“You have to give yourself permission to fail,” Taylor Swift urged her young fans as she accepted the Innovator Award on Monday at the 2023 iHeartRadio Music Awards
Taylor Swift is already an icon to her fans, but now it’s official!
The “Anti-Hero” singer-songwriter told her fans to “give yourself permission to fail” as she was honored with the Innovator Award at the 2023 iHeartRadio Music Awards in Los Angeles on Monday night.
“I’m really flattered by this award. So thank you so much to iHeart for giving this to me,” began Swift, 33, in her acceptance speech as she took to the stage in a Grace Jones-inspired sparkling hooded outfit to accept the award from pal and “tour mate” Phoebe Bridgers.
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“I never, a single time, woke up in the morning and thought, ‘You know what I’m gonna do today? I’m gonna go innovate some stuff,'” she joked. “‘Things need to be innovated and I’m gonna be the one that does it.’ But what I did do was try to make the right decision for me at the time, whether or not it had ever been successfully done before.
“And I think maybe that might be the key, because oftentimes in any industry, people are looking for a precedent or data that shows this idea is a good one or a feasible one. People want an example of something working before. But I think the coolest ideas or moves or choices are the new ones, the ones that set a new precedent,” added Swift.
Check out PEOPLE’s full iHeartRadio Music Awards coverage here.
She referenced her own genre switch from country to pop, as well as her decision to re-record her music, for which the audience supported her with applause.
“They’re shining a light on the choices I made that worked out, the ones that turned out to be good ideas,” she continued. “But I really, really want everyone to know, especially young people, that the hundreds or thousands of dumb ideas that I’ve had are what led me to my good ideas. You have to give yourself permission to fail.
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“I try as hard as I can, not to fail, ’cause it’s embarrassing, but I do give myself permission to, and you should too. So, go easy on yourselves and just make the right choices that feel right for you. And someday, someone might think that you’ve been innovative. Thank you so much for this,” said Swift.
Swift was nominated for seven awards at this year’s show, including song of the year (“Anti-Hero”), artist of the year, best lyrics (“Anti-Hero”), best music video (“Anti-Hero”), best fan army, TikTok bop of the year (“Bejeweled”) and favorite use of a sample (“Question…?”).
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The star is fresh off the start of her highly anticipated Eras Tour, which she kicked off in Glendale, Arizona earlier this month with a three-hour-long show that featured countless hits from each of her 10 album “eras.”
After a more than four-year break from touring (largely due to the pandemic), Swift returned to the stage with a massive 44-song setlist that she sang while sporting a number of glittery looks, including a Versace bodysuit and blazer and an Etro dress and cape.
“I’m gonna take a wild guess and say, that if you’re here tonight, there’s a pretty good chance that you went through a considerable amount of effort to be with us tonight, is that true,” Swift asked her crowd on the first night. “Well, first of all, let me say, on behalf of me and every single performer that you see on this stage — all the band, all the crew, every single person who has been putting together this tour for years — thank you from the bottom of our hearts for wanting to be with us on night one.”
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Ahead of the show, Swift made a surprise donation to the Arizona Food Bank Network, and later gave money to the Nevada-based food bank Three Square before her shows in Las Vegas.
The 2023 iHeartRadio Music Awards are airing live from the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on FOX.