Taylor Swift Just Performed a Song She Said She Never Would for an Important Reason

One of the best parts of the virtual One World: Together at Home benefit concert was none other than musical icon Taylor Swift.

taylor swift
(Image credit: Emma McIntyre/AMA2019)

One of the best parts of the virtual One World: Together at Home benefit concert was none other than musical icon Taylor Swift. Not only was it a complete thrill to see her singing and playing in front of some of the most gorgeous wallpaper I've ever seen—Did she paint it herself? fans wondered—but she actually performed (opens in new tab) a song she said she wouldn't perform. (opens in new tab) And yet, not only did she sing the song, she did it live for the benefit, which honors those who are suffering and those who are supporting during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In case you missed it, this is one of Swift's most personal songs (opens in new tab) (and probably the saddest) off of Lover. The original track features the Dixie Chicks. It's an ode to her mom, who's battling cancer, and is the most personal she's gotten about her thoughts about it. She has said it's been one of the most difficult to write and even has a hard time hearing it—much less performing it. Fans thought they might never hear it live.

The lyrics are heartbreaking. Just a few: "The buttons of my coat were tangled in my hair. In doctor’s office lighting, I didn’t tell you I was scared...That was the first time we were there. Holy orange bottles, each night, I pray to you. Desperate people find faith, so now I pray to Jesus too." And later: “And I hate to make this all about me, but who am I supposed to talk to? What am I supposed to do, if there’s no you?" (weeps)

Swift fans informed the world that this is apparently this is the first time (opens in new tab) she has performed the song. Fans were even more floored at her vulnerability—choosing this moment to share this song with the world, when it's clearly so hard for her, but understanding what her audience (and the world) needs. She was somber throughout the performance and even sounded close to tears at one point, but got through it like an absolute champ.

Here's the video for you to watch. I won't lie, I got choked up:

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No surprise, the Swifties were out in full force during and after her performance. The reactions honestly were the best part:

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It was honestly so sweet and meaningful.

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Katherine J. Igoe
Katherine J. Igoe

Katherine’s a Boston-based contributor at Marie Claire who covers fashion, culture, and lifestyle—from “Clueless” to Everlane to news about Lizzo. She’s been a freelancer for 11 years and has had roles with Cosmopolitan and Bustle, with bylines in Parents, Seventeen, and elsewhere. It’s “I go to dinner,” not “Her huge ego,” but she responds to both.