If someone doesn't know who Taylor Swift is, they are living under a rock. Taylor Alison Swift was born on December 13, 1989 in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania. Well known for her personal song lyrics and strong connections to fans, Taylor Swift has sold over 26 million records worldwide, has her own perfume called Wonderstruck, has over 24 million followers on Twitter, has won 150 awards including 7 Grammy Awards and is estimated to be worth over $165 million. She's released four studio albums, a holiday album and has been in the movies Valentine's Day
and The Lorax
. Taylor is also a well known philanthropist and has worked with charities including: The Red Cross, St. Jude's Children's Hospital, Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network and Stand Up to Cancer.
Widely recognized, Taylor leads a high profile personal life and her relationships often come under fire. Of the 6 guys that she has dated in the past 5 years, many could name at least two or three. Although Taylor writer about her relationships, she never openly acknowledges who a song is about, although she does sometime leave hints in her lyrics. Often unnecessarily, she is a target of humor for her dating life and many people tend to assume that she's dated more people than she actually has. Like it or not, Taylor's personal life is always a topic of gossip.
Despite everything, Taylor is still first and foremost a singer and songwriter and has an amazing journey to get to where she is today. Her success in the music industry is remarkable and continues to amaze many.
Taylor started an interest in music very young, at only nine she took up musical theater and performed in different productions at the Berks Young Theatre Academy. In addition to these performances she traveled to Broadway often to take vocal and acting lessons. Sometime later country music caught her interest and devoted her time to it, going around and preforming anywhere and everywhere she could. Until, finally, at the age of 11 she won a talent competition and had the chance to appear once as an opening act for country music artist Charlie Daniels. It was a big year for Taylor as she forced her parents to drag her down to Nashville to leave her demo CDs with record labels, trying to get a record deal. She was rejected every time.
With so much ambition, Taylor was often excluded from her peer groups. Schoolmates often bullied her about her talent and love of country music. This bullying inspired her songwriting as a way to cope and as she started to learn guitar, she put her skills together. It paid off, at 14 she was granted an artist development deal with RCA Records and her parents moved the whole family to Nashville so that Taylor could follow her dreams and her life would significantly improve from that point on.
Her songwriting continued to improve as she had writing sessions with many experienced songwriters during the development deal. So much improvement was seen that Taylor, in the same year, would be hired by Sony as the youngest ever songwriter after they heard her preform at a Songwriter's Circle showcase in New York.
At just fifteen, Taylor ditched her development deal because they wanted her to wait until she was 18 to release an album. However, Taylor knew that she was ready for more, and split with her manager at the time to start elsewhere. Her break came just a year later as part of an industry showcase at Bluebird Cafe, where Scott Borchetta was instantly interested. Brochetta was starting his own record label and though it wasn't up and going yet, Taylor signed with Big Machine Records. It was the company that would help her produce her debut album, Taylor Swift
. A country-pop album in which she wrote three songs alone and co-wrote all the others.
Taylor, now 16, spent half of 2006 doing radio tours to get her album played. Her ambition to succeed lead her to bake cooks and give painted canvases to the stations who did play her music. On top of her radio tour, she went on many different television shows. All her work paid off and her debut single, "Tim McGraw", was very well received as well all four singles released in 2007 and 2008. These singles, "Teardrops on My Guitar", "Our Song", "Picture to Burn", and "Should've Said No" found homes on the Billboard Hot Country Charts.
In it's first week of release, Taylor Swift
sold 39,000 copies. By 2011, the album would have sold over 5 and a half million copies around the world (including one to this girl for Christmas in 2006). The album would get her the CMA Horizon Award as Best New Artist, AMA Favorite Country Female, the Academy of Country Music Awards's Top Female Vocalist, and a 2008 Grammy nomination as Best New Artist.
Taylor toured to support her album and played her own songs as well as covers of popular songs from artists including Beyonce, Rhianna and Eminem. In order to connect to her fans, she'd stay at meet-and-greets with fans for up to four hours and often connected with fans via Myspace. In further attempts to establish herself in the country music world, she was an opening act for many different country music stars. Some of the tours she opened for include: 9 dates on the 2006 Rascal Flatts tour, 20 dates on the 2007 George Strait tour, and select dates on the joint Tim McGraw and Faith Hill Soul2Soul II Tour.
In 2008, Taylor released her second album Fearless
. Of the 13 songs on the album, Taylor wrote 7 alone and co-wrote the others. The album was released to positive reviews and established Taylor as a successful crossover success, increasing her fanbase. The album was number one on the Billboard 200 at its' debut, with a staggering sales of 592,304. Since then, it has sold over 8 and a half million copies around the word and became the top-selling album of 2009. In addition, she'd become the 2009 Billboard Artist of the Year and Fearless
would be the best selling country album of 2008 and 2009.
