Taylor Swift told Time she is "the proudest and happiest I've ever felt"/Reuters
Taylor Swift has capped off a stellar 2023 by being named Time Magazine’s person of the year.
The star, whose Eras tour broke box office records and provoked an inquiry into Ticketmaster’s sales practices, follows the likes of Barack Obama, Greta Thunberg and Volodymyr Zelensky.
She told the magazine that she is “the proudest and happiest I’ve ever felt”.
The award goes to an event or person deemed to have had the most influence on global events over the past year.
The singer also admitted to the magazine that the toll of her 180-minute Eras concerts often left her feeling physically exhausted.
After a run of shows, “I do not leave my bed except to get food and take it back to my bed and eat it there,” she said.
“I can barely speak because I’ve been singing for three shows straight. Every time I take a step my feet go crunch, crunch, crunch from dancing in heels.”
The star also talked about her blossoming romance with American Football star Travis Kelce.
The couple hit the headlines in September when Swift was spotted at with Kelce’s mother at one of his games.
“By the time I went to that first game, we were a couple,” she explained, adding they had first hooked up over the summer.
“I think some people think that they saw our first date at that game? We would never be psychotic enough to hard-launch a first date.”
But Swift’s love life is small beans compared to her cultural impact. Already a superstar before 2023, her career has reached new heights thanks to the Eras tour – which sees the singer perform a career-spanning 45-song set every night.
Demand for tickets was so high that it crashed Ticketmaster’s website, prompting a hearing into its business practices by the US Senate.
When the tour began in the summer, ticketless fans gathered in car parks just to hear the music. In Seattle, her concerts generated seismic activity equivalent to a 2.3 magnitude earthquake.
“It feels like the breakthrough moment of my career, happening at 33,” she told Time. “And for the first time in my life, I was mentally tough enough to take what comes with that.”
Swift’s imperial phase comes after a period where she was vilified for her positions on feminism and politics – although her silence on those issues stemmed from nothing more sinister than a lack of confidence.
After speaking out against Donald Trump and in favour of abortion rights, she hit a creative purple patch with the pandemic-era albums Folklore and Evermore.
Showcasing a more organic, indie-folk approach than the country-pop that made her famous, the records confirmed her status as a generational songwriting talent.
She cemented her comeback with last year’s Midnights – a bleary, sleep-deprived collection of pop songs based around the thoughts that keep her up at night.
Time editor-in-chief Sam Jacobs said the US pop icon was “the rare person who is both the writer and hero of her own story”, adding that Swift had “found a way to transcend borders and be a source of light”.
On Monday, Time Magazine announced its shortlist of nine candidates for the title. Those included Chinese President Xi Jinping, Vladimir Putin, Barbie and the striking Hollywood actors and writers.
As well as her tour, Swift has also released the biggest-selling record of 2023 – a re-recording of her decade-old album 1989.
Incredibly, she also has the second and third biggest-sellers of the year in America, with Midnights and Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) eclipsing records by Drake, Olivia Rodrigo and Ed Sheeran.
Amongst her other achievements this year:
Last month, the star was declared a billionaire by business publication Bloomberg, which estimated her net worth to be $1.1bn (£907m).
Only three other musicians have achieved billionaire status – Rihanna, Beyoncé and Jay-Z.
However, Swift is the first to reach the milestone based on music alone, as her rivals’ fortunes incorporate business ventures in fashion, beauty products and hi-fi equipment.
In a social media post, Swift celebrated her latest accolade by turning the spotlight on her beloved cat, Benjamin – who appeared draped around her shoulders on Time Magazine’s cover.
Swift is currently on a break before launching the Asian and Australian legs of her Eras tour in February.
The shows come to Europe in May, and Swift is also expected to release a re-recorded version of her Reputation album in the new year.
Her decision to re-make all of her first six albums came after her old record label, Big Machine, sold her master tapes to music mogul Scooter Braun in 2019. He later sold them to an investment company.
Speaking to Time, she said she had initially recoiled at the idea, which had been suggested by both her father and fellow pop star Kelly Clarkson.
“I’d look at them and go, ‘How can I possibly do that?’ Nobody wants to redo their homework if on the way to school, the wind blows your book report away.”
In the end, she went ahead with the project as an act of rebellion.
“It’s all in how you deal with loss,” she says. “I respond to extreme pain with defiance.”
(With inputs from BBC)