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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.

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Fearless CD review - Fearless
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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 brings thoughtfulness – Brandi Carlile returned to the GRAMMY Museum for the third time, and it's easy to see why she's always invited back. The evening began with GRAMMY Executive Scott Goldman interviewing Carlile on a pair of stuffed chairs, which was followed directly by a brief set of live songs. The interview portion was informative, while Carlile's... »»»
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