Taylor Swift is considered one of the most popular singers of all time, currently pop, but starting in country. Despite doing a lot of solo acoustic work over the years, many fans still ask does Taylor Swift use autotune?
Like many singers, Taylor Swift does use autotune. Autotune was extensively used in her early country-oriented music, but as she moved into mainstream pop music, she and her team adopted the use of it more consistently.
Taylor is not alone in this, as many mainstream artists have autotune used on their voice to correct pitch or alter the tone to better fit the music.
Autotune is basically a studio tool that can be used to alter a singer’s vocal performance from the original. In its truest form, it is used to correct the pitch used in songs.
Singers of all talent levels use autotune.
However, many people use autotune now as a full-on effect in their music. Not only does it change the way the singer sounds, but it completely alters the song. Some people feel that autotune removes the emotion from a song.
Let’s explore how much she uses it and if she uses it in live performances.
Can Taylor Swift sing without autotune?
Taylor Swift can definitely sing without autotune. She has many recorded solo performances that prove this, in addition to her documentary film Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions, which clearly showcases her raw talent.
While she is not considered to be the greatest singer in the world, she has a great voice without autotune. She has proven this since the start of her career.
And many singers and producers use autotune not because of bad singing but because of a preference for how it augments the sound of the singing.
Justin Timberlake is a good example of this as he uses it, and the guy can clearly sing!
It seems that Taylor Swift didn’t begin using autotune in her songs until she switched from country music to pop.
There could be many reasons for this, but the biggest is due to pop being a genre where people like perfection.
And the producers and record labels all have a vision for the finished product that is different from the country music scene, which can be more roots-oriented.
Her recent use of autotune could also be because of intricacy.
Most would agree that her pop songs have more layers to them. This makes it harder to do them without at least a small aid from autotune.
It should also be considered that autotune makes paying for studio time cheaper for artists. This is because autotune can fix mistakes much faster than doing it the natural way.
Billie Eilish noted she avoided autotune on her 1st album and preferred to painstakingly rerecord her vocals until everything was perfect. But she recorded that in her brother’s bedroom over the course of almost 3 years!
Most pop stars don’t have the luxury of taking that long.
Proof of the fact that Taylor Swift can sing without autotune is her live shows. You can hear her natural voice, and it is clear that autotune is not needed.
She does have backup singers, and also utilizes some prerecorded parts. But the bulk of the lead vocal is coming from her live.
It was the night things changed. Fearless (Taylor’s Version) is out now: https://t.co/Sw5JzYR4cS pic.twitter.com/SoJRNdPfho
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) April 9, 2021
Why does Taylor Swift’s voice sound different on acoustic versions?
Taylor Swift’s voice sounds different on acoustic versions of songs, sometimes to make them intentionally sound different and more intimate, but she also sometimes performs them in a different key from the recorded versions to make it easier for her to play on the guitar.
Changing the key could be because she used autotune in the studio to hit notes perfectly that she can’t hit naturally.
But it’s more likely that she changes the key to make it easier for her to play on the guitar. After all, while she can play the guitar, she’s not a virtuoso.
Taylor Swift has done acoustic renditions of her songs many times.
Some of these are recorded versions, but some were performed live. Each time she does it, it provokes people to wonder why she sounds different.
The acoustic version of a song is meant to stand apart from the original recording. Often, the official version has had much of the emotion taking out.
This is to make music that can be easily played on the radio.
When an artist does an acoustic version of a song, they are singing from the heart. This is why they often cry while singing.
It has been said that many artists, Taylor included, really think about the meanings behind their songs while performing an acoustic set.
The important thing is that when Taylor does an acoustic performance, fans still know it’s her. This shows that she is always true to her artistry.
Many fans have requested that Taylor record a full acoustic album.
My new version of Love Story (Taylor’s Version) is out now 💛💛 Get it instantly when you pre-order Fearless (Taylor’s Version) https://t.co/NqBDS6cGFl pic.twitter.com/KdHdZXnWbP
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) February 12, 2021
Does Taylor Swift lip-sync in concert?
Taylor Swift does not lip-sync entire concerts and is singing live for the main segments of her songs. She does, however, have a lot of pre-recorded backing tracks on her pop hits which sometimes contain her vocals, in addition to using backup singers.
And all of her concerts feature a solo acoustic segment as well that is clearly not lip-synced.
But like many singers, Taylor Swift has often been accused of lip-syncing. From what I could find, this was not something she did earlier on in her career, that it is a relatively new thing for the singer.
Taylor Swift fans and haters alike have spotted specific performances where it seems like the singer is mouthing her words.
Because people know she can sing, there has been no major outcry about it.
It is important to look at some reasons why Taylor may be lip-syncing more often these days. For one, she does long tours.
This would cause anyone’s voice to become overworked.
Also, oftentimes, singers are under the weather and decide to lip-sync. This is better than canceling a concert because you have a cold, especially when fans are considered.
Overall, it still seems that Taylor Swift sings live far more than she relies on pre-recorded vocals.
The fans are the reason we’re floating tonight, and we’ll never forget it. pic.twitter.com/njcuumt52u
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) March 15, 2021
Did producers make Taylor Swift use autotune on her early music?
Producers did not force Taylor Swift to use autotune in her early music, which was considered country-pop. The use of autotune consistently in her music began with her 4th album Red, released in 2012.
When you listen to Taylor Swift’s old music, you can hear some imperfections. This is not a bad thing, and it simply means you are hearing a natural young singer.
You can see this in the pitch on the early records as well as in the way certain words are said. This helps make it clear that there was little to no autotune used.
However, when you compare the sound of her early music to her more pop songs, this is where you see the difference.
This is especially true in retrospect now that we better understand autotune.
It is also important to point out that it is oftentimes not the singer who is electing to use autotune. Many times, the sound engineer will add the effect after the song has been recorded.
I also think it is needed to say that the use of autotune does not make Taylor Swift any less of an artist. It has become an industry standard and refusing to use it could set her behind the rest.
Taylor Swift is a pop superstar, and she has changed the landscape of music.
She went from being a country sweetheart to being a businesswoman who has remained relevant in an industry that seeks to throw female pop stars away.
Taylor can sing live. She does acapella really well. And Taylor Swift writes all her own songs; a rare thing in the pop world.
And her occasional use of autotune and pre-recorded vocals in performances should be seen as a sign of the times and not as a negative aspect of her as an artist.
But what about the rumors of Tay-Tay being Olivia Rodrigo’s mom?
Any truth? And how did that internet rumor get started? Luckily, I have all the answers in a recent article. Just click that link to read it on my site.
Photo which requires attribution:
Taylor Swift by Eva Rinaldi is licensed under CC2.0 and was cropped with a text overlay added.