Taylor Swift took a seat on a bar stool on stage at the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, where she played early in her career and was ultimately discovered. The rest, of course, is history.
It was a surprise, unannounced performance, so only a crowd of around 40 was seated when she popped onto the stage.
Scott Borchetta first saw Swift there as a teenager and together they formed Big Machine Records.
Country songwriter Craig Wiseman invited Taylor to perform during his headline show. Wiseman and Swift have known each other since meeting at a charity show when she was a teenager, according to The New York Post.
She belted out her hits “Shake It Off,” “Love Story” and “Better Man.” She wrote the latter for country stars Little Big Town, for which they won a Grammy.
“I wanted to say a big thank you to the Bluebird Cafe,” she told the audience.
“I think any songwriter in town would echo my sentiments and say that this is kind of the only place where this exists – this particular place where you get to come and hear the writer’s take on the songs they’ve put out into the world,” she added.
Taylor’s performance was also filmed for a documentary to mark the cafe’s 35th anniversary.
Although it goes without saying, Jack Antonoff, who co-wrote six songs on Taylor’s latest album reputation said Taylor always puts her “heart and soul” into her music.
“The sessions were just her and I. She would come over to my apartment, and we would talk and eat and talk more, and the things we talked about turned into songs. She is great at remembering the heart and soul of the process … But she’s really great at knowing what it’s about: talking about what the hell is going on in your life and somehow finding a way to take that exact emotion and make a song out of it. That was the theme of those sessions, ‘Let’s just tell this story, whatever that story is, because that’s the whole point.'”
Swift wore black turtleneck with her hair in a ponytail and looked more suited for a Greenwich Village jazz club. But she was all pop, when she picked up an acoustic guitar and started playing.
Swift jokingly reminded Wiseman he had passed on an offer to co-write “Love Story” with her, letting a huge payday slip through her fingers.
Swift will hit the road to support her latest album in May.
Check out her performance below, shot by a fan and posted on YouTube.