Taylor Alison Swift is a Grammy-winning, American singer and songwriter. She is one of the top recording artists in pop music. All her music has elements of pop-rock, pop and country, with her foundation being country music. She has made significant milestones in her career, being the youngest songwriter ever to be signed up by Sony/ATV Music Publishing House. Taylor had built her reputation as a country singer, until the year 2014 when she released album '1989'. This has since appeared to change her style of music with most of her songs inkling towards the pop genre. In most of her songs, she sings about her broken relationships and love life.
Taylor Swift was born in Reading, Pennsylvania being named after legendary singer James Taylor. Her early years in life were spent on a farm in Cumru Township in Pennsylvania. She started her preschool in Alevernia Montessori School and advanced to kindergarten in the same school. She later joined Wyndcroft School before her parents relocated to Wyomissing with her then attending Wyomissing Area Junior/Senior High School.
During the summer, she went to her parents’ vacation home in New Jersey and she has said several times that this is where most of her childhood memories were created. Her grandmother played a significant role in inspiring Swift in music, since she was a professional singer at the operas. This provoked a talent in Taylor and at the age of 10 years she started signing at various events locally.
At the age of 11 years, she did ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ during a Philadelphia 76ers game. She participated in many competitions and eventually emerged the winner, when she did her rendition of ‘Big Deal’ by LeAnn Rimes. This presented her with an opportunity to perform the opening act at the Strausstown Amphitheater for Charlie Daniels. She developed a keen interest in country music, which set her apart from her schoolmates.
By the time she was 12 years old, Taylor had begun writing her own songs. She was shown the first three guitar chords by a computer repairman. This was her motivation to write her very first song titled ‘Lucky You’. Her interest in music influenced her move to Nashville at the age of 14 years when she got a deal with RCA Records for her development as an artist. However, she had to leave the label since the company wanted her to wait until she was 18 years old to release her album.
At the age of 15, having left RCA Records, she caught the attention of Scott Borchetta during The Bluebird Café in 2005. Scott was an executive at Dreamworks Records but was in the process of starting his own label. Taylor Swift was one of the first signings of Scott’s label, Big Machine Records.
2006 marked the beginning of Taylor’s career as music artist when she released her debut album in October. Her single ‘Our Song’ made it to the top of the charts. This gave her a great achievement of being the youngest singer to write and sing a #1 country song on the Hot Country Songs chart. During the first week, the album had sold 39,000 copies with lots of positive reviews from fans and music critics in the industry.
Swift’s second album was released on November 11 2008 and was titled ‘Fearless’. ‘Love Story’ was the 2nd best-selling single of all time and was released in September 2008. This song was ranked #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Swift released four more singles between 2008 and 2009 to make the album complete. ‘You Belong with Me’ was the highest-ranking single on the charts on this album with it peaking at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. As for the album, it debuted as the number one album on the Billboard 200 Album Chart. This marked a huge success in Taylor Swift’s career as it became the top selling album in 2009.
‘You Belong with Me’ was voted the Best Female Video and saw Taylor win an MTV Video Music Award. She was the first country singer to win such an award. This award had some drama and controversy as Kanye West interrupted Taylor’s acceptance speech and said Beyoncé should have won. Being a very young artist, she was stunned by West’s actions and failed to continue with her acceptance speech. Kanye was coincidentally taken out of the show. Fortunately, when Beyoncé was named as having the Best Video of the Year, she invited Swift on stage to complete her acceptance speech. Kanye West apologized privately to Swift and also made a public apology when on The Jay Leno Show.
In November 2009, Swift was named the Entertainer of the Year by the Country Music Association. This was quite a huge milestone since she was one of only six female artists to get this recognition and the youngest ever.
In this second album, Taylor Swift wrote 7 songs and co-wrote the other 6 songs with John Rich, Colbie Caillat, Rose and Hillary Lindsey. The album was a combined production effort of Taylor and Nathan Chapman. This album pushed Swift to new heights, with her concert tickets selling out in less than two minutes. She also became the youngest artist to win a Grammy, with her receiving one in 2010 for the ‘Fearless’ album.
‘Speak Now’ was Swift’s third album which was released in 2010. The album was a great success, having sold more than one million copies in the first week and debuting #1 on the Billboard 200 chart. The album had a couple of hit songs such as ‘Sparks Fly’,’Ours’ and ‘Mean’.
She then went ahead to release ‘Red’ in 2012 as her fourth album. The album sold more than one million copies in the first week as well as featuring the hit single ‘We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together’. The Red Tour saw Taylor play 86 dates in Australia, Asia, Europe, New Zealand and North America. There were so many special guests invited during the tour with Ed Sheeran joining her for “Everything Has Changed” in the North American dates. Some of the other special guests featured in the tour were Jennifer Lopez, Carly Simon, Luke Bryan, Train, Flatts, Nelly, Ellie, Goulding, Neon Trees and Sam Smith among others. The tour had a gross income of over $150 million and was attended by over 1.7 million fans.
