Taylor Swift was honored at the 2023 iHeartRadio Music Awards this evening (March 27). The singer-songwriter received this year’s Innovator Award, bestowed upon artists who have “impacted global pop culture throughout their career.” Swift accepted the award onstage at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles from presenter Phoebe Bridgers after a tribute video played with words from Dolly Parton, Justin Timberlake, Selena Gomez, Simone Biles, Ed Sheeran, and others. Watch it happen below.
After telling Bridgers that she loved her and shouting out everyone who contributed to the tribute video, Swift joked that she never woke up in the morning and thought “I’m gonna go innovate some stuff.” She thanked her fans for following her while she switches genres and re-records all of her old music. “I really want everyone to know, especially young people, that the hundreds or thousands of dumb ideas that I’ve had have led me to my good ideas,” she said. “You have to give yourself permission to fail.” She continued:
In her introduction, Bridgers talked about discovering Swift while listening to country radio with her mom. “I heard a girl not much older than me singing a song about her own life, and that song was really good,” she said. “Taylor has always told the truth. She’s written songs from exactly where she is. Her music shifted genre in the same way life does—in the same way being 16 is totally incomparable to being 18, 22, 25, 28. I’m grateful that I’ve grown up in a world with Taylor Swift in it. Or, ‘The World (Taylor’s Version).’”
Past recipients of the Innovator Award have included Pharrell Williams, Justin Timberlake, U2, and Alicia Keys. Swift is being recognized with the accolade just weeks after the opening date of her Eras Tour, which will stretch into August.
In addition to her Innovator Award, Swift was nominated in several categories tonight. She’s up for Song of the Year (“Anti-Hero”), Artist of the Year, Best Lyrics (“Anti-Hero”), Best Music Video (“Anti-Hero”), Best Fan Army, TikTok Bop of the Year (“Bejeweled”), and Favorite Use of a Sample.