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Taylor Swift just released her Red (Taylor’s Version) album with a newly added song, “Ronan.”
Ronan’s mother, Maya Thompson, is credited as a co-writer on the track.
Here’s what to know about Ronan Thompson, the inspiration behind the ballad.
Taylor Swift’s Red (Taylor’s Version) was just released with an additional song that didn’t appear on the original album. “Ronan” is a song Taylor wrote around ten years ago that has only just now found its place in her latest release. But who was Ronan, and why did Taylor add a song about him to her album?
“Ronan” is a ballad about Ronan Thompson, a three-year-old boy who sadly passed away in May 2011 after a battle with neuroblastoma, a type of cancer. Taylor was inspired to write the song after reading a blog called Rockstar Ronan written by Ronan’s mother, Maya Thompson, according to Billboard.
The song “Ronan” is written from Maya’s perspective. Taylor originally performed it at a Stand Up to Cancer telethon in 2012, and “Ronan” was only available to download on iTunes for a short time after that.
Now, as well as appearing on Taylor’s latest album, “Ronan” also has a brand new lyric video filled with photos and videos of Ronan, per People.
When Taylor thought about including the song on Red (Taylor’s Version), she reached out to Thompson first. In an email, Taylor wrote, “I’ve recently completed the re-recording of my 4th album, Red,” according to one of Thompson’s recent blog entries.
“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,” Taylor continued.
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“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.”
Thompson agreed and is currently credited as a co-writer on the track, per Billboard. “I tried my best to articulate how much this meant to me through my tears, but there are not enough words in the English language that will ever be able to appropriately convey my feelings about this,” she explained on her blog.
“Taylor has anchored you to this world so you will never be lost, and now she has ensured you will forever be safe in a new, permanent home,” Thompson wrote to Ronan on her blog. “She is once again going to give a voice to the often voiceless, the bereaved parents of the world. ‘Red (Taylor’s version)’ will be out November 19th and on that album, there will be you.”
To end her post, Thompson replied directly to Taylor. “Thank you for keeping Ronan safe. Thank you for never forgetting him. Thank you for breaking rules and breaking free,” she wrote.
This is how I’ll be all day. I just listened AND watched Ronan, Taylor’s version. I couldn’t tell you about the music video until now. It is beyond perfection and I can’t wait for you all to see it. @taylorswift13 You are one of the greatest loves of my life. TY for loving him. pic.twitter.com/MKDGmV67rH
— Mama Maya (@rockstarronan) November 11, 2021
“Thank you for that heart of yours that is made of pure gold. You are a constant source of inspiration to me in so many areas of my life, and there is nobody in the world I would rather have Ronan with than you.”
Ronan’s memory lives on in The Ronan Foundation. The organization’s “mission is to change the world of childhood cancer by funding innovative research for more effective, less toxic treatments.”