly interested in Boyd’s ability to navigate the choppy waters of public romance.
“I found it staggeringly beautiful in the book how you had been through many ups and downs, and told these stunning truths about your relationships, but everyone seems to be on really good terms. I mean, Eric [Clapton] even gave you permission to publish his love letters,” she points out, asking, “What did it take for you to arrive at such a place of goodwill with people you’ve been through so much with?”
The closest Swift comes to addressing her own complex relationship with fame occurs while discussing her creative process. “It can get complicated on every other level, but the songwriting is still the same uncomplicated process it was when I was 12 years old writing songs in my room,” she tells Boyd. “I don’t know what it is that makes some people really creatively inspiring. There have been people I’ve spent a lot of time with who I just couldn’t write about.”