Taylor Swift was one of six covers of Time‘s 100 Most Influential People of 2019 list, gracing the “Icon” edition. To celebrate her grand achievement, the singer took things back to basics and gave a touching live performance of some of her biggest songs at the Time 100 Gala in New York City on Tuesday night (April 23). It was reminiscent of early Swift and a possible indicator that whatever is coming out on April 26 will be iconic.
Swift took the stage with an elegant circlet and peach dress and looked as peaceful and unassuming as ever. Setting the crowd at ease, she launched into some of her various hits; she performed soft versions of two of her most classic records, “Style” and “Delicate,” and she also led the gentle piano in playing “New Year’s Eve,” “Love Story,” and “Shake It Off.”
Swift also addressed the crowd between songs about the craft of songwriting. “One of my favorite things about female writers, about writers in general, about people who take that, happens to them and they process it and put it out into the world if you write, you can turn your lessons into your legacy,” Swift told the crowd, a genuine, soft smile slowly taking over her face. “I’m just really happy to get to do this.”
Swift’s acoustic performance reminds people of her roots and it couldn’t come at a better, more suggestive time. Along with her throwback hair and the performance itself coming just days short of April 26, the end of her mysterious countdown posted to Instagram on April 13, it’s highly believed that not only is Swift preparing new music, but she’s also possibly returning to her roots with it. Even before the countdown earlier this month, Swiftspiracy theorists have noted her return to a pastel color scheme on Instagram since February and her oddball uploads that all hint at April 26 being a date where Swift revisits the past to find her future.
Shawn Mendes wrote the blurb for Swift’s Time 100 entry, saying, “I quickly learned that the magic of Taylor Swift doesn’t come from the lights, dancers, or fireworks (although all of that is incredible) but from the electrifying connection that she has with the people who are there to see her.”
Take a look at clips of the performance up above.