Taylor Swift
Source: Getty Images

'Ronan' by Taylor Swift Is a Beautiful Charity Tribute to a Tragic Story

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Nov. 12 2021, Published 11:09 a.m. ET

Since the start of the pandemic, Taylor Swift has been making music at a rapid pace. She released two new albums, and has also started re-releasing new versions of albums she's already recorded for complicated but important reasons. Now, Taylor has debuted "Red (Taylor's Version," which includes some new songs as well as re-recordings of the biggest songs on "Red."

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What does 'Ronan' by Taylor Swift mean?

Among the songs that Taylor has re-released almost a decade after they first debuted is "Ronan," a charity single that was first released in Sept. of 2012. Like many of her songs from this era, "Ronan" is based on a real story, but it has nothing to do with heartbreak or young love. Instead, "Ronan" is the true story of a young boy who died of neuroblastoma in 2011.

taylor swift ronan meaning
Source: Getty Images
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Taylor first wrote the song after reading Maya Thompson's blog. Maya was Ronan's mother, and she wrote about her experience with Ronan from the time he was diagnosed in 2010 through his death. The blog, which was called Rockstar Ronan, continued after Ronan's death as Maya worked through her grief and began raising money and awareness for causes related to childhood cancer.

Taylor wrote the song by pulling quotes from the blog.

Many of the lyrics for "Ronan" are pulled directly from Maya's blog, and she received a co-writer credit on the single. All proceeds from the sale of the song go to fighting cancer.

Maya and Taylor first met in 2011 when Taylor invited Maya to a concert in Glendale, AZ. Maya wrote about the experience on her blog and explained her reaction when Taylor explained that she'd written a song based on her son's story.

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"My calmness soon turned to complete and utter frozen shock when these words came out of her mouth," Maya wrote. "'I wrote a song for Ronan.' The tears started pouring down my cheeks as soon as I heard her say those words. But her words didn't stop there. Not only did she write a song for you, but she wanted to know if it would be alright to perform it on the nationally televised show."

Source: YouTube
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Taylor announced in August that 'Ronan' would be on the re-recorded 'Red.'

In August of 2021, Taylor announced that a re-recorded version of "Ronan" would be a part of "Red (Taylor's Version)," and now, that song is available to listen to. Taylor also wrote to Maya, asking her permission to include the new version.

"I've recently completed the re-recording of my 4th album, 'Red,' Taylor wrote. "It's really exceeded my expectations in so many ways, and one of those ways is that I thought it would be appropriate to add 'Ronan' to this album. 'Red' was an album of heartbreak and healing, of rage and rawness, of tragedy and trauma, and of the loss of an imagined future alongside someone."

I wrote 'Ronan' while I was making 'Red' and discovered your story as you so honestly and devastatingly told it," she continued. "My genuine hope is that you'll agree with me that this song should be included on this album. As my co-writer and the rightful owner of this story in its entirety, your opinion and approval of this idea really matters to me, and I'll honor your wishes here."

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