Leave it up to Taylor Swift to know the exact song the world needed to hear right now. Sitting at home behind her piano, Swift performed the song she said she would likely never play for Global Citizen’s “One World: Together at Home” special on Saturday.
Hosted in association with the World Health Organisation and the United Nations, the star-studded remote concert was all in the name of raising money for coronavirus relief. Nearly in tears at points, this was the first time Swift ever performed “Soon You’ll Get Better,” a song about her mother’s struggle with cancer from her latest album, Lover.
"That's a song I don't know if I'll ever play it live. It's just really difficult for me. It was hard to write. It's hard to sing. It's hard to listen to for me,” Swift said during a small acoustic set she played in New York shortly after Lover was released. “But sometimes, music is like that. Sometimes it's not just about stuff that was pleasant to feel." Despite it being emotionally difficult, she knew that her experience with her mother’s long-term illness, and what it takes to get through that, would be exactly what would inspire listeners during this history-making global pandemic.
The original track on the album features the Dixie Chicks and is the most personal and open Swift has been about her mother’s battle with cancer. First diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015, Andrea Swift’s cancer returned while filming Taylor Swift: Miss Americana, a documentary about the pop star’s rise to fame which was released on Netflix in January. Later that month, Swift revealed that doctors found a brain tumour while her mother was undergoing chemotherapy.
Swift fans were surprised and honoured that she chose this moment to share this song despite how difficult it was. Many tweeted out their support of her and her decision to perform such a vulnerable and fitting song.
The Global Citizen event, hosted by Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Kimmel, and Jimmy Fallon, and curated by Lady Gaga, served as a tribute to front-line workers doing all they can to fight COVID-19 as well as a global call-to-action to support coronavirus relief efforts. Musicians, comedians, and actors all lent their talents to create an all-star lineup — including The Rolling Stones, Sam Smith, and John Legend — as they were joined by global health experts throughout the performances. The eight-hour special raised $127 million (approximately £102 million) from corporate sponsors and philanthropists that will go to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for the WHO.
The World Health Organisation says you can protect yourself by washing your hands, covering your mouth when sneezing or coughing (ideally with a tissue), avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth and don't get too close to people who are coughing, sneezing or with a fever..