Could this be the beginning of a new Taylor Swift musical era? On Thursday, Jan. 17, Taylor Swift was spotted leaving a recording studio, prompting speculation that the singer is busy at work on a brand new album. According to E! News, the pop star was photographed at the studio, with a source telling the outlet that "it appeared [Swift] was there all day as she was not spotted leaving until after 9 p.m."
The singer has been dropping hints about working on new music for months now, even teasing the beginning of a "new chapter" in October when she accepted the American Music Award for Favorite Album — Pop/Rock. "I always look at albums as chapters in my life. And I'm so—to the fans, I'm so happy that you like this one," Swift said of the response to Reputation. "I'm so happy that this means that you like this one. But I have to be really honest with you about something, I'm even more excited about the next chapter."
Naturally, that statement sent Swifties into a social media frenzy, tweeting out their excitement for the possibility of Swift's seventh studio album — as did seeing proof that the singer is, indeed hard at work at "#TS7."
Swifties have been dissecting the singer's social media accounts for clues about new music for months now, and many have speculated that her decision to dress up as Ariel from The Little Mermaid for her New Year's Eve party is a clue that Swift's next album will be mermaid-themed. In addition to her costume, fans have noticed that Swift was spotted wearing a mermaid tee at the end of the Reputation tour documentary on Netflix, as well as the fact that there's a mermaid patch on the jacket Swift is wearing on the cover of her Reputation magazine.
Sure, they might all just be a coincidence, but Swift has been known to drop plenty of clues for her fans, so it's not totally insane for them to be speculating about the #TS7 subject matter.
Swift has often spoken about how much she values the connection her music has formed between herself and her fans. In her Netflix tour documentary, the singer told fans at a recent Dallas concert that having a bad reputation keeps people from wanting to get close to you. "I think that’ what we’re really all looking for in life, and I think the things that can scare us the most in life are the things that we think will threaten the prospect of us finding something real," she said.
Swift continued, "For example, having a bad reputation, in our mind, could get in the way of you finding real friendship, real love, real acceptance, people you really fit in with. Because you think to yourself, ‘What if they’ve heard something about me that isn’t true? What if they’ve got these preconceived notions about me that they heard from gossip?' And then they never even wanna meet me, and then we’ll never know what could’ve happened.'"
Earlier on the tour, Swift told the audience at the Chicago stop on her Reputation tour that her fans have even helped change the way she sees some of her own songs. Speaking about the breakup ballad, "All Too Well," — which appeared on Red — the singer explained, "Now, I play it and I think of the times I've played it in a stadium or an arena or my living room with you guys screaming the words back to me."
"And so it changed it, and I wanted to thank you for changing it," Swift continued, "because it's kind of nice to sing a song that you're proud of, but not feel pain while you sing it. It's very nice."
Whether or not her new album will be about mermaids, rumors or something else entirely, it's clear that Swift's next album will be just as important to her relationship with her fans as all of her previous work.