HONG KONG — Wrapping up the Asian leg of her world tour, Taylor Swift is relishing her growing international appeal as the singer-songwriter steadily gains fan outside the U.S. with her combination of confessional lyrics and country sound.
Shortly before taking the stage at Hong Kong’s AsiaWorld-Expo arena late Monday, the 21-year-old received a long line of Universal Music executives from across Asia who presented her with platinum sales plaques. Swift’s previous album, Fearless sold 400,000 copies in the region. Her latest release, Speak Now, is also performing well, achieving platinum status in Taiwan, South Korea, Indonesia and the Philippines.
“Some of them were really surprising to me. I wasn’t aware of every single certification we have in Asia. It really blew my mind,” Swift said backstage.
It’s testimony to the growing crossover appeal of the country star on foreign shores. Having just released her third album in October, the four-time Grammy winner can already boast a considerable global following. The initial Asian leg of Swift’s Speak Now tour has taken her to Singapore, Seoul, Osaka, Tokyo and Manila.
Swift said she’s proud to be an international ambassador for country music.
“I love country music, and I love the fact that it’s being accepted all over the world. That is so exciting for me,” she said.
“I have heroes who have taken country music internationally. You have Garth Brooks and Shania Twain. They really did a lot for country music because they brought an awareness to it. The fact that I have the opportunity to do that too and go to other countries where I’ve never been before and play music — it’s what I’ve always dreamed of doing.”
“The international success has been the most beautiful and pleasant surprise. Being welcomed by countries that speak a different language from the language I speak is an honor,” Swift said.
“It really touches me every time I look down and I see all the fans singing the words to my songs, having written the lyrics, knowing that they connect in countries where English really isn’t spoken by everyone. It means the world to me.”
It hasn’t been all work and no play on the Asian tour. Swift said she has taken in the local cuisine and sites. She visited Singapore Chinatown, visited a beach in Hong Kong and shopped and was dressed up as a geisha in Tokyo.
She said she relaxes on tour by ordering room service and watching the TV show Friends. She also uses down time to compose — Speak Now was almost entirely written during her previous tour, she says.
Swift next returns to the U.S. before kicking off the European leg of the tour in Brussels on March 6. The American leg begins on May 27 in Omaha, Nebraska. She will tour Australia and New Zealand later in the year.