In writing the lyrics, I was partly inspired by the experiences of my life and, in particular, the relentless public scrutiny of my personal life, “clickbait” reporting, public manipulation and other forms of personal criticism. negatives that I learned I just had to get rid of and focus on my music. With “Shake It Off”, I wanted to offer a comedic and uplifting approach to help people feel better about negative reviews through music, dance and the personal independence of letting go of negative reviews.
The lyrics to “Shake It Off” also draw inspiration from commonly used phrases and comments throughout my life. Prior to writing “Shake It Off”, I had heard the phrases “players gonna play” and “enemies gonna hate” said countless times to convey the idea that negativity can or should be ignored. I remember hearing phrases about player play and hating enemies said together by other kids while they were in school in Wyomissing Hills and high school in Hendersonville. These phrases sounded like other commonly used sayings like “don’t hate the playa, hate the game”, “take a chill pill”, and “say it, don’t spray it”. I took inspiration from these commonly used phrases from gamers and haters to create the lyrics “Because gamers gon’ play, play, play, play, play / And the haters gon’ hate, hate, hate, hate, hate.”
I also remember hearing similar phrases from gamers and haters in many songs, movies, and other works before “Shake It Off.” For example, I was in attendance at the 2013 Country Music Awards and heard Eric Church perform his song “The Outsiders”, which includes the lyrics “player gon’ play and haters gon’ hate”.