Taylor Swift Bio
In 2007, country teen queen Taylor Swift charmed fans and critics alike when, at sixteen, she released a self-titled debut on which she wrote or co-wrote every song and came off like a seasoned pro. Taylor Swift's mix of pop-rock and Dixie Chicks-style twang struck a chord, and the album shot to Number One on Billboard's Country Chart and Number Five pop. Swift's second album, 2008's Fearless, did even better, debuting at Number One on the Pop Charts. One key to Swift's success was that she expanded country music's demographic to include suburban adolescent girls — something she accomplished in part by using social networking sites and by drawing on confessional teen-diary lyrics in ways unprecedented within the genre.
Taylor Alison Swift was born December 13, 1989, in Reading, Pennsylvania. Her grandmother, an opera singer, was an early influence but Swift soon discovered the music of Patsy Cline, Dolly Parton and LeAnn Rimes. When she was eleven, she took her homemade demo tapes to Nashville and continued traveling back and forth to Music City for the next three years. At fourteen, Swift and her family permanently moved to the Nashville suburb of Hendersonville, Tennessee. During a performance at the famed Bluebird Café, she was spotted by Scott Borchetta, who signed her to his new label, Big Machine Records. Taylor Swift arrived in 2006 along with a single, "Tim McGraw" (Number Six country, Number 40 pop, 2007), whose video reached Number One on CMT's video chart and spent a record-breaking 30 consecutive weeks on the Great American Country network's weekly Top Twenty countdown.
Fearless included the hits "Love Story" (Number One country, Number Four pop, 2008); "White Horse" (Number 2 country, Number 13 pop, 2008); "You Belong With Me" (Number One country, Number Two pop, 2009); and "Fifteen" (Number Seven country, Number 23 pop, 2009.) When Fearless was re-issued in an expanded edition in November 2009, Swift placed eight songs in the Billboard Hot 100 in the same week — the most by any female artist ever. Billboard named Swift the Top Pop Artist of 2009. All told, she scored 22 Top 40 singles in the 2000s; no other female artist came close, all the more remarkable since Swift didn't chart before 2006.
In November 2009, Swift took home four Country Music Association awards: Album of the Year (Fearless ), Music Video of the Year ("Love Story"), Female Vocalist of the Year, and Entertainer of the Year. The same year, she won American Music Awards for Artist of The Year, Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist, Favorite Country Female Artist, Favorite Adult Contemporary Artist and Favorite Country Album (Fearless).
With 2010's Speak Now, Swift began moving even closer to her pop side by embracing the theatrics and drama of her own songwriting, crafting the vengeful, bewitching and romantic Speak Now. The album followed her first forays into acting and a growing tabloid presence that would inform her songs, including romances with musicians like Joe Jonas and John Mayer and a public beef with Kanye West following his infamous interruption of her MTV VMA acceptance speech at the 2009 ceremony.
In 2012, Swift unexpectedly swerved from her girl-next-door country-pop to experiment with pop, dubstep and Americana for her fourth LP, Red. Singles like "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" and "I Knew You Were Trouble" proved to be massive radio hits, solidifying her new direction as well as her status as one of the largest pop stars of her generation. Here pop hot-streak was advanced with the synth-pop smash 1989, a pristine love letter to her knew home of New York City and an unhinged dive into her new musical world. The album yielded hits like "Shake It Off, " "Blank Space" and "Bad Blood," featuring Kendrick Lamar, and prompted a massive, sold-out arena world tour.
As she's prepared for her sixth album, the pop giant has taken some time off, though she contributed lyrics under a pen name to the EDM smash "This Is What You Came For" by Calvin Harris featuring Rihanna. 1989 ended up winning Album of the Year at the 58th Annual Grammy Awards.
Chuck Eddy and Brittany Spanos contributed to this article.
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