Due to its release date, Taylor Swift’s 2017 smash album reputation won’t be fully eligible for Grammy nominations (and, let's be real, multiple wins) until next year. That means don’t hold your breath about seeing the singer at Sunday night’s show. Still, Taylor Swift is wily. She manages to show up in places even where she’s not expected. She was in The Giver, remember? Reputation may not have been nominated for any golden gramophones, but Swift was actually in the running for some awards. The song she penned for Little Big Town, “Better Man,” was nominated for Best Country Duo/Group Performance, and her collaboration with Zayn Malik for the Fifty Shades Darker soundtrack, “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever,” was up for Best Song Written for Visual Media. Lin-Manuel Miranda picked up the latter award for “How Far I’ll Go” From Moana, but Little Big Town scored the award for “Better Man.” That meant that even though Swift wasn’t actually at the Grammys, she made a major cameo during the group’s pre-show red carpet interview.
Not only did Little Big Town talk about how Swift emailed them the song out of nowhere, they also said that she used to play video games in their dressing room when she was little. Her country music pedigree keeps revealing itself, even when we thought we knew everything there is to know about her.
Little Big Town have been gushing about Swift’s song — and Swift — for quite a while now. That’s what you do when a talented songwriter like Swift just up and emails you a song, all, “Hey, wrote this and thought of you. xoxo, Taylor.”
“We have loved Taylor and been friends with her since she was a wee pup,” Kimberly Schlapman told ET on Friday night. “We have always adored her. She's an incredible songwriter. She sent us this song and we fell in love with it instantly, and cut it and she loved what we did. It has been a great gift to us.”
It’s been reaping rewards for them ever since. The track picked up a 2017 Country Music Association Award for Song of the Year in November, and a 2017 CMT Music Award for Group Video of the Year in June. Swift was clearly pumped about the song scoring yet another award on Sunday night. She sent Little Big Town a big bouquet of flowers to celebrate the honour, which Philip Sweet Instagrammed earlier on Sunday.
“Better Man” returns to Swift’s country roots, telling the story of a woman who’s hung up on a man who’s not at all worth her time or effort. Still, she wants him. “Sometimes, in the middle of the night, I can feel you again / But I just miss you, and I just wish you were a better man,” the lyrics go. It’s no “Ooh, look what you made me do” with snake rings and bathtubs full of diamonds. It’s classic Swift, and harkens back to the earlier days of her career. She may not be at the Grammys tonight, but her vintage work was certainly represented, as was she.
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