Swift was welcomed into the world in 1989 on December 13th two years before her younger brother Austin Swift. She was born and bred in Reading, Pennsylvania. Her mother, Andrea, was a full-time mom and her father, Scott Kingsley, worked as a stockbroker. She spent her formative years on a 15-acre Christmas tree farm, which Taylor explains, was one of the most magical and amazing way to grow up. Her parents were Presbyterians and Taylor along with her brother attended Bible school.
Who would have thought that the little girl who loved horse riding would one day become one of the greatest country singer in America?
Growing up, Taylor’s first love had been horse riding. Her mother put her on a saddle when she was 9 months. Andrea had always wanted her daughter to be a horse rider and so she bought her a small Shetland pony, which was nicknamed Ginger. Taylor would go on to compete in several horse riding events as a child. She enjoyed every bit of it, but she wasn’t so crazy about horse riding like she was about music.
Taylor attended Wyndcroft Elementary, a co-ed private school. She was the kind of kid who loved poetry. She revered great poets like Shel Silverstein and Dr. Seuss. She would write multiple pages of poems about the men, women, boys, girls and monsters that gave her trouble when kids her age could barely muster a line.
By fourth grade, Taylor had won a national poetry contest for the poem Monster in My closet. Her remarkable poetic prowess honed her language skills and according to Taylor, poetry is what turned her into a songwriter- a remarkable one in this case.
Taylor may have burst onto the scene in her teenage years, but her earlier musical background played a key role on her journey to success. She fell in love with country music and would often listen to Patsy Cline’s and Dolly Parton’s music. Genetics also played its role as her grandmother Marjorie Finlay was a professional opera singer who made waves during her time. Her grandmother’s singing thrilled young Taylor, as such Marjorie was one of her first inspirations.
Not only is Taylor pretty, her poetry skills are unmatched
Taylor had grown to be a pretty girl with long blonde hair. Her formidable poetry skills were unmatched. She even landed several lead acting roles in school, but Taylor Swift’s middle school life wasn’t so sweet. She was ostracized by her schoolmates for liking country music in fact, she had no friends.
She took up soccer to salvage her dignity and be more likable among her peers, but sporting was not her forte. She turned a bit inward and began writing songs about her feelings. It was her way of filtering off the world. Taylor got through her awkward phase in middle school knowing she would go back home and work through her pain by writing songs and poems.
By the age of 9, Taylor had taken a deeper interest in music. She travelled regularly to Broadway for voice and acting lessons. She zeroed in on her singing talent by performing in karaokes, contests, fairs, festivals, and coffee houses. At the age of 10, Taylor entered a competition where the winner was to get an opportunity to open for a famous country musician. Week after week Taylor would try out, but she never succeeded.
Her hard work paid off one year later when she got a chance to open for Charlie Daniel after performing LeAnn Rimes’ “Big deal.” She wasn’t doing too bad in Pennsylvania, but Swift’s sight was squarely set on Nashville where her favorite songstresses had risen to fame. At the age of 11, Taylor and her mom took a trip to Nashville. Taylor had hoped she would land a record deal by dropping her demos in famous record labels.
She would knock on every producers’ door telling them “Hi, I’m Taylor, and you should listen to me sing call me!” but despite all her efforts, no one was willing to give her a shot. She went back to Pennsylvania and through the help of a computer repairman, Taylor learnt how to play three cords on the guitar. At the age of 12, Taylor crafted her first song “lucky you” which is said to have been inspired by her grandmother.
Her moxie and determination led her to sing the National Anthem anywhere she possibly could back in her hometown. It was the best way she could get in front of many people without a record deal - at least according to Taylor. When she sang the National Anthem at the U.S Open tennis tournament, Dan Dymtrow, who happened to be Britney Spears’ manager could not resist her undeniable singing talent and swift landed her first record deal at the age of 13.
In 2004, Taylor’s family moved to Hendersonville, Tennessee. The move put Taylor in a better position to explore the music world and hone her talent. She had made great strides since her first visit to Nashville. Earlier in 2004 she had been featured as a model for Abercrombie and Fitch as part of their rising star campaigns. She had also performed several original songs at RCA records.
