“I’m still in the ‘Oh my gosh, this is really happening’ phase. After all these concerts that I do, people line up and want me to sign things. I still haven’t been able to grasp the fact that if I sign a piece of paper, it might mean something to somebody.” Taylor Swift
Country singer Taylor Swift enjoyed her first taste of stardom at age 16 with her hit debut single, the coming-of-age anthem "Tim McGraw" (2006), from her multi-Platinum self-titled debut album. The album also produced four more hit singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts: "Teardrops on My Guitar," "Our Song," "Picture to Burn," and "Should've Said No."
In November 2008, Swift released her sophomore album, "Fearless," which debuted at number one on the U.S. Billboard 200, U.S. Billboard Top Country Albums, Canadian Albums Chart, and Canadian Top Country Albums, and has been certified Platinum by RIAA. It spawned the #1 U.S. Country hit single "Love Story" and the #19 U.S. Country "White Horse."
This 5' 11" award-winning singer with long curly blonde hair was one of Maxim magazine's “Hot 100 of 2008.” She once dated singer Joe Jonas.
Childhood and Family:
Born in Reading, Pennsylvania, on December 13, 1989, Taylor Alison Swift grew up in the nearby town of Wyomissing on a Christmas tree farm, where her job was to take Praying Mantis pods off the trees. The daughter of Scott and Andrea Swift, a stockbroker father and stay-at-home mother, Taylor has one younger brother named Austin. She is a good friend of Kellie Pickler.
In July 2008, Swift graduated from Aaron Academy, a Christian school in Hendersonville, TN, which offers a home schooling program.
As a philanthropist, Swift launched a campaign to protect children from online predators in September 2007. The campaign worked in partnership with the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police to distribute Internet safety information and materials to parents and students across the state.
"I was playing the role of Sandy and it just came out sounding country. It was all I had listened to so I guess it was just kind of natural. I decided country music was what I needed to be doing." Taylor Swift (on her early performing experience in a production of “Grease”)
The granddaughter of a professional opera singer, Taylor Swift had been performing since early childhood and joined a local children's theater group for a production of “Grease” when she was 8. At the age of 10, she began to perform around her home town, singing at karaoke contests, festivals, and fairs, and also started writing songs.
“Every weekend I would go to festivals and fairs and karaoke contests; any place I could get up on stage.” Taylor Swift
At age 11, Swift was invited to sing the national anthem "The Star-Spangled Banner" at a Philadelphia 76ers game. The following year, she began to hone in on her guitar skills, playing a 12-string guitar for several hours each day, and writing songs.
"I was playing four hours a day until my fingers were bleeding and my mom called me to dinner." Taylor Swift
After frequent trips to Nashville, Tennessee, where Swift performed at local clubs and wrote songs with some of the town’s best up-and-coming songwriters, Swift's parents planned to accelerate their daughter's career by moving to Hendersonville, a bustling suburb just north of Nashville, when Swift was 14.
While performing at Nashville's songwriters' venue, Bluebird Cafe, Swift was spotted by music industry veteran Scott Borchetta, who signed her to his newly formed label, Big Machine Records.
On October 24, 2006, Swift released her self-titled debut album, which produced five hit singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts: "Tim McGraw" (#6 US Country), "Teardrops on My Guitar" (#2 US Country), the crossover hit "Our Song" (#1 US Country), which made her the youngest artist to be the sole writer of a Number One country song, "Picture to Burn" (#3 US Country), and "Should've Said No" (#1 US Country). The album that made Swift the first solo female artist to score 5 top 10 hits from a debut album peaked at #1 on the country albums charts and was certified triple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.
About her song “Tim McGraw,” Swift explained, “I wrote the song in my freshman year of high school. I was dating a guy who was about to go off to college. I knew we were going to break up so I started thinking of all the things that I knew would remind him of me. Surprisingly, the first thing that came to mind was that my favorite country artist is Tim McGraw.”
On October 14, 2007, Swift released the promotional EP "Sounds of the Season: The Taylor Swift Holiday Collection," which features two original songs co-written by Swift: "Christmases When You Were Mine" and "Christmas Must Be Something More." She then released the EP "Beautiful Eyes" on July 15, 2008. The record debuted at #1 on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart and #9 on the Billboard 200. During this time, her self-titled debut album was #2 the same week, making her the first artist to hold the top 2 positions of the Top Country Albums chart since LeAnn Rimes did so in 1997.
"Fearless," Swift's second studio album, hit the music stores on November 11, 2008. It spawned the singles "Love Story," which rose to the top of the Billboard country charts, and "White Horse," which she performed at the 2008 American Music Awards. The album debuted at #1 on the U.S. Billboard 200, U.S. Billboard Top Country Albums, Canadian Albums Chart, and Canadian Top Country Albums, and was certified Platinum by RIAA.
By this time, Swift had become Billboard's Top Country Artist and Hot Country Songwriter of 2008 and country music's best-selling artist of 2008.
"Everything about this business is exciting to me, whether it's putting on a pretty dress to go to an awards show or putting on a sweatshirt to go into the studio to record." Taylor Swift
American Music Awards: Favorite Female Country Artist, 2008
Academy of Country Music Awards: Top New Female Vocalist, 2008
CMT Music Awards: Female Video of the Year, "Our Song," 2008
CMT Music Awards: Video of the Year, "Our Song," 2008
Teen Choice Awards: Breakout Artist, 2008
Young Hollywood Awards: Superstar of Tomorrow, 2008
BMI: Winning Song, "Our Song," 2008
BMI: Country Song of the Year, "Teardrops on My Guitar," 2008
BMI: Winning Song, "Tim McGraw," 2007
Country Music Association Awards: Horizon Award, 2007
CMT Music Awards: Breakthrough Video of The Year, "Tim McGraw," 2007
Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI): Songwriter/Artists of the Year, 2007
CMT Online Awards: Number 1 Streamed Studio 330 Sessions Video, "Teardrops on My Guitar," 2007