The singles released from the album: "Love Story", "White Horse", "You Belong With Me", "Fifteen" and "Fearless", all had great success. In fact, the music video of "You Belong With Me", made her the first country artist to ever win an MTV Video Award. This award show would further help catapult young Swift into a household name, with the infamous Kanye West incent, where the rapper interrupted her acceptance speech to say that Beyonce's video was better. The two would make up at a later date, but Taylor would go on to write a song about the incident entitled "Innocent". Fearless
became her first headlining tour where she played 105 dates with 15 outside of North America. The tour was a success and grossed in over $63 million with over 1 million fans in attendance. During the tour she'd be joined by other big names including: John Mayer, Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, and Kellie Pickler. In addition to her own tour, Taylor was also a supporting act for Keith Urban and his Escape Together World Tour.
Taylor would win four Grammys in 2010 post-Fearless
, including Album of the Year and Best Country Album. The win made her the youngest artist to ever win Album of the Year. The other two awards were for Best Country Song ("White Horse") and Best Female Country Vocal Performance. More than wins came from the 2010 Grammay awards though as, during her onstage performance with Stevie Nicks, she had a very off-key performance that many would say killed her career. Luckily, an off night did not kill Taylor's career and the rude remark from a critic who said otherwise would inspire "Mean".
2010 brought Taylor's third album, in which all 12 songs were written by Swift alone. This album pushed past her other two and continued new musical styles for Taylor, while sticking with some of the more traditional styles along the way. She worked on promoting the album with talk shows, morning shows and even gave a series of free 'mini-concerts' in some pretty strange places, including a lounge at JFK airport and an open bus on Hollywood Boulevard. Her hard work certainly paid off as the record had opening sales of over 1,000,000 copies and is one of only 16 albums in all of US history to sell a million copies in a week. Currently, the album has sold more than 6 million copies world wide.
The album brought six singles in 2010 and 2011: "Mine", "Back to December", "Mean", "The Story of Us", "Sparks Fly" and "Ours". Each was met with success and "Mean" would go on to win the Grammy Awards for Best Country Song and Best Country Solo Performance. Ironically, since it was the song inspired by the criticism from the Grammy performance that she'd given the previous year. In her acceptance speech, Swift acknowledged this by remarking, "There's nothing like writing a song about someone who's really mean to you and makes you life miserable, and then winning a Grammy for it."
From 2011 to early 2012, Taylor set off on a world tour for Speak Now that would be 111 dates, including seven shows in Asia, twelve shows in Europe and twelve shows in Australia. In the North American tour, she often had other famous guests appear to sing, including: Selena Gomez, Nicki Minaj, Usher, Hayley Williams, Jason Mraz, and Kenny Chesney. Also unique to this tour, she wrote song lyrics on her arm from various artists as a sort of 'mood ring' to how she was feeling. In addition, during her North American tour she'd always cover a song from an artist that came from around that city to allow tribute and spontaneity.
During 2011 Taylor, besides winning numerous other awards, composed two different songs for The Hunger Games Companion Soundtrack. "Safe & Sound", Taylor co-wrote with T-Bone Burnett and The Civil Wars and was released as the lead single from the album, selling 1.4 million copies in the U.S. alone as of January 2013. Her second song, "Eyes Open", was written by Taylor alone and got a nomination at the Golden Globes for Best Original Song.
Taylor's latest album, titled Red
was released in 2012. Of the 16 songs, she wrote 9 alone and co-wrote the other 7 with various songwriters. The album has a lot of experimentation with new styles of music that Taylor had previously not adventured in, including dubstep and dance-pop. Although she tried more new things, some songs still are still close to the heart that started in Taylor Swift
. Mixed between slow songs and dance songs, there is something for everything. The album was met to acclaim by critics and sold over 1.2 million copies in it's first U.S. week (the second highest debut for a female artist, ever). To top it off, by just January 2013, the album sold almost 5.4 million copies worldwide.
Before release, Taylor released four promotional singles on iTunes, one each week leading up to the release date: "Begin Again", "Red", "I Knew You Were Trouble", and "State of Grace". The album has officially released three singles, including two that were upgraded from promotional singles: "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together", "Begin Again", and "I Knew You Were Trouble". The fourth single, "22", is due to be released soon. All the singles have done well, "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" has become a worldwide success and topped iTune charts all over the world, as well as Taylor's first Billboard Hot 100 chart-topper, jumping from 72nd to 1st in just one week. Meanwhile, "I Knew You Were Trouble" became one of the highest charting singles in the UK and the US from Taylor. All the singles reached to the top 15 at least in the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Taylor has already announced a 70 date North American tour for Red
that will take place from March to September 2013. Joining her on tour will be Ed Sheeran, who is opening for her as well as singing with her, as he did on the Red
song, "Everything Has Changed". The tour sold out many venues including two shows at the L.A. Staples center in one minute, Toronto is five minutes, two D.C. shows in five minutes, a Detroit show in ten minutes and two Atlanta shows in five minutes. In response, she's added more dates to a few venues.
No one knows where an artist's career is going to take them or how their life will change over the years, but Taylor Swift has an amazing position right now and I believe as long as she continues to produce music, she'll continue to succeed. Her real life approach to dealing with music and fans has kept her grounded and in the right with fans. She's undeniably successful and talented, and while all popular things will face adversity, Taylor will continue to shine with her sparkly personality and masterful songwriting.