Nashville was kind to Taylor, and she soon started working with renowned songwriters including Brett Beavers and The Warren brothers. Her fellow songwriters would describe Taylor as an artist who could visualize what she wanted in her lyrics and articulate it in her songs. In 2005, she became the youngest staff writer of Sony/ATV publishing house.
After so much hassle, Taylor abandoned her record deal with RCA two years after her signing. She wanted to write her own songs, but they wouldn’t let her sing her own material until she was eighteen. She sort to find another record that would allow her tap on her creative side. What seemed to be a ridiculous move from the burgeoning artist paid off.
Scott Borchetta was a record deal manager who had known about Taylor with her stay at Sony. He was opening a new record label, and he wanted Taylor to be among the first musicians signed to it. Taylor had all the qualities needed in the music business. In Borchetta’s words, she was hardworking, intelligent, and above all she had a voice that could knock the socks off the audience. This saw her become the first artist to be signed to Borchetta’s Big Machine Records.
Taylor quickly developed a crazy following among tweens
Taylor’s breakout single “Tim McGraw” hit the airwaves in 2006. She penned the song in her math class in her freshman year in Hendersonville High School. Her inspiration for the song was drawn from her senior boyfriend whom she was parting with as soon as he left for college. The song title was shrewdly constructed by her management team. Seriously, there was no way a song barring the name of one of the biggest country music stars would flop, and it didn’t.
The infectious single became the front-runner for her eponymous debut album. Music veterans praised the song for its professionalism and Taylor’s remarkable vocal delivery. The song also marked its spot on Billboard’s Hot 100. Her debut album Taylor Swift was released in 2006- Taylor was 16 at the time. The album became a commercial success rising to no.5 on billboard 200 and selling 39,000 copies in its first week.
Taylor was not a one-hit wonder type. Her album parlayed record- breaking singles including “Teardrops on my guitar” and “our song.”Girls all over the world were falling in love with her music, they could resonate with the love stories - a timeless ingredient in Taylor’s songs. Swift promoted her album by touring the USA and conducting meet-and-greet sessions with her fans. Yap! She was already becoming a big deal.
For the better part of 2007, Taylor served as an opening act for legendary country musicians including Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Kenny Chesney and Brad Paisley. Later that year, Swift became the youngest person to be named the songwriter of the year in 2007.
Taylor smashed records when she won seven Grammys and twelve Billboard music awards
2008 was swift’s year, to say the least, she was getting recognition from the who’s who in the music industry and the string of accolades kept streaming in. And it wasn’t just her voice that was causing ripples. Her exquisite beauty saw her grace myriad magazine covers including Blender and USA weekend.
Her sophomore album Fearless, which was dished out on November 2008 cemented her superstar status. It debuted at no.1 on the Billboard chart and sold almost 600,000 copies in its first week, an impressive feat for a breakout star. A whopping eight tracks off Fearless had at one point topped the billboard single charts shattering previous records.
“Love story” the lead single from the album, became the country song with the most paid downloads. The album received numerous awards and accolades making it the most awarded album in the history of country music. But that was just the beginning of the whirlwind of her successful music career
Taylor’s much anticipated third album was released on October 2010. She had been working on it for two years ever since the release of her sophomore album. Taylor was primarily known as a country singer but Speak now was a blend of country-pop and alternative rock. She pulled it off so well that the album was described as possibly her best.
Speak now debuted at no. 1 on billboards 200, Taylor had undoubtedly become a force to be reckon with in the music industry with her third album selling more than 1,000,000 copies in its first week. Meanwhile, Taylor was bagging more awards for her immaculate work, and her fan base was experiencing tremendous growth. She was trouncing music veterans to win coveted awards and was quickly becoming a fixture in gossip pages and magazines.
Taylor's concerts are all sold out. They sell like hot cakes!
Swift’s fourth album, Red, followed a previous pattern to that of her previous albums: smashing hits and platinum records. Every bit of it screamed success! The album gave a snapshot of different times in her life. From heartbreaks, to extreme happiness it gave a reflection of Taylor’s ups and downs in the truest way possible.
