Birth and Early Musical Career:
Taylor Swift was born December 13, 1989 in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania. She learned to play guitar as a child and began writing songs at the age of 10. With strong influences from Shania Twain and the Dixie Chicks, Taylor Swift took her songs to Nashville at the age of 11 seeking a record deal but was rejected. She began to seek out connections with other musicians and regularly visited Nashville until at the age of 14 her family moved to the Nashville area. She soon caught the attention of music industry veteran Scott Borchetta at Nashville's Bluebird Cafe who signed Taylor Swift to his newly formed record label Big Machine Records.
Taylor Swift's Debut Self-Titled Album:
Taylor Swift's first single "Tim McGraw" was released in 2006 when she was 16, and it went to #6 on the country chart. It also barely scraped the bottom end of the pop top 40. The single was followed by the release of Taylor Swift's self-titled debut album which went to #1 on the country album chart and #5 on the pop chart. It included Taylor Swift's second single "Teardrops On My Guitar" which rose clear to #13 on the pop singles chart with the assistance of a pop-oriented remix for radio. The album generated three more top 40 pop singles on the way to being certified four times platinum for sales.
Crossover on the Pop Charts:
The crossover of "Teardrops On My Guitar" into the top 15 of the Billboard Hot 100 identified Taylor Swift as a country artist that could have appeal for pop audiences similar to her idol Shania Twain. A nomination for the Best New Artist Grammy Award also helped bring her to the attention of a wider range of pop music fans. As a teenager, Taylor Swift picked up natural appeal to teen pop audiences with her straightforward, highly melodic, autobiographical songs.
In November 2008 Taylor Swift's second album Fearless hit stores. It went straight to #1 on pop and country album charts. The first single "Love Story" became a true pop breakthrough landing at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was followed later by "You Belong With Me" which climbed to #2 receiving strong pop radio airplay. Ultimately Fearless became the bestselling album of the year for 2009. 13 different songs from the album landed inside the top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100. That is an all-time record for any album.
Taylor Swift's Top Pop Hits:
- 2007 - "Teardrops On My Guitar" #13
- 2008 - "Love Story" #4
- 2008 - "Change" #10
- 2009 - "You Belong With Me" #2
- 2009 - "Jump Then Fall" #10
- 2010 - "Fearless" #9
Taylor Swift's Awards Controversies:
In the fall of 2009, Taylor Swift was picked as the surprise winner of Best Female Video at the MTV Video Music Awards. Her acceptance speech was interrupted by Kanye West who claimed that Beyonce was more deserving of the award. He was roundly criticized for the interruption and later issued public apologies.
In early 2010 another award generated controversy. After Fearless received the 2010 Grammy Award for Album of the Year, public criticism began after she delivered a relatively lackluster live performance at the event. Many felt that Taylor Swift was not deserving of an accolade like Album of the Year.
Taylor Swift's third studio album Speak Now is due to be released in late October 2010. The music industry sees it as the most eagerly awaited new collection for the fall of 2010. Sales projections range from 700,000 in the first week or beyond. The album was preceded by the single "Mine" which rose to the top of the iTunes sales chart in just five hours.