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Taylor Swift impersonator on the star’s ‘SNL’ performance: ‘I was sobbing and I know I wasn’t alone’

This was an excellent weekend to be a Taylor Swift fan. Not only did she release the album “Red (Taylor’s Version)” on Friday but she followed that the next evening with an epic 10-minute performance of “All Too Well” on “Saturday Night Live.”

For Swift’s avid base, the new content — a re-recording of her 2012 album that features a host of unreleased songs — generated buzz galore. For Texas-based Swift impersonator Lauren Corzine, the action provided yet another memorable moment to add to her arsenal as leader of the all-Swift tribute act Reputation.

Based in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Reputation formed last year and has been gigging regularly ever since, Corzine says on the phone from her home in the Rio Grande Valley. The self-described Swiftie, who has internalized the singer’s onstage mannerisms and style, is a ringer for the superstar. The band covers Swift’s work from across her catalog, including “Red” showstoppers “I Knew You Were Trouble” and “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.”

Corzine spoke with The Times about Swift’s stellar weekend, and how it will affect her performances and Reputation’s repertoire going forward. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.

What are your strategies for becoming Taylor Swift onstage?
Being a tribute artist has been a new thing for me. You study Taylor’s movements — the way she plays guitar, the way she looks over to the side, the way she laughs and the way she talks — in order to act like her onstage. That’s one thing. But I really try to embody the spirit of Taylor. She’s very kind and very generous at her shows. And when I’m around other Swifties, I do feel that Taylor has sent out this vibe that we are a family. I try to represent that as much as I can and try to be encouraging to young girls as well. I think that’s a really big part of Taylor Swift’s image, and that’s what I really want to embody.

I respect Taylor so much, and I grew up with her. It’s an honor to be able to represent her the best that I can. And I’m trying to get better. Every show, I try to study more or get a new outfit or sing like her a little bit more, just so I can best mimic her to people who love her. I know that me playing her is not nearly as great as being her, but I want to get as close as I can.

Lauren Corzine impersonates Taylor Swift as part of Dallas-Fort Worth tribute band Reputation.

(Chris McIuan)

Have the concerts been well-received?
The first show I did as Taylor Swift as Reputation, I was not expecting that crowd. We’re talking all ages and such a diverse crowd — all walks of life. There’s a Swiftie in everybody, and doing the shows that we’ve been doing, I really believe that, especially in an area like Dallas. I was amazed at the amount of people who showed up to hear Taylor songs. It’s the magic of the Swift, actually.

And everybody knows all the words.
Like Bible verses, honestly. It’s funny, because I meet people who say, “I don’t really know Taylor Swift” or “I don’t really like Taylor Swift,” but it turns out that they do know a couple of Taylor songs, because her songs are always playing in stores — or anywhere in public. Everybody knows at least one or two Taylor songs. They just don’t know it. They have an inner Swiftie. We just have the tap into it.

What does “Red” mean to you?
“Red” is the definition of my high school years. It came out when I was a sophomore, so 10 years ago. When I was streaming “Red (Taylor’s Version)” for the first time, it was so nostalgic. I have memories attached to these songs. I know what dance I was at. I know whose car I was in with my best friends.

On top of that, it’s really cool listening to “Taylor’s Version,” because she owns them now. As an aspiring musician, singer and songwriter, [I admire that] she paved the way for so many women in music. So that’s a big deal for me to know that she owns these masters, that she pays her own way. She wrote these songs. She produced these songs. She’s her own creative director.

Have you been talking with your band about which of the new “Red (Taylor’s Version)” vault songs you might add to the set? Maybe the 10-minute version of “All Too Well”?
Oh, my God. I want to add that to the set so bad. I love “All Too Well.” I’m not alone in that. Everybody loves “All Too Well.” But I listened to the 10-minute version, and she really dug into Jake. [Everyone thinks] that song’s about Jake Gyllenhaal, and I just could see Jake and her and these paparazzi pictures that I followed as a teenager. I love the 10-minute version. That’s the first song I listened to, and I was so emotional.

What did you think of her “Saturday Night Live” performance of “All Too Well”?
Of course, I was blown away. Taylor really is the best at evolving as an artist and songwriter, and nobody does it with the amount of intention as she does. It was emotional for me to watch. My favorite thing about Taylor is the way she’s unafraid to tell her story and, in this case, leaves out no details. “All Too Well” was already one of her most personal songs, and the five minutes she added to her new version made it even more so.

I absolutely loved that she had the movie playing behind her on “SNL” — as well as the leaves on the ground. It’s a beautiful song, and the setting made it feel all the more intimate and warm. I could feel her emotions as she was singing and reliving the story with her fans. I was sobbing, and I know I wasn’t alone in that.

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