Taylor Alison Swift is an American country-pop singer-songwriter. In 2006, she released her debut single "Tim McGraw", which peaked at number six on the Billboard country charts. Later in October 2006, she released her self-titled debut album, which produced five hit singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts and was certified 3× Multi-Platinum by the RIAA. The New York Times described Swift as "one of pop's finest songwriters, country’s foremost pragmatist and more in touch with her inner life than most adults"
Swift's singing influences include her grandmother and LeAnn Rimes. Although her grandmother was a professional opera singer, Taylor's tastes always ran more toward country and she developed a love for Patsy Cline and Dolly Parton at an early age. She also credits the Dixie Chicks and Shania Twain for demonstrating how much impact can be made by "stretching boundaries".
At age eleven, Swift made her first trip to Nashville hoping to obtain a record deal by distributing a demo tape of her singing with karaoke songs. She gave a copy to every label on Music Row. Swift faced rejection, not just from record labels, but also from her peers. After Swift returned to Pennsylvania, she was asked to sing at the U.S. Open tennis tournament; her rendition of the national anthem received a lot of attention.
Swift started writing songs and playing 12-string guitar when she was twelve. Swift began to regularly visit Nashville and wrote songs with local songwriters. By the time she was fourteen, her family decided to move to an outlying Nashville suburb. When Swift was fifteen, she rejected a development deal with RCA Records because the company refused to allow her to record her own songs. Swift then performed at Nashville's songwriters' venue, The Bluebird Café, catching the attention of Scott Borchetta who signed her to his newly-formed record label, Big Machine Records. She also became the youngest staff songwriter ever hired by the Sony/ATV Tree publishing house
Swift's first single, "Tim McGraw", was released to radio in mid-2006 and reached number 6 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart during the week of January 27, 2007. Swift said, "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." Her self-titled debut album Taylor Swift was released on October 24, 2006. Swift wrote or co-wrote all of the songs on the album, which debuted at number 19 on the Billboard 200 and sold just 39,000 copies during its first week.It later peaked at number one at Billboard Top Country Albums and number five on the Billboard 200. It also spent eight consecutive weeks at the top of the Top Country Albums charts and remained at the top for 24 out of 91 weeks. The only other country artists this decade to achieve the number-one sales position for 20 weeks or more are The Dixie Chicks and Carrie Underwood. As of November 2008, Taylor Swift has sold over three million copies and 7.5 million single downloads.
Swift has surpassed the 200 million mark for music streams on MySpace. She is currently ranked in the Top 10 for the most MySpace visits for all genres of music, and is MySpace's current top-ranking Country artist. Swift is the most searched musical artist on MySpace in 2008.
The music video for "Tim McGraw" set a record by appearing for 30 consecutive weeks on GAC's fan-voted weekly Top 20 music countdown show, and reached number one on CMT's video charts. The video also won Swift an award for Breakthrough Video of the Year at the 2007 CMT Music Awards. Her pursuit of country music stardom was the subject of "GAC Short Cuts", a part-documentary, part-music-video series airing since the summer of 2006 on the country music channel.
On May 15, 2007, Swift performed "Tim McGraw" at the Academy of Country Music Awards. She sang the song to Tim McGraw in the audience, and introduced herself for the first time to him. Swift has been an opening act for Tim McGraw and Faith Hill on their Soul2Soul 2007 tour. She has opened in the past for George Strait, Brad Paisley and Rascal Flatts as well. On August 21, 2007, Swift performed live on the season finale of America's Got Talent.
The second single from the Taylor Swift album, "Teardrops on My Guitar", was released February 24, 2007. The song originally made its peak positions in mid-2007, peaking at #2 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart and #33 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was re-released to the Hot 100 and Pop 100 in late 2007 with a pop remix that brought "Teardrops on My Guitar" to #13 on the Hot 100 and #11 on the Pop 100.
