Taylor Alison Swift was born in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania to Scott Swift, a stock broker, and Andrea Swift, a homemaker. She also has a young brother, Austin Swift.
When Swift turned ten years old, she begin to write songs and sing karaoke at contests, festivals, and fairs near her hometown, and made her first major appearance at the Bloomsburg Fair, which was well-received.
Swift began to play guitar at a young age, when a computer repairman taught her three chords, which she used to write her first song, "Lucky You." Swift did not fit in at school, so she began to write songs more and more regularly, and many times they were about the kids at her school. They would react badly when they heard the songs, but that didn't stop her from doing it again and again.
Swift says her greatest musical influence is Shania Twain, which explains the country to pop crossover her career has brought. She also says other influences are LeAnn Rimes, Tina Turner, Dolly Parton, and her own grandmother. She also admits to being a fan of Patsy Cline and the Dixie Chicks, who she credits, along with Twain, for demonstrating how much impact can be made by "stretching boundaries," referring to their countless format crossovers.
When Swift turned 11, she made her first trip to Nashville, Tennessee, in hopes of getting a record deal by distributing a demo tape of her singing karaoke songs. She gave a copy to every label in town, but was rejected by all of them.
Depressed, she returned to Pennsylvania, where she was asked to sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" at the U.S. Open tennis tournament, which received a lot of Internet attention on sites like YouTube. At age 14, her family decided to move to the Nashville suburbs so she could work with local songwriters and hopefully have a better shot a pursuing her musical career.
At age 15, Swift was given a development deal by RCA Records, but she refused as she wanted an actual deal. She then performed at Nashville's songwriters' venue, The Bluebird Café. Scott Borchetta had just recently started a record company, and was in the audience that night. He immediately went up to her and signed her to Big Machine Records, who she is still with today.
In 2008, Swift began a relationship with pop singer Joe Jonas from the Jonas Brothers. The relationship ended in November of that year in a 27 second phone call from Joe, which was heavily criticized by the media. The event inspired the song "Forever & Always" from her sophomore album, Fearless.
Music Career Edit
Taylor Swift released her debut single in mid-2006, "Tim McGraw," which was a hit on country radio. It peaked at number five on Mediabase's country radio chart in January 2007, nearly three months after her debut album, Taylor Swift, was released. The album debuted at number 19 on the Billboard Top 200 albums chart with 39,000 copies sold. It later went on to peak at number five. To date, the album has sold over 4,000,000 copies in the United States alone, certifying it four time platinum by the RIAA. Swift co-wrote all of the songs on the album.
The music video for "Tim McGraw" earned Swift an award for Breakthrough Video of the Year at the 2007 CMT Music Awards. The single became successful enough to catch the ear of country artist Tim McGraw, whom the song repeatedly talks about. He in turn, called Swift to tell her how much he appreciated being included in the song and how he thought she was very talented. This phone call ended up on the deluxe edition of the album.
The second single from the album, "Teardrops on My Guitar," was released in February 2007. The song went on top peak at number two on Mediabase's country radio chart in August 2007. It also went on to peak at number 33 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2007. In late 2007, the song was sent to pop radio with a slightly faster remix, which peaked at number seven on the pop radio chart in February 2008, which helped the song re-peak at number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song went on to help Swift get nominated for Best New Artist at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2008, although she lost to Tokio Hotel. In October 2007, Swift was also awarded Songwriter/Artist of the Year Award by the Nashville Songwriters Association International, making her the youngest artist ever to win the award. In February 2008, Taylor Swift was nominated for a 2008 Grammy Award for Best New Artist, but lost to Amy Winehouse.
The third single from the album, "Our Song," was released in September 2007, and gave Swift her first number one on the Mediabase's country radio chart in December 2007/January 2008 for four weeks, plus two weeks at number one during the non-published charts of 2007. It went on to peak at number 16 on the Billboard Hot 100. It, too, was sent to pop radio, but only managed to peak at number 19 in May 2008.
The fourth single, "Picture to Burn," peaked at number three on Mediabase's country radio chart in May 2008. She also performed the song on the sixth season of Nashvilla Star, which helped digital sales, which in turn helped it peak at number 28 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was originally planed for a pop release, but was canceled due to he poor chart run of "Our Song" on the pop charts. It did manage, however, to reach number 52 on the pop radio charts in August 2008.
The fifth and final single, "Should've Said No," was announced and performed on the 2008 Academy of Country Music Awards, which was received so well by her fans, the performance was made the official music video of the song. It went on to peak at number 33 on the Billboard Hot 100 and spent one week at number one on the Mediabase country radio chart in August 2008. Like "Tim McGraw," the song was not even considered for a pop release, but due to strong requests, the song still managed to peak at number 75 on the pop radio charts in September 2008.
