After 13 years, Taylor Swift is finally setting the record straight: No, her song “Hey Stephen” is not about Stephen Colbert. The 31-year-old singer-songwriter stopped by The Late Show With Stephen Colbert on Tuesday (April 13) to finally break the news to the late-night comedian that he did not inspire the country track.
Or did he? As the two discussed who the real Stephen is, Swift revealed increasingly personal bits of information about Colbert — even unveiling a mood board she covered with pictures of his face — and he started to question the veracity of her claims. In the end, however, she revealed that the song was actually written about prolific horror author Stephen King.
“I’ve never revealed this before to anyone but ‘Hey Stephen’ is about Stephen King,” she said. “He’s amazing. The Dark Tower series changed my life, plus The Shining, The Stand, and don’t even get me started on his short stories. Absolutely luminescent.”
“Hey Stephen” is one of 26 tracks on Fearless (Taylor’s Version), a re-recorded version of her 2008 album, which was released on April 9. Swift is remastering her entire discography up to 2019’s Lover to gain complete ownership of her music after her master recordings were purchased and then sold by her former management. Fearless (Taylor’s Version) is her first fully re-recorded album, but Swift had fans abuzz with theories that her album 1989 might be next in line after dropping multiple references to it during her interview with Colbert.
Speaking to People about the process of re-recording Fearless, Taylor said: “We really did go in and try to create a ‘the same but better’ version. We kept all the same parts that I initially dreamed up for these songs. But if there was any way that we could improve upon the sonic quality, we did.”