Taylor Swift and her publicist of nearly seven years are parting ways, Billboard has learned.
Paula Erickson, whose Nashville-based Erickson Public Relations has handled the singer’s press since 2007, informed the Swift management team that she is resigning come mid-March. According to a source, Swift has her sights set on bringing all PR efforts in-house to the management company.
Erickson started handling Swift, 24, as the country star’s debut album in 2006 was about to cross the million-sales mark and continued on through 2012’s Red, which sold 1.2 million in its first week (according to Nielsen SoundScan). A new Swift album is expected in late 2014.
During Erickson’s tenure, Swift’s high-profile TV bookings have included hosting duties on Saturday Night Live, and performances at the Grammys, the MTV Video Music Awards and many country awards shows.
Although seven years can seem like a lifetime in the music business, a handful of veteran reps count long relationships with their clients. Among them: Liz Rosenberg, with Madonna since the early 1980s; Marilyn Laverty, Bruce Springsteen’s rep for just as long; and Larry Solters, The Eagles’ publicist for several years during the ’70s and from 1994 until today.
Offers one high-ranking PR executive: “Taylor will have her pick of top-shelf publicists, but the challenge is finding that person you know and trust. Bringing PR in-house assures that person is directly involved in advising on what needs to be done and what doesn’t.”
The split marks the second recent high-profile publicist-artist breakup. On Feb. 27, The Hollywood Reporter confirmed that Drake and ID Public Relations had parted ways following Drake being bumped from the cover of Rolling Stone.
Nashville is more than the heart of Taylor Swift’s business, it’s her home. But the city she came to as 13-year-old aspiring singer has grown far beyond its musical roots; it’s now an economic and cultural powerhouse. TIME’s Alex Rogers spoke to Swift about her favorite city for this week’s magazine feature which looks at the unique alchemy that makes Nashville both a classic American city and a modern success story. Here are excerpts of their conversation.
TIME: Why did you decide to live in Nashville?
SWIFT: I decided to move to Nashville when I was about 10 years old. I was obsessed with watching biography TV shows about Faith Hill and Shania Twain, and I noticed that both of them went to Nashville to start their careers. From that point on, I began relentlessly nagging, begging, and pleading with my parents to take me on a trip there. When I was 11, my mom took my brother and me to Nashville on spring break and we drove up and down Music Row. She would wait in the car as I scampered into record labels one by one, handing my demo CD to the receptionists. I remember thinking it was so odd and wonderful that all of these important record labels were all on one street, most of them in small buildings and old houses. I remember being charmed by how kind people were to strangers and newcomers like us. We took more and more trips to Nashville as time went by, and when at 13, I was offered a development deal by a major record label, my parents gave in and we moved from Pennsylvania.
TIME: Have you ever considered moving your operations to L.A. or New York?
SWIFT: I love L.A. and New York and I spend a lot of time there promoting albums and doing photo shoots. I’ve been lucky enough to find friends who live in New York, L.A., and Nashville, so none of those cities ever feel foreign or lonely. Choosing to have my management company based in Nashville just made sense because my family is there as well as my record label. I never think about moving home bases. It’s hard to describe why you consider a town your home base, except that when people ask me “Where’s home?”, I don’t even think before I say “Nashville.”
TIME: How much time do you spend in Nashville?
SWIFT: I spend as much time in Nashville as I can. The cool thing about spending time in Nashville is that no one knows when I’m there. In New York and L.A., there are photographers waiting on the street, and it seems like every errand I run is photographed and documented. You don’t see as much evidence of me spending time in Nashville, because I’m not being photographed at the grocery store. I’m just able to wander around the grocery store and make casual conversation with the girl standing next to me in the produce aisle.
TIME: How has Nashville changed over the years?
SWIFT: Nashville has changed so much since I moved here almost ten years ago. It’s become a popular, trendy place to live for families and young professionals. It’s become a well-known music hub for genres other than just country. There are now fantastic, highly acclaimed restaurants and top of the line hotels. New high-rise buildings have popped up every time I come home and I think it’s so awesome that Nashville is booming. The attention it’s getting is well deserved.
TIME: How close is the city’s country music community?
SWIFT: The country music community is the closest musical community I’ve witnessed. I see a different songwriter or producer I’ve worked with almost every time I’m out to dinner. All of the artists know each other. Half of us have opened up for the other half on tour, and we’ve met each other at some radio station or awards show. I could list at least five other country artists who live in my apartment building, so I actually run into them in the elevator on a regular basis.
TIME: What’s your favorite spot in the city?
SWIFT: I absolutely love the parks and trails. There’s a park called Radnor Lake that’s gorgeous on a fall day. I’ve had some of my best days walking there with my dad, talking about life. Another huge priority for me is having a good coffee place to go and hang out. Fido has such a great atmosphere, and you can wander around browsing the shops in Hillsboro Village once you’re there. I love driving past the Bluebird Cafe, because that’s where I played the acoustic show that ended up getting me a record deal. The other areas where I like to go for cute restaurants and shopping are 12th South and East Nashville. Now I have to stop because I sound like I am the president of the Nashville Tourism Board. Sorry, not sorry, I just love it here.
4th July at Taylor’s home in Rhode Island 07/04/13
Taylor Swift - Inside the Entertainer of the Year (x)