Taylor Swift and her trusty guitar covered a recent issue of Billboard, which was perfect timing, since ‘Red’ is landing and making all kinds of impact on the music industry.

Dressed like a schoolgirl in blue floods, a white sweater and brown Oxfords, Swift doesn’t look like her usual glam self or like your everyday music superstar on this particular cover. In fact, she looks like she could be an anonymous songwriter, crafting hits for other singers! But we know she is anything but.

In the accompanying feature, the ‘We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together’ singer talks about how much she loves being 22 –which is only for another month, since her 23rd is right around the corner on December 13- and why she chose to work with the songwriters she did.

“For me, being 22 has been my favorite year of my life,” the singer said. “I like all the possibilities of how you’re still learning, but you know enough. You still know nothing, but you know that you know nothing. You’re old enough to start planning your life, but you’re young enough to know there are so many unanswered questions. That brings about a carefree feeling that is sort of based on indecision and fear and a the same time letting lose. Being 22 has taught me so much.”

That’s some deep, forward-thinking going on in Swift’s brain right there.

She also spoke about her ‘Red’ collaborators, saying her rationale and reasoning for who she chose was quite simple. She contacted people she liked.

“The people who inspired me were the people I reached out to,” she confessed. “You look at someone like Ed Sheeran, who comes from such a sincere place as a writer, and his songs move you in every direction emotionally. That’s something I was so inspired by I ended up calling him. Snow Patrol are so absolutely dead-on, they can just hit you when they are singing about loss or longing. I have always been so fascinated by how (producer) Max Martin can just land a chorus. He comes at you and hits you and it’s a chorus — all caps, with exclamation points. Dan Wilson, back to his Semisonic days, has been a huge inspiration. When your inspirations become your collaborators, it becomes something really true to the music that you like.”

Swift also addressed the yearning, tugs-at-your-heart-strings ballad ‘Sad Beautiful Tragic,’ referring to it as “really close to my heart.”

Swift further explained the inspiration, revealing, “I remember it as after a show and I was on the bus thinking about this relationship that ended months and months before. The feeling wasn’t sadness and anger or those things anymore. It was wistful loss. And so I just got my guitar and I hit on the fact that I was thinking in terms of rhyming; I rhymed magic with tragic, changed a few things and ended it with what a sad beautiful tragic love affair. I wanted to tell the story in terms of a cloudy recollection of what went wrong. It’s kind of the murky gray, looking back on something you can’t change or get back.”

Taylor Swift really mines the contents of her heart for her music. That’s why the result is always so stunning.