Swift's sophomore studio album, Fearless, was released on November 11, 2008 to the United States. It debuted at number one on the Billboard Top 200 with sales over 592,000, making it the highest debut of any country artist in 2008, as well as the top debut of any female artist in the U.S. for 2008, and fourth biggest debut overall, behind Lil Wayne, AC/DC, and Coldplay.
The lead single from the album was called "Love Story." It was released on September 7, 2008 to radio airplay, and debuted at number 27 on the U.S. country airplay chart. It went on to peak at number one on that chart, as well as number one on the pop airplay chart, making Swift the first artist to have a country-pop crossover hit number one on both charts since Kenny Loggins. The song also was a success digitally, selling nearly 4,000,000 copies. The song's music video was released on September 12, 2008. The plot is based on The Tragedy of Romeo & Juliet, a play by William Shakespeare, which the song also bases itself off from, with references such as "Romeo take me somewhere we can be alone" and "Marry me, Juliet, you'll never have to be alone." The song also became a success internationally. It was a number one hit in Australia, and was also a top ten hit in the U.K., Ireland, New Zealand, Canada, the U.S., Norway, and Sweden.
The second single from the album, "White Horse," was released solely to country radio in the United States. It peaked at number one on the country airplay charts, and despite not being officially released to pop radio, it managed to peak at 69 on the pop airplay charts. The song was also a digital success. It became her first song to hit number one on U.S. iTunes, as "Love Story" was blocked by P!nk's "So What," however, it only peaked at number two on the Hot Digital Songs chart. The song went platinum, and Swift was credited as a good actress in her music video for the song, which depicted a distraught teenage girl breaking up with her boyfriend over the phone.
The third single, "You Belong with Me," was released in late spring 2009 to country radio, and to pop radio in early June 2009. The single went on to become another smash hit for Swift, peaking at number one on country, pop, and adult contemporary radio in the United States. It also fared well internationally, becoming a top twenty hit in four other countries, including a peak in the top five in Australia, cementing her status as a hit artist in another country other than the United States and Canada. It also became her first song to win an MTV VMA for Best Female Video, causing quite a controversy when Kanye West interrupted her acceptance speech to say that Beyoncé's "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" was "the best video of all time" and that it should've won over Taylor's.
The fourth single, "Fifteen," was released in late fall of 2009, and went on to become a moderate hit for Swift. The era was finished with the single "Fearless," which was released to country radio only and did not receive a music video. While country radio was given "Fearless," pop radio was serviced "Today Was a Fairytale," a promotional single from the film Valentine's Day, in which Swift starred in. This song broke the record for fastest song to reach number one on iTunes in the U.S., previously held by Britney Spears' "3." Ironically, this record was broken again later the same year by Taylor.
Swift's third album, Speak Now, was released on October 25, 2010 to the United States, and sold 1.047 million copies in the U.S. alone on its first week. This was the first time an album had debuted with sales over one million in the U.S. since 2008 with Lil Wayne's album, Tha Carter III.
The first single from the album, "Mine," also broke records when it was released on October 16, 2010. It became the fastest song to reach number one on U.S. iTunes, reaching the position in only a few short hours. The record was previously held by Swift herself with the song "Today Was a Fairytale." The single opened up with 297,000 copies sold, which was less than "Today Was a Fairytale"'s opening of 325,000. The song has become a moderate success on radio. After the release of "Mine," Taylor released her second single from the album, "Back To December." This song is heavily rumoured to be about her ex-boyfriend, Taylor Lautner. Her third single from the album was "Mean," a song geared towards anti-bullying. Her fourth single is, "The Story of Us." This song has been rumoured to be about Joe Jonas, but it is about John Mayer. "Sparks Fly" was her fifth single. It is about when you like someone who you maybe shouldn't, but you can't help it but fall for them anyways. Her sixth and possible final single from Speak Now is, "Ours." This song was originally on the Target Exclusive Deluxe Edition, but since the release of "Ours" as a single, the Deluxe Edition was released to several other stores aside from the Target Store.
After "Ours" was relased, Taylor announced that she has alraedy written 25 songs for ther fourth album, yet to be titled. "They're sad, if I'm honest." she said about the new songs she has written. "They will be about crash-and-burn heartbreak." she said. The release date has not yet been given, but it is expected towards the end of 2012. Taylor also has recorded and released two songs for "The Hunger Games" soundtrack for the movie, based on the trilogy of books. The two songs are called, "Safe & Sound" and "Eyes Open," and they both appear on the soundtrack to the movie.
Taylor announced in 2012 that her fourth album is titled Red, which was be released in October. The lead single from the album was "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together", which reached number one in multipal countries and is her most succesfull single to date. The second, thrid and fourth singles were "Begin Again" "I Knew You Were Trouble" and "22". She has confirmed that single #5 would be a collaberation with Ed Sheeran: "Everything Has Changed".
For the full list, please see List of awards and nominations received by Taylor Swift.
The Hunger Games: Songs From District & Beyond EditTaylor Swift contributed two songs to the Hunger Games soundtrack. "Safe and Sound" and "Eyes Open"
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