Taylor Swift’s songs are confessional enough to be dramatic monologues–and now they are. Actress Nina Millin performs two of Taylor Swift’s songs—“Mean” and “Should’ve Said No”—in what she calls “Swiftalogues.”
This isn’t the first time the Los Angeles-based actress, who has appeared in television shows like CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Gang Related, and Bad Judge and will be seen in the pilot for the upcoming USA Network series Colony, has turned to a pop star for monologue material. Last year, she posted a series of videos dubbed Beyoncélogues, which found her performing the hell out of Beyoncé tracks including “Irreplaceable.”
The Beyoncélogues went viral and caught the attention of Queen Latifah, who had Millin perform one on her daytime talk show, and Audie Cornish, who interviewed Millin for NPR’s All Things Considered.
Currently, the videos are featured in a multi-media art exhibit in Aarhus, Denmark called “Let’s Go Oh So Yolo Pop.”
The actress was inspired to interpret Beyoncé’s lyrics in her own way after a karaoke-night fail. “One night I was out singing karaoke with some friends, and I attempted to sing a Beyoncé song. I could barely make it through. She isn’t called The Queen for no reason, you know? So I figured if I couldn’t sing them, I would have to find another way to perform them. The best way for me was to recite the lyrics in a dramatic, monologue form,” Millin says. “When I really started to study her lyrics, I felt as if I was reading Shakespeare. So I approached them that way.” Doing the monologues also seemed to satisfy her inner theater geek.
Millin decided to delve into Swift’s tunes after she was invited back on Queen Latifah’s show last year to perform a dramatic monologue based on Swift’s ‘Shake It Off.’ “Working on the Beyoncélogues was honestly such a blast. I knew, eventually, I would be inspired to find another singer/songwriter. Then when Queen Latifah had me on her show the second time to perform ‘Shake it Off,’ it lit a similar spark in me,” Millin says. “I was excited to dive into Taylor Swift’s lyrics and discover new characters.”
For the Swiftalogues as well as her other dramatic pop monologues, which also includes last year’s Yulelogue take on Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas,” Millin works on creating a character for several days, then meets up with the director who is going to shoot that particular performances for rehearsals before the final video is shot. (While Sarah Schaefer directed Beyoncélogues, Molly Prather handled the Swiftalogues, and Todd Berger directed the one Yulelogue.)
“Taylor Swift writes honestly and straight from her heart. Narrowing it down to a couple of songs wasn’t easy. Ultimately, I chose these two because they resonated with me personally,” Millin says. “Also, I took it as a sign that the director of Taylor’s ‘Mean’ music video—Declan Whitebloom—was the same director for my Big Lots commercial.”