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Label Boss Calls Taylor Swift "a Voice of a Generation" in Grammy Backlash

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Feb. 5 2010, Published 3:39 p.m. ET

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The head of Taylor Swift's record label is defending the country music singer after she was criticized for her Grammy night performance.

"She is the voice of this generation. She speaks directly to (her fans), and they speak directly back to her," said Big Machine Records CEO Scott Borchetta in a phone interview to the Associated Press.

"This is not American Idol. This is not a competition of getting up and seeing who can sing the highest note. This is about a true artist and writer and communicator. It's not about that technically perfect performance."

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Borchetta said he felt the need to defend Taylor, who won four Grammy awards on Sunday night, because the criticism was "just over the top."

"It's that classic thing that critics do of building something up and then wanting to tear it down," he said.

Taylor and Stevie Nicks rehearsed together twice at the Staples Center in Los Angeles in front of an audience and Entertainment Weekly wrote of the rehearsal, "The two women's voices complemented each other nicely on the harmonies of Fleetwood Mac hit 'Rhiannon.'"

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But on Sunday night's Grammy show, Borchetta said Taylor had a technical issue that made her worry about her performance.

"We had a volume problem in the ear. So, she was concerned that she wasn't able to hear everything in the mix," Borchetta said.

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"That's just part of live TV ... So you're going to have difficulties on occasion. Unfortunately, on one of the biggest stages, we did have a technical issue. She couldn't hear herself like she had in rehearsal."

Critics savaged Taylor's performance: The Washington Post quipped: "To borrow a phrase from Montgomery Burns, it was more 'off-key caterwauling.'" and EW.com said: "There's no doubt that someone was badly off-key.... I'm afraid my money's on Taylor."

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Borchetta has a final challenge to any naysayers. "If you haven't seen her live performance, you're welcome to come out as my guest to a Taylor Swift show and experience the whole thing, because it's amazing," he said. "There's a reason tickets are selling like they are."

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