New York City – November 11: Taylor Swift on Late Night With Seth Meyers on November 11, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by LLOYD BISHOP/NBC/NBCU PHOTO BANK VIA GETTY)
Birth nameTaylor Alison Swift
BornDecember 13, 1989 (Sagittarius)
Reading, Pennsylvania, U.S.
GenresCountry pop, pop, country, dance-pop, rock, folk, alternative
OccupationsSinger-songwriter, musician, record producer, actress, director
InstrumentsVocals, guitar, ganjo, piano, ukulele
Years active2006–present
LabelsBig Machine, Republic

Taylor Alison Swift was born on December 13, 1989 in Reading, Pennsylvania to Andrea Gardner and Scott Kingsley Swift and was raised in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania. Taylor also grew up on a Christmas-tree farm and her grandmother, Marjorie Finlay (née Moehlenkamp), was an opera singer. She has a younger brother, Austin.

Swift first began writing at an early age winning a national poetry contest with a three-page poem, “Monster in My Closet”. She learn to play the guitar at the age of 10 years old from a repairman who had come over to fix her computer and taught her a few chords. The rest is history. From those chords Taylor eventually wrote her first song, “Lucky You”. When she was 12, she devoted an entire summer to writing a 350-page novel, which remains unpublished. From then on Taylor spent everyday after school and homework writing songs. She mainly used her song writing as an outlet to deal with her pains dealing with kids at school. She also started performing at local karaoke contests, festivals, and fairs.

Taylor began to regularly visit Nashville, Tennessee, and work with local songwriters when she was 11. She would got every record company and hand them a demo of her singing karaokes of her various musical influences saying, “Hey, I’m Taylor. I’m 11 and I want a record deal so call me”. The desk clerk would nicely take her demo tape but nothing would come of it. But Taylor never game up.  When she was 14, her family relocated to Nashville. Her first major show was a well-received performance at the Bloomsburg Fair. In Tennessee, she attended Hendersonville High School. Here she met her best friend, Abigail Anderson. When Swift was 15, she rejected RCA Records because the company wanted to keep her on an artist development deal. Soon after this she would become the youngest staff songwriter ever hired by the Sony/ATV Tree publishing house. After performing at Nashville’s songwriters’ venue, The Bluebird Café, she caught the attention of Scott Borchetta who signed her to his newly formed record label, Big Machine Records.

Swift released her debut single, “Tim McGraw”, in mid-2006, reaching No.6 on Billboard magazine’s Hot Country Songs chart. Her self-titled debut album was later released on October 24, 2006. Debuting high on the Billboard 200, the album sold 39,000 copies during its first week. It peaked at No.1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums and No.5 on the Billboard 200. Her debut album 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. The music video for “Tim McGraw” 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 May 15, 2007, Swift performed “Tim McGraw” at the Academy of Country Music Awards. 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. The second single from the Taylor Swift album, “Teardrops on My Guitar”, was released February 24, 2007. In mid-2007, the song peaked at No.2 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart and No.33 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was re-released with a pop remix that brought “Teardrops on My Guitar” to No.13 on the Hot 100 and No.11 on the Pop 100. In October 2007, Swift was awarded Songwriter/Artist of the Year by the Nashville Songwriters Assn. Intl., making her the youngest artist ever to win the award. Her third song off her debut album, “Our Song” spent six weeks at No.1 on the Country charts, peaked at No.16 on the Billboard Hot 100, and rose to No.24 on the Billboard Pop 100. Swift recorded a holiday album, Sounds of the Season: The Taylor Swift Holiday Collection, which was released exclusively at Target in late 2007. Swift was nominated for a 2008 Grammy Award in the category of Best New Artist, but lost to Amy Winehouse. Swift’s successful single, “Picture to Burn”, was the fourth single from her debut album. The song debuted and soon peaked at No.3 on the Billboard Country chart in spring 2008. In 2008, she earned her high school diploma.

“Should’ve Said No” became Swift’s second No.1 single. In Summer 2008, Swift released Beautiful Eyes, an EP sold exclusively at Wal-Mart. In its first week of release, the album sold 45,000 copies, debuting at No.1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart and No.9 on the Billboard 200. With her self-titled debut album sitting at No.2 during the same week, Swift became the first artist since 1997 to hold the Top 2 positions of the Top Country Albums chart. In October 2008, Swift performed a duet with best selling rock band Def Leppard in a taped show in Nashville, Tennessee, and their collaboration was up for both Performance of the Year and Wide Open Country Video of the Year at the CMT Music Awards in 2009.

Swift would release her sophomore album, Fearless, on November 11, 2008. She released five singles from the album, “Love Story”, “White Horse”, “You Belong With Me”, “Fifteen” and finally the title song, “Fearless”.