Once again, Swift was stepping out of her comfort zone in terms of her music style. The Red album featured dubstep, dance-pop and conventional country. Red spun off singles released separately for the promotion of the album. It sold 1.28 million copies in its first week and went on to become a top-chatter in several countries including UK, Canada and Australia.
Swift has hinted she will be releasing her fifth album pretty soon way ahead of schedule for the young singer who takes two years before churning an album. But so far, Taylor has managed to craft eight songs for what is expected to be a hot album.
Swift’s songs are more than bouncy country melodies, they have deep emotional meanings. They emanate from heart breaks, love stories and her life experiences. We have drawn some of her most successful songs and the stories behind them.
“You belong with me”
The catchy hit single from the album fearless topped country and pop charts. Swift was inspired to write the song after she overheard a male friend quarreling over the phone with his girlfriend. From the conversation Taylor developed a story line and a very catchy song!
The tune was the third single from her self-titled debut album. She wrote the song for her high school talent show contest sparked by the fact she didn’t have a song for one of her previous boyfriend’s.
It was the first single from her sophomore album which catapulted her to superstar status. The song was inspired by Taylor’s love interest who wasn’t so popular among her family and friends. She related her romance to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and penned down her first international hit.
“Teardrops on my guitar”
It became the first of Taylor’s song to reach the top 20 on Billboard’s Hot 100. The song was inspired by Drew Hardwick, Taylor’s crush in high school. Drew was unaware of Taylor’s feelings and would continually speak about his girlfriend to Swift - plays out clearly in the song.
Taylor crafted the song for high school students who struggle to fit in. She also recounts her own painful memories where she encountered her first heartbreak when she was fifteen.
There’s no denying that Taylor swift has managed to cram in a lot of credits since she was introduced to the world in 2006. Swift’s prodigious natural talent and captivating songwriting abilities have seen her rise the ranks of fame in a short span of time. She is undoubtedly one of the most gifted country musicians. Taylor’s fame and fortune didn’t materialize out of the ether. Behind the sultry voice is hard work and relentless passion.
Ever since the release of her self-titled debut album, Taylor has been making waves in the music scene. Her second album Fearless became the best selling album in the USA in 2009. Her subsequent albums Speak now, and Red have seen her smash records and rack up a string of awards and accolades including seven Grammys and twelve Billboard music awards.
Taylor has also nabbed a spot in the Guinness Book Of World Records for being the first solo female with two million-selling weeks on the U.S Albums Chart. As her fame soars, her bank account continues to skyrocket. Her 2013 earnings brought in a cool $39 million, which saw her become the highest earning musician trouncing music veterans like Beyonce. She is only 24, but her net worth stands at $250 million.
Music aside, it looks like Taylor maybe adding an Academy award to her mantle. She has been flexing her acting chops ever since she made an appearance in CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. She played the role of a rebellious teenager which critics attest was played out very well.
Taylor also made a feature in the star-studded film Valentine’s Day. Her performance on the film was described as being very funny, charming and adorably dorky. She recently landed a supporting role in the upcoming film The Giver where she will be starring among other A-list Hollywood actors such as Meryl Steep and Katie Holmes.
Swift has managed to develop a magnificently cherished and superbly respected brand out of her music and her squeaky clean public image. She has landed endorsements with CoverGirl, Sony Electronics and Diet Coke which nab her 7 figures or more in earnings. The business savvy starlet also owns her own line of perfumes.
Swift is more than just a best-selling country star. The girl next door from Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, has become a genuine cultural phenomenon and yes, America’s favourite darling. But you know what’s even more appealing? Parents can sit down with their 13-year-old kids and listen to Taylor’s music without cringing from the racy videos or obscene lyrics, which seems to be the norm amongst today’s pop tarts.
She is not perfect, she has had her fair share of “my goodness” moments, and her string of famous ex-boyfriends’ has been a source of ridicule from critics. But hey, she has achieved a remarkable feat for a 24 year old. She doesn’t drink or smoke, she says she always wants to be responsible for what she does.
She has proved to be wiser than her age and a worthwhile role model for tweens all over the world. But Taylor knows better than to toot her own horn “I continue to walk around with the mentality that I’m not really a big deal because as fast as it came, it can go.”