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Taylor Swift and Autotune: What Were the Controversies?

Taylor Swift and Autotune

Whenever I was going through a heartbreak, I would automatically become a Swiftian. I don’t know how that works, but yes. It happens.

However, a few people have always had to question her credibility as a singer. They often ask whether Taylor Swift uses auto-tune or not. And if she does, why do I still listen to her songs despite being a “true music aficionado?”

Well, like most other artists, we all know that Taylor has also probably autotuned her songs at some point in her career. However, should that be something for which she needs to be ostracized? Is that a reason why you should keep thinking that all her songs are autotuned and that she is not really a talented artist?

To answer all of these, I have really dug deep. I have gone through her discography and, might as well say, scrutinized every song to search for the percentage of autotune.

So, keep on reading this blog till the end to learn more…

Introduction to Taylor Swift and Her Musical Journey

The name Taylor Swift, which appeals to people of all ages, started out as a country singer-songwriter.

Swift, who was born in Pennsylvania, USA, in 1989, immediately won people over with her sympathetic melodies and accessible lyrics. Her rise from the honky-tonks of Nashville to the top of the pop charts worldwide is truly amazing.

Early on, Taylor sang about teenage angst, loss, and love while strumming a guitar, winning over listeners with songs like “Love Story” and “Teardrops on My Guitar.” Her narrative skill and distinctive country twang won her praise from critics and hordes of admirers.

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But that wasn’t all Taylor Swift did. 

She took a fresh look at herself and made the move to pop music with the album “1989.” Songs like “Blank Space” and “Shake It Off” demonstrated her adaptability and growth.

She started using autotune as a tool in her toolbox, which improved her vocal accuracy and let her try out new sounds.

Taylor’s live performances showcase her unadulterated skill outside of the studio. She shows that autotune doesn’t define her, whether she’s shouting out hits in packed arenas or picking up an acoustic guitar.

For instance, her documentary “Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions” highlights her genuineness by providing a close-up look at her creative process.

What is Autotune?

Auto-Tune is a nifty piece of software that has revolutionized music. Imagine a singer who hits a few wrong notes during a performance – Auto-Tune swoops in like a musical superhero to save the day!

Here’s the backstory: Auto-Tune was born in the late ’90s when an engineer, tinkering with seismic data tests, stumbled upon its magical powers. Initially, it corrected pitch imperfections in studio recordings. Think of it as a vocal GPS – it guides singers back to the right note.

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But then, enter Cher, the trailblazer. She cranked up the Auto-Tune dial for her hit song “Believe,” giving her voice a futuristic, slightly robotic vibe. Suddenly, Auto-Tune wasn’t just a fixer-upper; it became an artistic tool.

Artists like T-Pain and even Kanye (yes, the Kanye!) followed suit. They used auto-tune not just to fix minor pitch hiccups but to create their signature sound.

One user on Reddit said, “Every single artist uses autotune in their studio recordings. It’s usually done by the producer during the mixing of the songs.” However, some people still cannot get over the fact that even their favs can use auto-tune.

And, considering the fact that Swift has always been a part of industry dramas, the question “does she use auto-tune” is something that has also lingered for a while.

Think about one thing: Would you have questioned the caliber and ability of artists like Elvis Presley if he used auto-tune? No, right? So why pick on other artists?

Does Taylor Swift Use Auto-Tune?

Every time Taylor releases a new album, Swifties does not take a moment to break the tracks apart and analyze them. After the release of her latest albums, a lot of listeners have started talking about the use of auto-tune in her tracks.

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For instance, if I have to pick one album that has been under fire despite having some of the most brilliant songs, it is her 10th studio album, Midnights.

If you have heard this album, you might know which track I am referring to exactly. Yes, it’s “Midnight Rain.” In this song, listeners can clearly hear a very low voice throughout the song, even when the song starts to play.

At first, people started guessing whose voice it might be. It was not long before they all realized that the voice was Taylor’s. The voice was passed through auto-tune, and it was pitched down.

WHICH gave rise to the trending question, “then does Taylor Swift really use auto tune?” but does she?