In October 2007, Swift's songwriting peers at the Nashville Songwriters Association International honored her with their Songwriter/Artist of the Year Award, making her the youngest artist ever to win the award
On November 7, 2007, Swift won the 2007 CMA Horizon Award and also performed "Our Song," the third single from her album, which would go on to become her first #1 song the week of December 22, 2007, where it leaped up from the #6 spot. This was the biggest jump to Number One since January 1998, when Tim McGraw's "Just to See You Smile", also jumped from #6 to #1. "Our Song" spent six weeks at #1 on the Country charts and also peaked at #16 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #24 on the Billboard Pop 100.
In January 2009, Swift announced her first headlining tour. Swift will take her North American Fearless Tour 2009 to 52 cities in 38 states and provinces in the US and Canada over the span of 6 months. Opening acts include Kellie Pickler and Gloriana, a new group in country music. The tour will feature a theatrical presentation of graphics, sets and visual elements designed by Swift. Swift will play guitar as well as piano. Multiple costume changes and a fairy-tale castle are some of the elements of the three-act show.
Jakks Pacific released a celebrity doll of Swift in late 2008. Swift and the L.e.i. Clothing Line made a deal to create a line based on Swift's style of dressing. It will appear in Wal-Mart in the coming months. However, Swift said she does not want to be called a designer. Instead, she says she will inspire the clothing company's dress line based on her own style. "I don't look at it like I'm branching out as a designer... It's not the Taylor Swift designer line." In 2009, Swift became the National Hockey League's newest celebrity spokesperson. She appears in commercials for the Nashville Predators.
According to Nielsen SoundScan, Swift was the biggest selling artist of 2008 in America with combined sales of more than four million albums. Swift's Fearless and her self-titled album finished 2008 at number three and number six respectively, with sales of 2.1 and 1.5 million. She was the first artist in the history of Nielsen SoundScan to have two different albums in the Top 10 on the year end album chart.Fearless has topped the Billboard 200 in 11 different weeks. No album has spent more time at number one since 1999-2000. It also the first album by a female artist in country music history to log eight weeks at #1 on The Billboard 200. In mid-January 2009, Swift became the first country artist to top the 2 million mark in paid downloads with three different songs. As of the week ending February 8, 2009, Swift's single "Love Story" became the country song with most paid downloads in history and the first country song to top the Mainstream Top 40 chart.
On September 21, 2007, Swift launched a campaign to protect children from online predators. She has teamed up with Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen to combat internet sex crimes. The year-long campaign, launched in partnership with the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police, will distribute Internet safety information and materials to parents and students across the state.
In early 2008, Swift donated the pink Chevy pick-up truck given to her by her record label to children’s charity, the Victory Junction Gang; in June, 2008, Swift donated all the proceeds she got from her merchandise sales at the 2008 Country Music Festival to Red Cross, the Nashville Area Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund and the National American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.
Swift donated $10,000, funded by CMT ONE COUNTRY, to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital by winning the "Video of the Year" and "Female Video of the Year" awards at the 2008 CMT Music Awards.
Swift donated $100,000 to the Red Cross in Cedar Rapids, Iowa to help the victims of the Iowa flood of 2008.
Swift is an endorser of Body By Milk, a campaign calling teenagers to drink low fat milk to maintain a healthy weight.
Swift supports @15, a teen-led social change platform underwritten by Best Buy to give teens opportunities to direct the company's philanthropy through the newly-created @15 Fund. Swift's song, "Fifteen", is featured in this campaign.
Swift has lent her support to the Victorian Bushfire Appeal by joining the lineup at Sydney's Sound Relief concert,reportedly making the biggest contribution of any artist playing at Sound Relief to the Australian Red Cross.
* 2006: Taylor Swift
* 2008: Fearless
* 2007: Sounds of the Season: The Taylor Swift Holiday Collection
* 2008: Beautiful Eyes
Birth name Taylor Alison Swift
Origin Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Genre(s) Country pop
Instrument(s) Vocals, guitar, piano, ukulele
Years active 2006–present
Label(s) Big Machine, Universal Music Group
Associated acts Colbie Caillat, Kellie Pickler, Miley Cyrus, Jonas Brothers, Brad Paisley, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Rascall Flatts, George Strait, Gloriana