A Love Story - The Biography of Taylor Swift
It isn't often that a performer takes both the country and pop music world by storm. When it comes to Taylor Swift, her meteoric rise to fame and crossover success came at a young age. Born on December 13, 1989, Taylor Alison Swift has made a name for herself as a country and American pop singer-songwriter. Even prior to the release of her first album, Swift was establishing her skill as an artist by becoming the youngest songwriter to sign with Sony. Since the release of her first album in 2006, Taylor has gone on to become a multi-platinum artist and winner of multiple awards.
Taylor's early years were spent in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania where she lived on her parents' Christmas tree farm. Her grandmother, who was an opera singer, influenced her love of singing, however her musical tastes were inclined towards the sounds of LeAnn Rimes and Dolly Parton. Technically, her career started at the age of 16, but Taylor began performing years before she became a professional. Young Swift began performing in contests and at fairs by the time she was 10 years old and by the age of 11 she was invited to sing The Star Spangled Banner at a professional basketball game. At this age, Taylor's parents frequently traveled with the budding young artist to Nashville in hopes of getting a record contract. She contends that at the age of 12 she was taught how to play the guitar by a man named "Ronnie" who was repairing her parents' computer and that she also began writing her own songs. By the time Taylor reached the age of 14, she became the youngest person to sign a publishing contract with Sony/ATV Music as a songwriter. In that same year, her parents moved the family to Hendersonville, Tennessee, where she attended Hendersonville High School. The move turned into a positive, life-altering step when she met a music executive from Big Machine Records while performing at the Bluebird Cafe. Impressed by her talent, Big Machine Records signed her to the label.
After signing on with Big Machine Records, Taylor's career skyrocketed with the success of her first single “Tim McGraw” in 2006. The song, which she'd begun writing in her Freshman math class after breaking up with a boyfriend, peaked at number 6 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. Also in 2006, Big Machine also released her first album entitled Taylor Swift, which sold more than 2.5 million copies. In 2007, at the age of 17, she won the Country Music Association's Horizon Award. That same year she was nominated for the Best New Artist Award. In 2008 the singer won not just one, but two awards at the Country Music Television Awards. A month later, Swift earned the Top New Female Vocalist award at the Academy of Country Music Awards.
Her sophomore effort entitled Fearless came out in 2008, selling a whopping 592,000 copies within its first week. The album reached number 1 where it remained for six weeks. Fearless garnered Taylor Album of the Year from the Academy of Country Music Awards. Songs from Fearless also enabled Taylor to cross over into the realm of pop music. The popular hit "Love Story" hit number 4 on the pop charts in 2008, while "You Belong With Me" hit number 2 on the pop charts in 2009. Also in 2009, Swift was awarded Billboard's Artist of the Year at the age of 19. Earlier that year, MTV Video Music Awards recognized Taylor's talents by awarding her with the Best Female Video. Taylor's moment was marred however, by the now infamous incident with singer Kanye West, who disagreed with her winning the award. In 2010, Taylor released her third effort entitled Speak Now, in which all of the songs were written entirely by her. Eleven of her songs from her Speak Now album made it to the Hot 100 list in a single week. Swift won Billboard's Woman of the Year Award in 2011, making her the youngest artist to ever receive the award.
Taylor's songwriting style is one that speaks from her heart and is often based on her personal experiences, romances and heartbreaks. She has often said in interviews that listening to her songs is like reading from her diary. In more recent years, this has led to fan speculation regarding what songs are referring to her relationships with other celebrities. Her open expression through song has been a key part to her popularity and success as a singer, making her and her music something that fans can relate to.
Having dominated the music industry, Taylor has also made her way onto both the big and small screens, appeared as a spokesperson, and she even became a fragrance designer. In 2009, she starred in the CBS crime show CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and then hosted Saturday Night Live later that same year. On the big screen she starred in the 2010 movie entitled Valentine's Day and is set to star in the 2012 animated movie called The Lorax. In addition to film and singing, Swift has also been the spokesperson for the National Hockey League in 2009, and since 2008 she has helped promote Life Energy Intelligence (L.E.I.) Jeans. In 2011, Taylor also launched her new fragrance called Wonderstruck.
Taylor Swift's efforts, alongside the music industry and owning her own businesses, include philanthropic activities as well. She supports a number of charities, such as Children in Need, Feeding America, Shriners Hospital for Children, and Family Health International. In 2007, Swift helped launch a campaign called Delete Online Predators alongside the governor of Tennessee and the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police. As its name suggests, the campaign is designed to stop people who prey on children using the Internet.
Taylor has been romantically linked with several well-known celebrities. The ending of her relationship with Joe Jonas was the basis for the song “Forever & Always.” In 2009, during the filming of the movie Valentine's Day, Taylor met and dated actor Taylor Lautner. Swift has also been romantically associated with actor Jake Gyllenhall and musical artist John Mayer.
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