Taylor Swift’s Early Music and Autotune Use

If you are a Swiftie, you must have been one for a long time. I, for instance, started listening to her songs in 2008. “Love Story,” “Belong With Me,” and “Teardrops on My Guitar” were my go-to songs.

Producers did not force Taylor Swift to use auto-tune in her early music. When you listen to her early tracks, you can hear some imperfections – the occasional waver in her voice, a hint of vulnerability.

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These imperfections actually added to the charm of her songs. Swift’s debut self-titled album (released in 2006) and her follow-up albums “Fearless” (2008) and “Speak Now” (2010) showcased her raw talent without heavy reliance on auto-tune.

Everything changed with her fourth studio album, “Red,” released in 2012. This marked a significant shift in Swift’s sound.

The album blended country with pop, and auto-tune became more prominent. Songs like “I Knew You Were Trouble” and “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” featured processed vocals.

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Swift’s decision to embrace auto-tune was deliberate, as it allowed her to experiment with new genres and reach a broader audience.

Taylor Swift has been adamant about maintaining authenticity in her live performances. She sings without auto-tune during concerts, showcasing her true vocal abilities.

However, there have been instances where she used auto-tune in the studio to achieve specific effects or enhance certain aspects of her songs.

So, while she doesn’t rely on it for live shows, she does utilize it strategically in her recorded music.

Transition to Pop Music and Increased Autotune Usage

As I have already mentioned (and everyone who listens to music knows, duh!), Taylor Swift debuted as a country singer. As a result, the songs that she performed in the early days of her career were heavily acoustic and country-oriented.

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However, as she gained popularity, she transitioned into mainstream pop music. This change allowed her to explore new sounds, collaborate with different artists, and reach a broader audience. Pop music provided a canvas for her creativity, allowing her to experiment with various musical elements.

Now, considering that auto-tune is not a magic wand that can make a non-singer musically talented, let’s discuss auto-tune in Swift’s songs.

Like many singers, Taylor Swift has used autotune. In her early country-oriented music, autotune was already in play, but as she embraced pop, its use became more consistent. Taylor is not alone in this; many mainstream artists rely on autotune to achieve a polished sound.

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While she may not be considered the greatest singer globally, her voice is undeniably strong. Autotune isn’t necessarily used because of poor singing; rather, it’s a creative choice. Even artists like Justin Timberlake, who can sing exceptionally well, use autotune to enhance their sound.

“But why auto-tune?”

Pop music demands perfection. Producers and record labels envision a polished final product. Pop songs often have intricate layers, making them challenging to perform flawlessly without at least some assistance from autotune.

Additionally, autotune streamlines studio recording, allowing artists to correct mistakes more efficiently. Unlike Billie Eilish, who painstakingly re-recorded her vocals for her first album, most pop stars don’t have the luxury of such extended recording periods.

So, now you know why!

Live Performances and Taylor Swift’s Natural Voice

Taylor Swift possesses raw talent and can sing without autotune. She has recorded solo performances that showcase her natural voice.

During her live performances, Taylor Swift’s natural voice shines through. Autotune is unnecessary in these settings, emphasizing her vocal abilities. So, while autotune plays a role in her studio recordings, it doesn’t define her talent.

Bottom Line: Autotune is NOT a Need, But a Choice!

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The absence of artificial auto-tune in Taylor Swift’s early songs highlighted her true skill. She accepted auto-tune as a creative tool as her career developed, enabling her to experiment with many musical genres.

Swift’s path continues to captivate fans around the globe, regardless of whether they value the polished production of her later music or the raw sound of her early days.

I hope this blog has been helpful to you if you were wondering the answer to the widely asked question, “does Taylor Swift use autotune?” Please do not hesitate to ask me any more queries you may have on the same.

Simply keep scrolling down until you get to the bottom of the page. Next, post your questions and comments in the space provided below. And I’ll be here to respond to all of your questions.

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Ankita Tripathy

Ankita Tripathy loves to write about food and the Hallyu Wave in particular. During her free time, she enjoys looking at the sky or reading books while sipping a cup of hot coffee. Her favourite niches are food, music, lifestyle, travel, and Korean Pop music and drama.

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