No matter how many pop hits she scores, Taylor Swift will always be a little bit country.

"In my mind I'm always going to be a country artist because that's home to me," says the 22-year old Nashville-based singer. "The innate writing style of county music is what formed me as a songwriter."

Yet after penning all the tracks on her last record on her own, Swift decided to team up with a who's-who of pop songwriters for her fourth album, "Red," which hit stores Monday.

"I wanted to figure out a way to push myself into a different comfort zone," she says.


Along with writers like Dan Wilson, who co-wrote Adele's mega-hit "Someone Like You," Swift enlisted the help of Max Martin, the man behind Kelly Clarkson's "Since U Been Gone," and Britney Spears' "... Baby One More Time." Together with Martin protégé Shellback, the trio co-wrote her own current smash, the infectious and decidedly un-country "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together," and as she says, it all happened, "really spontaneously."

"It's really brought something different out of this album," she says. "I think that there are definitely influences from every genre that I'm a fan of on this record."

Both U.K. singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran, and Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody make appearances too, the latter Swift points to as a source of inspiration for her cinematic lyrics.

"The more you let people into the details," she says, "the more people feel welcomed into those experiences."

Swift gets ‘loopy’ with the band

Watching the music video for “We are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” it’s hard not to notice the group of musicians dressed up as woodland creatures. Those oversized animals are actually Swift’s backing band. She says the costumes were director Declan Whitebloom’s idea and when she told the musicians, “they looked at me deadpan like, ‘This is not happening.’”

Yet while filming the single-shot clip the band “got loopy,” the results of which are on the screen. “It’s the most random thing I’ve ever done in a video,” says Swift. “It makes me laugh to this day.”

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