What’s scarier: releasing your debut solo album, or following up that success?
I have a complicated answer for this that has much to do with where I’m at internally. My personality is pretty extreme, so I’m either scared of everything or scared of nothing. Some days, I think that it was scary. It’s not even the pressure of [success]. Showing up to the studio and having to be so vulnerable in front of people that I just met that day can feel like a scary thing. On other days you’re like “Oh, it’s not.”
With my first album, I would come to the studio super overly prepared, with every lyric of the song written before I went into the studio and ten concepts and titles for songs that I wanted to write that day. [But] with songwriting, the most magical moments are the ones where you’re not trying at all.
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You turned 21 before going on the Reputation tour with Taylor Swift and Charli XCX. Did you have any crazy nights with them?
I so regret that we didn’t do that more! We did not have enough of those. I think we should have them when we’re all in LA again sometime. I would go to Taylor’s dressing room, but we didn’t really go out and party. I think only one time in the middle of the tour.
Do you have a favorite song from Lover?
I love “Afterglow.” I listened to it 30 times in a row when it came out.
Was it a fun party?
It was fun because we weren’t allowed to be in it. But actually this is inspiring me! Next time you talk to me I want to have a more recent answer.
You’re dating Shawn Mendes. When did your relationship go from friendship to romance?
During “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” I really bonded with him as more than a friend. I think he did, too, but we were both really young, and he was experiencing the pressures of his career. I don’t think we knew what to do with those feelings. It was this awkward thing where we both liked each other, but we weren’t together. It was just weird. An energy was there from the beginning, but after that song, we didn’t spend as much time together. Our paths just didn’t cross in that way romantically until we started hanging out again and writing. For me, it just brought it back.
On SNL, you paid homage to Madonna’s Marie Antoinette-inspired VMA performance, and dedicated your 2018 VMA Video of the Year win to her. How does she influence you?
She’s such a badass. I want to be more like her. I think everybody does.
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