Taylor Swift topped off an amazing 2014 on Friday by picking up Billboard’s coveted Woman of the Year award for the second time.
The honor came as the “Blank Space” singer was preparing to celebrate her 25th birthday on Saturday.
She told the audience at the lunchtime gala, “Being named Billboard Woman of the Year for a second time is this amazing early birthday present. I turn 25 at midnight tonight, and I fully intend to to celebrate like it’s 1989 (the title of her hit new album and the year of her birth).”
She also reiterated her stand on streaming music sites after pulling her back catalogue from Spotify last month, adding, “I’ve taken this year to stand up for my value as a songwriter, as a businesswoman and a content creator. I’m very well aware the music industry is changing, and it will continue to change. I’m open to that change and progress. I’m not open to the financial model that is currently in place.
“I really believe that we in the music industry can work together to bond technology with integrity. And I think we can teach a younger generation about an investment in music, not just the ephemeral consumption of it. I think that there has to be a way for streaming or any future way we access music to fairly compensate the writers.
“Events like this, where we have the most powerful people in music all gathered in one room, events like this give me hope that the right conversations will start to take place, and I invite you all to join in the conversation.”
Swift had a very special guest introduce her at the luncheon – superfan Gena Camerlengo, whose bridal shower the singer attended earlier this year, posting video of the party online.
Camerlengo said, “I’ve been fortunate to share in her transformation. Her ability to write and perform is incredible, but it’s her impact beyond music where she really shines… I found Taylor because of her music, but I stayed because of her character.”
And there was another very special moment for Swift when Women in Music 2014 Icon of the Year honoree Aretha Franklin sang her “Happy Birthday.”