The 30-year-old performed a song called “Soon You’ll Get Better,” off of her latest album, Lover, which pays tribute to her mom, Andrea, and her battle with cancer.
Swift has previously admitted she would likely never be able to perform the song live because of its gut-wrenching content.
“It’s just really difficult for me. It was hard to write. It’s hard to sing. It’s hard to listen to for me. But sometimes, music is like that. Sometimes it’s not just about stuff that was pleasant to feel,” she said in an interview earlier this year.
But Saturday night, the Grammy winner shocked fans everywhere with a rendition of the song, which took on a whole new meaning for people around the world who have been affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
In the song, Swift recalls the first time she and her mom visited the doctor.
“The buttons of my coat were tangled in my hair / In doctor’s-office lighting, I didn’t tell you I was scared…”
Instead of sharing any personal words before or after her performance, Swift let the lyrics do all the talking as she played the piano live from her home.
“Ooh-ah, soon you’ll get better / Ooh-ah, soon you’ll get better / Ooh-ah, you’ll get better soon / ‘Cause you you have to,” she tenderly sang the chorus, the lyrics as poignant as ever.
Earlier this year, Swift revealed that while her mother was undergoing cancer treatments, doctors discovered a brain tumor.
“She was going through chemo, and that’s a hard enough thing for a person to go through,” Swift told the magazine. “While she was going through treatment, they found a brain tumor.”
The new diagnosis also led to Swift’s decision to limit her concerts and tour dates for 2020.
“This is a year where I have to be there for my family — there’s a lot of question marks throughout the next year, so I wanted to make sure that I could go home,” she told Billboard in December.
Check out the album version of “Soon You’ll Get Better” below, featuring the Dixie Chicks.