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Label head defends Swift

Thursday, February 4, 2010 – Taylor Swift's label head continued his defense of Swift in the wake of her less than well-received performance Sunday at the Grammys.

Big Machine Records head Scott Borchetta said to Billboard in comments published Thursday that technical difficulties led to problems for Swift. She performed parts of three songs with the most problematic being Rhiannnon, done with Stevie Nicks on which Swift lost her pitch at least three times. The superstar, who won four Grammys that night, has been accused of having a questionable voice.

"She is the voice of this generation. She speaks directly to (her fans), and they speak directly back to her," said Borchetta to Billboard. "This is not 'American Idol.' This is not a competition of getting up and seeing who can sing the highest note. This is about a true artist and writer and communicator. It's not about that technically perfect performance."

Borchetta said he defended Swift because the criticism was "just over the top."

"It's that classic thing that critics do of building something up and then wanting to tear it down," he said.

Critics, such as those in the Washington Post and Los Angeles Times, were not the only ones to knock Swift's performance, however. Readers also commented about the quality of Swift's performance.

Billboard said Swift and Nicks rehearsed twice at the Staples Center in Los Angeles in front of a crowd of people. Entertainment Weekly said of the rehearsal, "The two women's voices complimented each other nicely on the harmonies of 'Rhiannon' ...'"

Borchetta cited a technical problem to Billboard, something he did not say to the Tennessean. "We had a volume problem in the ear. So, she was concerned that she wasn't able to hear everything in the mix," Borchetta said. "That's just part of live TV. ... So you're going to have difficulties on occasion. Unfortunately, on one of the biggest stages, we did have a technical issue. She couldn't hear herself like she had in rehearsal."

Borchetta dismissed critics once again. "What we have is so much bigger than that. Am I going to ask them to turn their heads, no, I don't need them to."

"If you haven't seen her live performance, you're welcome to come out as my guest to a Taylor Swift show and experience the whole thing, because it's amazing. You can see her in her element. There's a reason tickets are selling like they are."

Swift picks up her Fearless tour March 4 in Tampa, Fla.

Borchetta previously defended Swift in an interview with The Tennessean, in which he threatened the press to "get in the ring" about Swift.

More news for Taylor Swift

CD reviews for Taylor Swift

Journey to Fearless DVD
Part Behind The Music style documentary and part concert film, Taylor Swift's new Blu-ray release offers an interesting hybrid approach to the typical live performance video - an approach that hits more than it misses. "Journey To Fearless" focuses on Swift's meteoric rise from aspiring grade-school singer/songwriter to award-winning country and pop megastar while sprinkling in live performances. Hardcore Swift fans will find a lot to love on this single-disc set (which is also »»»
Speak Now CD review - Speak Now
Taylor Swift has made the best CD of her young career with her fourth CD. The biggest difference is that Swift's singing, spotty on previous releases and live performances, is far far superior here. Swift wrote all 14 songs here, which like her other albums tend to deal with relationships that have gone south. Swift's songwriting always has been one of her strengths, and that continues to be the case here - both lyrically and musically. Put simply, Swift knows a lot about penning »»»
Fearless CD review - Fearless
Taylor Swift took the county world by storm with her huge selling debut and its five hit singles. With a huge marketing push and myspace, Swift was on her way. Kind of like an Avril Lavigne for the teen female country set. Sophomore slump? There's no indication of that. Swift once again writes her material - all 13 songs here with help sometimes from Liz Rose, Colbie Caillat and John Rich. Swift writes of what she knows about - relationships and teen love come and gone in songs speak to her fans. »»»
Editorial: Walking the talk – When names like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon and the Hag are invoked, you're talking hard core country. These are the touchstones of country , the guys who made country music what it was and still is (or maybe can be). When these folks would sing about being down-and-out and the rough-and-tumble, they knew of what they were singing about. Fast forward a few years to the country singers of today. »»»
Concert Review: Carlile warms hearts with empathetic thoughts – Brandi Carlile, dressed festively with a Santa hat, began her mid-week concert set with Joni Mitchell's "River" and closed with the carol "O Holy Night." In between, she sang about an equal measure of old and new songs. And on this first night of a short acoustic tour, Carlile was both in fine spirits and voice.... »»»
Concert Review: Daniels wears out bows, but music endures – After each of the first few songs Charlie Daniels played, his 'fiddle tech (?)' exchanged his bow. Is this because he was playing particularly hard? Perhaps. Whatever the case, Daniels and his five-piece band clearly appeared to be giving it their all during the act's hour-and-a-half set. As it is the Christmas month, Daniels sang a... »»»
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