Love Letter To A Record: Ea Kaya On Taylor Swift’s ‘Speak Now’

Many of us can link a certain album to pivotal moments in our lives. Whether it’s the first record you bought with your own money, the chord you first learnt to play on guitar, the song that soundtracked your first kiss, the album that got you those awkward and painful pubescent years or the one that set off light bulbs in your brain and inspired you to take a big leap of faith into the unknown – music is often the catalyst for change in our lives and can even help shape who we become.

In this series, Music Feeds asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share with us stories about the effect music has had on their lives.

Here are their love letters to records that forever changed their lives.

Ea Kaya: Taylor Swift – Speak Now

Dear Speak Now by T-Swizzle,

Thank you for keeping a weird 15-year-old company. When her friends were watching Mean Girls, talking about boys or having their first sip of Bacardi Breezer, she sat by her stereo. Stubborn of nature, she was determined to learn how to play your songs on her scrappy, white guitar. She hardly had any skills yet – she still doesn’t – but she did have a whole lot of will and curiosity.

Before you were born, I’d been listening to your sister albums. Wow, that’s a strange sentence. But you were something special. I’ve always been extremely impatient and it’s hard to hold onto my attention for too long. You made me lay on my bedroom floor and listen closely. All the way through your 17 masterpieces. I wanted to hear every word. Every line. I felt like I was being dragged into stories, places and feelings I’d never experienced before. I was young and knew nothing. You might just have taught me my first lessons on love. About the energy it can give you. About the loss of the same and the ache that comes with it. I realised that a lot of the songs on the album actually functioned as confessions. Apologies. Wishes. Or like in ‘Mean’; a late comeback to an idiot with a big mouth.

You gave me the courage to open up. Pen down what I didn’t dare to tell people. I’m honest and direct, but I’m afraid to show weakness. Even in my early teens, I refused to let people know if they’d had a painful impact on me. I kept my head up high. But with time, I learned that denial didn’t control the chaos inside of me. It certainly didn’t make it disappear. I started writing down my thoughts, even though it terrified me that people might hear those lines someday. But it felt good to say it out loud. Really good.

In your universe, the lyric and the melody are equals. Besides becoming a snappy storyteller, you taught me how to write a damn strong melody. One that works just as well on a guitar as it does with a full band. You showed me how to build up an energetic evergreen – like my favourite song on the album; ‘Sparks Fly’. But you also let me hear the fragile, intimate side of you on ballads such as the haunting ‘Back To December’. I learned how to support my storytelling, moods and themes.

Eight years have gone by and I still return to you once in a while. Time doesn’t leave scratches on a great song. Thank you for teaching me to speak up. Both now and then.

Ea Kaya’s latest single ‘Tied Up’ is out now.

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