In 2012, Taylor won several MTV Europe Music Awards, mainly Best Live Act and Best Female. She also won the honours of Best Female Video at MTV Video Music Awards 2013 for ‘I Knew You Were Trouble’. During the 2012 and 2013 American Music Awards, Swift was named the Best Female Country Artist. She also received the Songwriter/Artist Award in 2012 and 2013 at The Nashville Songwriters Association event. She won this for the 5th and 6th years consecutively.
Taylor’s fifth album, ‘1989’ was released on October 27 2014 and it sold over one million copies in the first week. This saw Swift become the first woman in history ever to release three albums that sold more than one million copies. In this album, Swift only wrote one song and co-wrote the other 12 songs with Shellback, Antonoff, Martin, Ali Payami, Imogen Heap and Ryan Tedder. Swift described ‘1989’ as the first official pop album that she released.
Taylor Swift took to the stage for the opening performance at the 58th Annual Grammy Awards ceremony in February 2016 with ‘Out of the Woods’, a track from the ‘1989’ album. She had already received pre-telecast awards for the Best Pop Vocal Album and Best Music Video. She scooped the Grammy Award for Album of the Year and made history as the first woman to win the award two times.
Taylor Swift strives to be a good model for her young fans and enjoys a popularity rating of 80% and 90% public awareness in the United States. Grantland describes Taylor as ‘openly neurotic and dorky’, which is a rare trait in blonde country artists like Carrie Underwood or Faith Hill. She is keen to please her fans and comes with adequate energy to ensure that she leaves the audience satisfied.
When she was profiled by a Rolling Stone journalist in 2009, the journalist noted Swift’s polite manners and said that she had a game face that must be tattooed because it never drops. Taylor considers to have a very high IQ Score. A Hollywood reporter was quoted reporting Swift as the best ‘people person’ since Bill Clinton.
It has been noted that Swift is very ambitious and seems to thrive in anything that she sets her mind to. In 2012, the Vogue cover story described Taylor Swift as funny and clever and seldom bawdy in person.
Taylor Swift started using social media when promoting her album ‘1989’. She used this platform to engage her fans and she invited 100 of them to be the video for her song ‘Shake It Off’. She is also very kind and sent holiday gifts to her fans through the post and also in person which she calls ‘Swiftmas’. She says that her fans are the best and longest relationship that she has ever had. She invites them in to her home in groups for playback sessions of her albums. She is a sociable person and interacts with her fans on social media platforms heavily.
A sundress and cowboy boots were Taylor’s signature look in the initial days of her career. Most of her fans still rock this style of fashion when attending her concerts. For the official occasions, Swift has been known to wear beaded dresses that sparkle. When she cut her bangs for the Vogue cover shoot in 2011, she settled for straightening her hair in the years that followed.
Vogue named Swift as an ‘Icon of American Style’ in 2011. In 2014, she was ranked #1 on the People’s annual best dressed list. She has won a couple of other awards based on her public image like the Woman of the Year award at Elle Style Awards in 2015 and also topped the Maxim’s Hot 100 of the year list.
Swift is an outgoing person and since she is a celebrity, her personal life is usually out in the open. She has been in a number of relationships, most of which have ended up being written about in her songs. From July to October 2008, she dated musician Joe Jonas. She then dated Twilight actor Taylor Lautner from October to December 2009. Swift seemed to have a romantic link with musician John Mayer from the end of 2009 to early 2010. She was in a relationship with actor Jake Gyllenhaal from October to December 2010. After they broke up, they appeared together in the earlier months of 2011. July to September 2012, Taylor Swift was in a relationship with Conor Kennedy, a political heir and then dated One Direction star Harry Styles from October 2012 to January 2013.
For the better parts of 2013 and 2014, Swift was not in any relationship. She cited her unwillingness to attract too much media attention. She also indicated that she felt that by getting into relationships she would weaken her career.
Swift started her relationship with Calvin Harris in March 2015. Calvin is a record producer and DJ from Scotland, UK and the two were ranked as the highest paid celebrity couple by Forbes in that year. On 1st June 2016, they announced the end of their relationship. As of July 2016, Taylor Swift began dating English actor Tom Hiddleston with the pairs romance causing a lot of controversy in the press.
During the 2008 Presidential campaign, she was actively involved in the Every Woman Counts campaign. She supported President Obama and she said that she was glad to see so many people happy with the political decision. This was her very first time to vote. Michelle Obama presented Swift with a Kids’ Choice Award in 2012, which was in recognition of her charity activities. Michelle described Swift as a humble lady who rose to the top of the music industry, but still stays connected to the common person. Swift has described Michelle Obama as a great role model and says that she tries to keep herself informed but doesn’t talk about politics. She says that she is aware that this might influence people.
Taylor Swift currently lives in Manhattan, New York City, USA. She lives in the same Tribeca building as Steven Soderbergh and Orlando Bloom.