Taylor Swift

  • Pop and country singer, guitarist and songwriter born in 1989 from West Reading Pennsylvania.
  • Swift started performing in musical theater productions at the age of nine. She dreamed of acting on Broadway, and she traveled to New York for auditions and to take acting and vocal lessons. Soon, she took a liking to Shania Twain’s music, and she shifted towards country music. At eleven, she traveled to Nashville to submit demo tapes of her singing country covers, but no one showed interest in her. The following year, she learned to play the guitar, and she started writing her own songs. Her parents connected her with a talent agency in 2003. The agency landed Swift some modeling jobs and promoted her original songs at a record label showcase. This led to a development deal, and at 14 years old, the family moved to Nashville.
  • She began to work with Nashville songwriters, co-writing songs while in high school. In 2005, she was discovered at an industry showcase at a Nashville club and she was signed to a recording contract. In 2006, her debut album, the self-titled Taylor Swift was released. It was a huge success – peaking at #5 on the Billboard 200 album chart, it remained on the chart for 157 weeks – longer than any other album during the 00s. Certified 7x platinum, it included five top 40 hits on the Hot 100 chart, two of which were #1 on the country chart – Our Song and Should’ve Said No. With Our Song, she became the youngest person ever to write and sing a #1 country song by herself.
  • In 2007, a Christmas compilation was released. In 2008, an EP was released that summer, and later that year, her second studio album was released – Fearless. It was certified diamond (10x platinum) – her highest selling album. It was her crossover breakthrough – its country pop appeal would help define country music sound for the next decade. Three singles from the album would land in the top 10 of the Hot 100 – Love Story (#4), You Belong To Me (#2) and Fearless (#9), with the first two also topping the Country chart.
  • During the 10s decade, she released five albums, each progressing away from country toward pop music to electro-pop. The albums were huge successes – Speak Now was 6x platinum, Red was 7x platinum and 1989 was 9x platinum, and her other two albums were multi-platinum – in a time where very few albums sold due to streaming. With her 1989 album (released in 2014), her songs were no longer charting on country charts. But she was dominating the Hot 100, Adult Contemporary and Dance charts. She had 18 top 10 hits during the decade, with five songs topping the chart – We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together, Shake It Off, Blank Space, Bad Blood (featuring Kendrick Lamar) and Look What You Made Me Do – and four more songs peaking at #2.
  • In 2020, Swift released two albums created during the COVID shutdown – folklore and evermore. They had a completely different feel to them – no longer pop anthems, the songs were mellow indie/alternative folk ballads. folklore was universally praised – many listed it as the best album of the year, including Rolling Stone, Time, USA Today and Variety. Each album had a single top the Hot 100 chart – Cardigan from folklore and Willow from evermore. Do yourself a favor – listen to folklore. It is a masterpiece.
  • Swift was embroiled in conflict with her former record label over ownership of the masters of her first six albums. She attempted to purchase them for years, but terms could not be agreed to. Subsequently, the label sold the rights to a third party. Swift responded by announcing that she would re-record all of the albums and re-release them as her own version. The first, titled Fearless (Taylor’s Version), will be released in April 2021. It includes all the original songs, plus six more that were scrapped from the original album. I bet it will be VERY successful.
  • Swift is a cultural phenomenon. She has over 150 million followers on Instagram (ranking her #12) and 88 million Twitter followers (ranking her #6). She is a fashion icon, as noted by publications like Elle, Vogue and People. She has won awards for her philanthropy, donating millions to various causes. She has numerous endorsements, a line of fragrances, and a clothing line.
  • In 2019, she was named Artist of the Decade by the American Music Awards, and Billboard named her Woman of the Decade. She won 11 Grammy awards, and she is the only woman to win Album of the Year three times, for Fearless, 1989 and folklore. Her Red and 1989 albums both are on Rolling Stone’s Greatest Albums of All Time list (#99 and #393 respectively), and she is on their Greatest Songwriter of All Time list – the youngest person on the list. She ranked eighth on Billboard’s Greatest Artists of All Time list in 2019. She has had 129 singles in the Hot 100 – fourth most of any artist. She was the first artist ever to have an album and a song both debut at #1 on the Billboard 200 and Hot 100 charts on the same date – she did it twice, when folklore debuted at #1 and Cardigan debuted at #1 on the Hot 100 in August 2020, and then when nevermore debuted at #1 and Willow debuted at #1 on the Hot 100 in December 2020. She is the only artist ever to have four albums sell over 1 million copies within one week.
  • Swift is supremely talented, taking it to the highest level since she writes (or co-writes) literally everything she records. I love the indie-sounding Taylor. At the 2021 Grammy awards, she performed a montage of three of her songs from her two albums released in 2020. Watch this performance of Cardigan/August/Willow.

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