Taylor Swift Accepts Prestigious Innovator Award At 2023 iHeartRadio Awards: “I’m Really Flattered”

I’m really flattered by this award so thank you so much to iHeart for giving this to me,” Swift said in her acceptance speech.


Andrew Wendowski


Posted on March 27, 2023

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Taylor Swift; Photo Courtesy of iHeartRadio Music Awards/FOX

Taylor Swift accepted the coveted Innovator Award at the 2023 iHeartRadio Music Awards on Monday (Mar. 27).

Swift was honored with the Innovator Award during the iHeartRadio Music awards at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, marking the first time the award has been given out since 2019.

Swift’s good friend and tourmate Phoebe Bridgers was on hand to present her with the award after sharing the story of how Swift inspired her songwriting.

“When I was little I wanted to be a songwriter. I had lots of big feelings and I wanted to write songs about them, but songs were written by adults about their very adult lives. So, when I started writing I just made stuff up and the songs sucked, I knew that,” Bridgers shared. “I fantasized about the day far in the future when I’d finally have something to say, where I lived a life worth writing a song about.”

Bridgers continued to explain how Swift inspired her songwriting.

“Then one day I was listening to Country radio with my mom and Taylor [Swift] came on. I heard a girl not much older than me singing a song she’d written about her own life and the song was really good. As I grew up, so did Taylor and so did her songs,” Bridgers added. “Gradually my songs started to suck less because instead of trying to sound interesting I just started telling the truth. Taylor has always told the truth. She’s written songs from exactly where she is. Her music shifted genre the same way life does and the same way being 16 is totally incomparable to being 18, 22, 25, 28. I’m grateful to have grown up in a world with Taylor Swift in it or The World: Taylor’s Version.”

Several Celebrities Praised Taylor Swift In A Sizzle Reel At The Show

Following Bridgers introduction, a powerful video that featured celebrities such as Dolly Parton, Selena Gomez, Justin Timberlake, Ed Sheeran, Simu Liu, Simon Biles, and others gushing over the 33-year-old singer/songwriter.

“‘Anti-Hero’ is one of the best pop songs ever written,” Sheeran said. “Her stories are her songs and I think now that’s the norm.”

“She can represent what she’s working through so well,” added Gomez. “Being a role model isn’t something you sign up for, it’s something you inherently you have inside of you, and I think that’s Taylor.”

Taylor Swift Accepted The Innovator Award

Donning a bejeweled black hooded bodysuit, Taylor Swift took to the stage to accept the prestigious honor in front of the star-studded audience at the tenth annual iHeartRadio Music Awards.

“First of all, I love you Phoebe! I love Phoebe, you know that’s my tourmate! Okay, I’m really flattered by this award so thank you so much to iHeart for giving this to me,” Swift began. “And anyone who is a part of that video, that video really blew my mind. So anyone who said nice stuff on that video, I love you, thank you!”

Swift went on to explain that she never thought she would be thought of as an innovator, but as someone who wanted to try new ideas.

“The innovator award… I never, not a single time, woke up in the morning and thought ‘you know what I’m going to do today? I’m going to go innovate some stuff. Things need to be innovated and I’m going to be the one that does it.’ But what I did do was try to make the right decision for me at the time whether or not it had ever been successfully done before,” Swift continued.

“I think that might be the key because often times in any industry people are looking for a precedent or data that shows this idea is a good one or a feasible one. People want an example of something working before… But I think the coolest ideas or moves or choices are the new ones. The ones that set a new precedent and I’m very privileged because my fans have backed me up… like switching genres and re-recording all of my old music.”

Swift Offered Advice To Younger Musicians

She later added, “I do want to say that the thing with these exciting nights and moments and specifically this award that I’m so lucky to have gotten is that they’re shining a light on the choices I made that worked out. Right? The ones that turned out to be good ideas,” she said. “I really, really want everyone to know, especially young people that the 100s or 1000s of dumb ideas that I’ve had are what led me to my good ideas.”

Taylor Swift then gave a piece of advice to the younger generation of musicians.

“You have to give yourself permission to fail,” she added. “I try as hard as I can not to fail because it’s embarrassing, but I do give myself permission to and you should too. Go easy on yourselves and just make the right choices that feel right for you. And someday someone might think that you’ve been innovative. Thank you so much for this.”

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Previous Recipients Of The iHeartRadio Innovator Award

Previous recipients of the iHeartRadio Innovator Award include Pharrell Williams, Justin Timberlake, U2 and Alicia Keys.

Swift was also nominated for seven other awards at the coveted awards ceremony, including 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.

The “Lavender Haze” singer, who recently kicked off her much-anticipated Eras Tour, also holds the record as a solo artist for the most iHeartRadio Music Award wins with 14 trophies.

Who Else Performed Or Appeared At The 2023 iHeartRadio Music Awards?

The 2023 iHeartRadio Music Awards also featured performances from Lenny Kravitz, ICON Award Recipient P!NK, Kelly Clarkson, Keith Urban, Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo, Latto, Muni Long, Cody Johnson and more. Coldplay also performed during the show, live from their Music of the Spheres World Tour stop in Brazil.

Additionally, the star-studded awards show included special appearances by LL Cool J, Cher, Buffalo Bills Damar Hamlin, Donald Faison, H.E.R., Joel McHale, Jordan Davis, Nicole Scherzinger, Nikki Glaser, Phoebe Bridgers, TLC, Vella Lovell, Zach Braff and more.

According to a press release, the tenth annual iHeartRadio Music Awards celebrated “the most-played artists and songs on iHeartRadio stations and the iHeartRadio app throughout 2022, while also offering a preview of the upcoming hits of 2023.”

The two-hour broadcast also featured award presentations in multiple categories, including best lyrics, best music video, best fan army, the social star award, favorite tour photographer, TikTok bop of the year, favorite documentary, favorite tour style, favorite residency and favorite use of a sample. 

Hosted by Lenny Kravitz, the 2023 iHeartRadio Music Awards aired LIVE from Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on Monday, March 27, on FOX at 8/7c. The event was also streamed on iHeartMedia radio stations nationwide and on the iHeartRadio app.

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