In January 2009, Swift announced her North American Fearless Tour planned for 52 cities in 38 states and provinces in the US and Canada over the span of 6 months. The tour kicked off April 23 in Evansville, Indiana. In the same month, Swift made her first musical guest appearance on Saturday Night Live. On February 8, 2009, Swift performed her song “Fifteen” with Miley Cyrus at the 51st Grammy Awards. As of the week ending February 8, 2009, Swift’s single “Love Story” became the country song with the most paid downloads in history. Since the release of Swift’s second album, Fearless, she has released one new song “Crazier” for the soundtrack of the feature film Hannah Montana: The Movie. At the 44th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards, Swift picked up Album of the Year honors as a performer and producer for Fearless. Swift is the youngest artist in history to win the ACM Album of the Year award. The Academy lauded her for career achievements including selling more albums in 2008 than any other artist in any genre of music, the breakthrough success of her debut album, and the worldwide crossover success of her No.1 single “Love Story”. The Academy also cited Swift’s contribution to helping country music attract a younger audience. As of late April 2009, Swift has sold more than 14 million downloads, as well as three Gold Mobile Ringtones. On April 28, 2009, Swift gave a free, private concert to students at Bishop Ireton High School, a small Catholic school in Alexandria, Virginia after the school won a national “TXT 2 WIN” contest from Verizon Wireless. The students sent over 19,000 text messages to Verizon during a roughly one month long contest. Swift played for about an hour during the school’s field day, an annual day-long recess with games and activities. On October 8, 2009 Swift’s official website announced that her sold-out Fearless Tour would return to North America for 37 additional dates in 2010.

Scheduled to perform on September 13, 2009, Swift attended the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards. This was her first VMA performance, where she became the first country music artist to win an MTV Video Music Award. During the show, as Swift was on stage accepting the award for Best Female Video for “You Belong with Me,” singer/rapper Kanye West came on stage and took the microphone from Swift, saying that Beyoncé’s video for “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)”, nominated for the same award, was “one of the best videos of all time,” an action that caused the many audience members to boo West. He handed the microphone back to a stunned and reportedly upset Swift, who did not finish her acceptance speech. When Beyoncé later won the award for Best Video of the Year for “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)”, she called Swift up on stage so that she could finish her acceptance speech. Following the awards show, West apologized for his verbal outburst in a blog entry (which was subsequently removed). He was criticized by various celebrities for the outburst, and Swift’s fans were outraged, going on various social networks and leaving very vulgar comments to West’s pages and even President Barack Obama called West a “jackass” in an “off the record” comment. He later posted a second apology on his blog and made his first public apology one day after the incident on the debut episode of The Jay Leno Show. On September 15, 2009, Swift talked about the matter on The View, where she said she was at first excited to see West on stage and then disappointed once he acted out. She said West had not spoken to her following the incident. Following her appearance on The View, West contacted her to apologize personally; Swift said she accepted his apology. However, on November 8, 2010, in an interview with a Minnesota radio station, West seemed to recant a bit of his past apologies by attempting to describe the act at the 2009 awards show as “selfless” and downgrade the perception of disrespect it created. Swift would later perform a song at the 2010 VMA called “Innocent” which is about the incident and in the song she absolves West of his actions.

On November 11, 2009, Swift became the youngest artist ever to win the Country Music Association Award for Entertainer of the year, and is one of only six women to win the Country Music Association’s highest honor. On the chart week of November 14, 2009, Swift set a record for the most songs on the Billboard Hot 100 by a female artist at the same time with eight singles from the re-release of her 2008 album Fearless namely five debut new songs in the top 30: “Jump Then Fall” at #10, “Untouchable” at #19, “The Other Side of the Door” at #22, “Superstar” at No.27 and “Come in With the Rain” at No.30 and three already-charted songs that were released as singles—”You Belong with Me” (#14), “Forever & Always” which re-entered the chart at #34, and “Fifteen” (#46). In addition, the song “Two Is Better Than One” by Boys Like Girls which features Swift, debuted at No.80 in the same issue. This gives Swift six debuts in one week, the biggest number of debuts by any female artist of all time. It also lifts the number of her simultaneously-charting songs to nine, setting another record for the biggest number of charting songs by the same female artist in the same week. When “Fifteen” reached No.38 on the chart week of November 21, 2009, Swift became the female artist with the most Top 40 singles this decade, surpassing Beyoncé. “Fifteen” became Swift’s twentieth Top 40 single overall. “Two Is Better Than One” by Boys Like Girls and John Mayer’s “Half of My Heart” both featured Swift, peaking at No.40 and No.25 respectively. The two songs are her 21st and 22nd Top 40 singles. Fearless was the best-selling album of 2009 in the US with more than 3.2 millions copies sold in that year. Swift claimed both the No.1 and No.2 positions atop Nielsen’s BDS Top 10 Most Played Songs chart (all genres), with “You Belong With Me” and “Love Story,” respectively. She also topped the all format 2009 Top 10 Artist Airplay chart with over 1.29 million song detections, and the Top 10 Artist Internet Streams chart with more than 46 million song plays.

