But when she spoke, what came out was a croak, a husky voice pitched about two octaves lower than Bea Arthur’s. You’re safe.” Swift had been sick all week, fighting the kind of head cold best treated by curling up in bed with a magnum of Ny Quil. She’d come home to Nashville to wrap up a seven-month-long North American tour in support of her fourth album, Red, which was released in October 2012.“I made these, and I’m super-proud of them,” she said, pushing a plate of cookies across the counter. The concert the previous evening was the final one of the tour, and the toughest. “I found it a little bit easier to sing than to talk, which was, like, a miracle.” In fact, Swift’s cold had provided one of the show’s Kodak moments.For another star, the move would be inconceivable: a mystique-shattering breach of the fourth wall. This spring, a man was arrested in the wee hours of the morning near her estate in Watch Hill, Rhode Island.The singer has two other homes—a modest house, which she calls a “cottage,” in Beverly Hills, and her main residence, a penthouse apartment near downtown Nashville—and her team makes every effort to keep the addresses hush-hush. On a Sunday morning in late September, a 12-year-old girl and her mother, who had flown to Nashville from Connecticut to see Swift’s concert at the Bridgestone Arena the night before, walked into the lobby of her building. Then type your knowledge, add image or You Tube video till "Good-o-meter" shows "Cool" or "Awesome! Don't hesitate to explain what songwriters and singer wanted to say.This was celebrity stalking at its most benign: The mom and daughter had a gift for Swift, a big container of homemade chicken soup, which they left with her doorman. When I arrived at her apartment later that day—my visit was scheduled—she was audibly under the weather.
About halfway through, she settled in front of a microphone to perform her 2010 hit “Sparks Fly.” Suddenly, she thought better of it.
“I’m sorry, guys, but I just really have to blow my nose,” she said.