Taylor Swift is undoubtedly one of the biggest artists of the past 10 years — hence why the American Music Awards gave her the Artist of the Decade honor for 2010-2019.
“Taylor’s impact on music this decade is undeniable and her performances on the American Music Awards have been truly spectacular,” said Dick Clark Productions EVP of Programming and Development Mark Bracco in a statement. “We’re thrilled to honor her as our Artist of the Decade and can’t wait for her to blow everyone away with an epic, career-spanning performance unlike any other!”
The award was presented to Swift by the legendary Carole King, herself a winner of five Grammys. King calls Swift an “extraordinary songwriter” and says she’s “thrilled” to be honoring the young woman.
“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to present Taylor with the Artist of the Decade honor. She is an extraordinary songwriter who has cultivated a unique and personal relationship with her audience,” King said in a statement. “As a woman songwriter who also got into the music world at a young age, I know the kind of determination, struggle and single-minded perseverance it has taken for her to reach such heights.”
When presenting the award, King says that over the years she’s known great songwriters and great singers/performers, but “it’s rare to see all those talents in one person, but that defines Taylor Swift. She is one of the only modern pop artists whose name appears as the sole songwriter in her song credits … her songs touch everyone and her impact around the world is extraordinary.”
This is the first Artist of the Decade award the AMAs have given out since 2000. Garth Brooks won that year as the Artist of the Decade for the 1990s. The awards also let fans vote that year on the Artist of the Decade for the 1950s (Elvis Presley), 1960s (Beatles), 1970s (Stevie Wonder) and 1980s (Michael Jackson).
Swift also performed a medley of her songs at the AMAs, which was something her fans weren’t sure would happen as of a couple of weeks ago. It all started in July when Big Machine Records was sold to Scooter Braun’s company, SB Projects. Big Machine Records is the label Swift was with until she signed with Universal Music Group in 2017. The sale gives ownership to Swift’s first six albums to Braun’s company until she re-records her music, which she is allowed to do in 2020.
On Nov. 14, Swift took to Tumblr to say that Braun and his partner Scott Borchetta had blocked her from performing her songs on television because that would constitute re-recording them. In a statement, Big Machine Records denied that that was what happened and said that their approval was not needed for live performances but rather for distribution of audio and video recordings of those performances. Big Machine later said that they had reached a licensing agreement that leaves Swift and any other artists free to perform their music at the AMAs or anywhere else.
Earlier in the night when Swift won for Favorite Album — Pop/Rock, she thanked her fans profusely.
“You guys! OK, this is amazing. That was a really tough category, wow. Thank you to the fans … this album really felt like a new beginning. I also really love my record label, Universal Republic … I’m so excited I get to perform for you later. Thank you to the fans, you’re everything to me,” says Swift.
This special AMA isn’t the only decade award Swift will receive this year. In December, Billboard is giving her its first-ever Woman of the Decade award. Overall, in 13 years of making music, Swift has earned over 1000 total nominations across all awards shows, winning over 300 of them.