It is no longer the time to associate country music with people in their mid 40s, as more young artists have decided to take this route in music. One living proof: %cTaylor Swift%. The accomplished country singer and songwriter who began her career when she was still a teenager has spawned acclaimed albums and several singles that earned her awards which are commonly won by people twice or triple her age. In 2007 alone she was nominated for four different awards, two of which she successfully nabbed. She took Breakthrough Video of the Year at Country Music Television Awards for her debut single "Tim McGraw" and Horizon Award, a special honor that was presented at 41st Country Music Association Awards, for being a promising act.
Hailing from Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, Taylor Alison Swift was musically influenced by her grandmother who was a professional opera singer. While living with her parents, the December 13, 1989-born beauty became addicted to singing on contests and talent shows. At 10, she entered local karaoke contests and recorded some demo tapes which ended in almost every receptionist desk of Nashville's record labels. Two years later, she started to religiously learn playing guitar. For four hours a day, she would continuously try to master the art of guitar playing until her fingers literally bled. From there, original songs came pouring out along with the growing love of country tunes. She often wrote her lyrics during lessons at school while her reputation as a straight A student remained unaltered. Her family eventually moved to Hendersonville, Tennessee where opportunity came in the form of a record producer named Scott Borchetta.
While performing at a cafe, Swift immediately grabbed the attention of the record producer who was on the verge of developing a record label. Amazed, Borchetta thought that she would be the perfect candidate to launch his new company, Big Machine Records. Together with Liz Rose, 16-year-old Swift wrote a ballad called "Tim McGraw", which was an ode to her favorite country singer. The song peaked at No. 6 on Billboard Hot Country Song chart and even entered the Hot Singles chart at No. 40. Her self-titled debut album was then released on October 24, 2006 and debuted at No. 19 on Billboard Hot 200 before eventually peaking at No. 8. Meanwhile, the second single "Teardrops on My Guitar", a song about a girl’s ironic love for a boy who loves another girl, was released in February 2007 and peaked at No.2 on Hot Country Songs chart. Numerous nominations were immediately coming towards her way, mainly for breaking through the industry with only one studio album.
Not only was she an accomplished singing bird, but also she was recognized for her songwriting skill. In October 2007, her songwriter peers at Nashville Songwriters Association International voted her to be Songwriter/Artist of the Year, a title that had never been taken by a 17-year-old before. Swift was later nominated for a 2008 Grammy Award in the category of Best New Artist, but ultimately lost to %cAmy Winehouse%.
Her second album "Fearless" was released in November 2008, containing seven self-written songs about love and its complication. The album was graced with the chart success of lead single "Love Story". The song became the second best-selling country single of all time, peaking at No. 4 on Billboard Hot 100. The following singles also experienced similar success, sending the album to No.1 on Billboard 200 chart with almost 600,000 copies sold in the first week. "Fearless" was in fact the top-selling album of 2009.
A tour in support of "Fearless" was conducted extensively between April 2009 and June 2010, visiting some cities in Australia and Asia, with rising star %cJustin Bieber% as supporting act on some dates. The tour was filmed for a DVD and Blu-ray release. Road trip aside, Swift gained popularity as well as sympathy from fellow musicians when she won Best Female Video for "You Belong With Me" at 2009 MTV Video Music Awards. Her acceptance speech was interrupted by %cKanye West%, who declared that %cBeyonce Knowles%' video was the rightful winner. West received a lot of harsh criticisms for his act and was kicked off from the event. Knowles later invited Swift to the stage to finish her speech when she won Video of the Year. While insisting that Knowles' video was still the best of the decade, West gave public apology to Swift by saying that she was talented. Swift accepted his personal apology to her.
Swift was suddenly a hot commodity. She was featured on %cJohn Mayer%'s song "Half of My Heart", %cKelly Pickler%'s "Best Days of Your Life" and %cBoys Like Girls%' "Two Is Better Than One" among others. Her success was further recognized by Country Music Association, which named her one of the only six women to be named Entertainer of the Year. She was also the youngest ever artist to win the Academy of Country Music's Album of the Year honor. 2010 Grammy Awards saw the peak of her "Fearless" success when she won four out of eight nominations.
The third studio album "Speak Now" was released in October 2010 with more adult materials. All twelve songs solely came from her talented mind. "Mine" was released as the first single, followed by five others throughout 2010 and 2011. Her song "Mean" won Best Country Song and Best Country Solo Performance. "Speak Now" was a major commercial success, debuting at No. 1 on Billboard 200 with more than 1 million copies sold in its first week. The album led to equally successful tour in 2011 and early 2012. Bigger than the last one, the tour featured numerous and various artists from %cB.o.B% to %cTim McGraw%. During this time, she contributed to two original songs on "The Hunger Games" soundtrack in March 2012, "Safe & Sound" and "Eyes Open".
Swift did not waste a lot of time to record a fourth studio album, simply titled "Red". Like its predecessors, "Red" boasted self-written songs. "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" was released as the first single, sparking question about whom she was referring to on the song. The track peaked at No.1 on Billboard Hot 100. "Red" also spawned successful singles such as "Begin Again", "I Knew You Were Trouble" and "22" among others. Most of the tracks managed to reach Billboard Hot 100's top 10. At the 2014 Grammy Awards, the album was nominated for the coveted Album of the Year, but it lost to %cDaft Punk%'s "Random Access Memories".
After taking a two-year break from making an album, in August 2014 Swift announced that her new full length effort would be called "1989" and it would arrive on October 27. On the same day she announced the project, Swift released "Shake It Off" along with its accompanying music video. The song received generally positive reviews from critics, but some people criticized the Mark Romanek-directed visuals. Swift was accused of being racist for breakdancing and twerking with some black dancers. However, the criticism didn't change the fact that fans liked Swift's new music. The song, which she performed at 2014 MTV VMAs just a few days after being released, debuted at No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100 and spent multiple weeks atop the chart.
In March 2015, Swift began dating %cCalvin Harris%. A few months later, the couple was ranked as the highest-paid celebrity couple over the past year by Forbes. The two eventually called it quits in June 2016. Speaking of romance, Swift has been romantically linked to a number of A-list celebrities since the beginning of her career, including %cJoe Jonas%, %cTaylor Lautner%, John Mayer, %cCory Monteith%, %cJake Gyllenhaal%, %cHarry Styles% and %cTom Hiddleston%. Most recently, Swift was said to be dating British actor %cJoe Alwyn%.
In October 2016, Swift co-wrote %cLittle Big Town%'s chart-topping single "Better Man" off the group's seventh album "The Breaker". By the end of the year, she teamed up with %cZayn Malik% for "I Don't Wanna Live Forever" from "Fifty Shades Darker" soundtrack.
After stepping out of the spotlight for several months, the singer made headlines again in August 2017, when she won a trial against David Mueller, a radio DJ who allegedly assaulted her a few years ago. A few days after her victory in the legal battle, Swift wiped her social media blank, sparking speculations about new music. She later released a scathing new song called "Look What You Made Me Do" before announcing her new album "Reputation".
A day after the release of "Look What You Made Me Do" video, the clip broke YouTube record for the most-viewed music video in 24 hours period. Besides breaking records, the song reignited Taylor's longtime feud with %cKaty Perry%, Kanye West and %cKim Kardashian%. A week after releasing the alleged diss track, Swift premiered the second single off "Reputation" titled "…Ready for It?" The new album is set to arrive on November 10.