Hey Stephen

Album: Fearless (2008)
Charted: 94
Play Video


  • Taylor Swift explained this song to Philadelphia Magazine: "This is a guy I had a crush on. I wrote about all these reasons he should be with me instead of other girls. [laughs] 'Hey Stephen/I could give you 50 reasons/Why I should be the one you choose/All those other girls are beautiful/But would they write a song for you?' This guy has absolutely no idea I had a crush on him. It's gonna be kind of interesting when he finds out."
  • Country singer Martina McBride's children lend finger snaps at the end of this upright-bass-propelled groove. Taylor Swift explained to That's Country how she got the kids involved: "We were recording at John McBride's (Martina McBride's husband's) studio and he was like, 'My kids are dying to meet you. Do you think that you could say hi to them?' I said, 'Sure, have them come and hang out while we're recording.' So his daughters and their friends from school – there were about ten of them there – they all came into the studio when we were recording "Hey Stephen" and they loved it. They were singing along with it by the end of it."
  • It appears that the subject of this song is singer Stephen Barker Liles of the country music group Love and Theft. Liles first met Swift backstage at an event in 2007. Shortly before being signed, the band was picked to be an opening act for Swift on her 2008 tour. Evidently the vocalist made an impression on her and if he didn't realize it then, the penny probably dropped when Liles got a call from Swift hinting that he was featured on Fearless. He told People Magazine: "It's totally flattering to have somebody write a song like that for you." While Swift won't officially confirm the subject of her song, the words "Love and Theft" are spelled out in code in the song's lyric sheet.
  • Taylor Swift redid the song in 2021 for Fearless (Taylor's Version), her re-recording of her 2008 album. When she appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert to discuss the record, the late night personality questioned whether "Hey Stephen" was written about him, which Swift denied. "It's just the power of music," she said, adding, "Don't flatter yourself."

    Swift continued the sketch holding up a mood board covered in pictures of Colbert's face that she claimed originally inspired the song, Finally, she jokingly revealed that she'd actually penned the tune about novelist Stephen King.

Comments: 5

  • Marivic Mago from Basud Camrines NorteBeautiful.
  • Radu from Reidsville, Ncwhat im not getting is why would anyone dump taylor swift? seriously.
  • Brittany from Atlanta, GaIt's written for Love and Theft's Stephen Barker Liles. She developed a crush after they went on tour with her and that's how this song started.
  • Emily from Around Chicago, IlIn the booklet that comes w/the CD, there are hidden messages in the lyrics. You take all the capital letters and put them in order to spell a phrase. Hey Stephen's message is: LOVE AND THEFT.
  • Ciarra from Lawrenceville, IlIs this song about Stephen Coletti
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Vince Clarke

Vince ClarkeSongwriter Interviews

An original member of Depeche Mode, Vince went on to form Erasure and Yaz.

Bill Withers

Bill WithersSongwriter Interviews

Soul music legend Bill Withers on how life experience and the company you keep leads to classic songs like "Lean On Me."

Bill Medley of The Righteous Brothers

Bill Medley of The Righteous BrothersSongwriter Interviews

Medley looks back on "Unchained Melody" and "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" - his huge hits from the '60s that were later revived in movies.

Roger McGuinn of The Byrds

Roger McGuinn of The ByrdsSongwriter Interviews

Roger reveals the songwriting formula Clive Davis told him, and if "Eight Miles High" is really about drugs.

Mike Campbell

Mike CampbellSongwriter Interviews

Mike is lead guitarist with Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, and co-writer of classic songs like "Boys Of Summer," "Refugee" and "The Heart Of The Matter."

Waiting For The Break of Day: Three Classic Songs About All-Nighters

Waiting For The Break of Day: Three Classic Songs About All-NightersSong Writing

These Three famous songs actually describe how they were written - late into the evening.