Taylor Swift Shows Off Stephen Colbert 'Mood Board' to Clarify Song 'Hey Stephen' Isn't About Him
During a virtual appearance Tuesday on The Late Show, the Grammy-winner, 31, clarified to Colbert, 56, that the 2008 track — which she recently re-recorded as part of Fearless (Taylor's Version) — was not inspired by the talk-show host, despite Colbert believing otherwise.
"Listen, I just want to get this out there," said Colbert. "You recently recorded Fearless (Taylor's Version) and I got to ask: is the song 'Hey Stephen' about me?"
"No, Stephen. I first recorded that song in 2008, I think I was like 18," Swift said of "Hey Stephen," which she allegedly wrote about country music singer Stephen Barker Liles, whom she toured with at the time.
"Yes. I was also a younger age," Colbert responded, which led the "Lover" songstress to rattle off Colbert's exact age ("44-years-179-days-old"), much to his surprise.
"Wow that is shockingly suspicious," he said in awe.
"Like I said, I'm a big fan," Swift responded.
Colbert went on to thank Swift for the signed CD she gave him when her original Fearless album dropped in 2008. But when she then revealed the exact address of Colbert's old New York office, Colbert grew even more suspicious.
"Are you sure 'Hey Stephen' isn't about me?" he asked again.
"It's just the power of music Stephen," Swift explained. "Good songs, they just make you feel like it's about you."
Explaining to Colbert that "it was really fun" to record "Hey Stephen" again, Swift whipped out a hand made "mood board" that she claimed inspired her to write the song originally. And much to Colbert's surprise, the mood board featured all photos of him.
"Taylor, those are all pictures of me," Colbert pointed out.
But Swift continued to deny Colbert was behind her song's inspiration. "Don't flatter yourself," she said. "'Hey Stephen' is not about you anymore than my album 1989 is about that year you spent waiting tables on the lunch shift at Scuzzi, an Italian restaurant in the river-north area of Chicago."
As Colbert continued to express shock at the singer knowing so much about his life, she referenced one of her songs from her 2019 album Lover by telling him, "You need to calm down."
"Which by the way," Swift added, "is also not a song about you."
However, Colbert was not convinced and continued to press Swift about "Hey Stephen," leading the singer to hilariously reveal that the song is actually about "master of horror" author Stephen King.
"But Taylor, even if that's the case, you can understand why maybe I thought the song was about me," said Colbert.
"I mean not really, to be honest," Swift responded. "If I was gonna write a song about you, I would just be like ... I mean it's too obvious to call it 'Hey Stephen'. I would call it something more detailed, song writing is all about the details."
Swift then began rattling off numerous facts about Colbert's life in hypothetical song lyrics. And as the talk show host was now more convinced than ever about his theory, Swift signed off with some advice for Colbert. "That seems like a you-thing for you to sort of process," Swift said. "But the thing about that feeling is that I think you should address it within yourself. I think it's something that you should process and then take the feeling that you're feeling and just shake it off."
To mark the end of the funny sketch, Swift received a phone call, apparently from King, 73, and greeted him by saying, "Hey Stephen."
RELATED VIDEO: Taylor Swift Says She Went 'Line By Line' on Every Fearless Song to See What to 'Improve' on Re-Record
Swift released the first re-recording of her six albums with her previous label Big Machine Group last week. The new Fearless album's version includes six never-before-released tracks that Swift wrote during the same time but were scrapped from the original album.
In November 2020, Swift was legally allowed to re-record her first five albums, which Scooter Braun gained ownership of last year following his $330 million deal with Big Machine Label Group. Swift previously spoke out after Braun sold her masters to a company called Shamrock Holdings for $300 million.
Since leaving Big Machine, Swift signed with Republic Records and Universal Music Group in an agreement to own the rights to her music going forward. In 2019, she released Lover, followed by her two pandemic albums folklore and evermore in 2020.