Swift released the track “Today Was a Fairytale” as a digital download on iTunes on January 19, 2010. The song was featured on the soundtrack for the film Valentine’s Day, in which she made her feature-film acting debut. The song debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 2, becoming her sixth Top 10 and 23rd Top 40 single on that chart. According to Nielsen SoundScan, with sales of “Today Was a Fairytale” more than 325,000 in its first week, Swift has broken the record for first-week download sales by a female artist. The song also debuted at number one on the Canadian Hot 100, making it Swift’s first number one hit in Canada. In February 2010, Swift brought her Fearless Tour to 5 cities in Australia. Opening acts included Gloriana. In mid-July 2010, Billboard revealed that Swift’s new album is called Speak Now. It was released on October 25, 2010. She has written the album completely by herself in Arkansas, New York, Boston and Nashville with Nathan Chapman serving as co-producer. On Wednesday, August 4, 2010, the lead single from the album, “Mine,” was leaked onto the internet. Big Machine Records decided to rush the release of the song to counteract the leak. Swift appeared at the 44th Annual Country Music Awards on November 10, 2010. In 2011, Swift visited Singapore as the first stop of the Asian leg of her first world tour. Hong Kong is the last stop of the Speak Now World Tour and Swift will begin the European and American leg afterwards. Swift’s first live album, Speak Now World Tour: Live, featuring all seventeen performances from the North American leg of her concert tour, is scheduled for a November 21, 2011 release. Many dates on the Speak Now World Tour were cancelled due to Swift suffering from bronchitis and was told she is unable to perform. Swift sold approximately 4,470,000 albums in the US in 2010 (more than any other artist) and sold 9.9 million digital tracks. She was ranked second on Rolling Stone’s lists of Top 16 “Queen Of Pops” of the decade. Swift appeared on the Hamish & Andy show where she performed a new song called “Chaperone Dads”, which is dedicated to a select group of her fans. The week following the release of her “Sparks Fly” video Swift jumped from nineteen to ten on the Billboard’s Social 50. Swift has revealed that she has already written 25 songs for an untitled follow-up album to Speak Now, set to release in the later part of 2012. She commented on them, “They’re sad. If I’m being honest.” ON November 8, 2011she released the sixth and finaly single to Speak Now, “Ours” the song hit number one on the US Billboard Country Song chart and was certified Platinum by the RIAA.

On December 23, 2011, Taylor announced via Twitter, “Something I’ve been VERY excited about for a VERY long time is going to be happening VERY soon.” Several hours later, Taylor announced that she is featured on The Hunger Games Official Movie Soundtrack. Her song, entitled “Safe & Sound”, was released a promotional single. The song was co-written by The Civil Wars, who also co-recorded the song with Taylor. On January 8, 2012, Taylor was elected the fifth top artist (fourth female top artist) of all-time with the best-selling digital music tracks. Taylor has sold 41,821,000 million digital tracks as of the end of 2011 according to Nielsen SoundScan. On March 27, 2012, released her “Eyes Open” as a single from the soundtrack. Swift later collaborated with B.o.B and released “Both of Us” as a single on May 22, 2012.

On August 13, 2012, Swift revealed via video chat that her upcoming album, Red, was to be releases on October 22, 2012. She also premiered the lead single “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” the same day. The single was released the next day at midnight on iTunes and Google Play and the song hit number one on iTunes in 50 minutes breaking the record by Lady Gaga for her song “Born This Way”. It became the first single in Swift’s career to peak at number one on the Billboard Hot 100.

On October 27, 2014, Swift released her fifth studio album, 1989, and was a huge success, winning Swift her second Album of the Year at the 58th Grammy Awards, making Swift the first female to win the award twice.

Prior to 1989‘s release, Swift stressed the importance of albums to artists and fans. In November 2014, she removed her entire catalog from Spotify, arguing that the streaming company’s ad-supported, free service undermined the premium service, which provides higher royalties for songwriters. In a June 2015 open letter, Swift criticized Apple Music for not offering royalties to artists during the streaming service’s free three-month trial period and stated that she would pull 1989 from the catalog. The following day, Apple announced that it would pay artists during the free trial period, and Swift agreed to stream 1989 on the streaming service. Swift’s intellectual property rights management and holding company, TAS Rights Management, filed for 73 trademarks related to Swift and the 1989 era memes. She re-added her entire catalog plus 1989 to Spotify, Amazon Music and Google Play and other digital streaming platforms in June 2017.

Swift was named Billboard‘s Woman of the Year in 2014, becoming the first artist to win the award twice. At the 2014 American Music Awards, Swift received the inaugural Dick Clark Award for Excellence. In 2015, Swift won the Brit Award for International Female Solo Artist. The video for “Bad Blood” won Video of the Year and Best Collaboration at the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards. Swift was one of eight artists to receive a 50th Anniversary Milestone Award at the 2015 Academy of Country Music Awards.

In 2016, Swift gave a song she had written for her Red album, “Better Man”, to Little Big Town for their seventh album, The Breaker, which was released in November. The song earned Swift an award for Song of the Year at the 51st CMA Awards. Swift and English singer Zayn Malik released a single together, “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever”, for the soundtrack of the film Fifty Shades Darker. The song reached number two in the U.S and won Best Collaboration at the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards.

In November 2017, after taking a year from the public eye due to hatred she was getting on social media due to lies by Kanye West and Kim Kardashian, posting an edited video to make it look like Swift had approved of West’s song “Famous” in which West claims they may have sex and called Swift a “bitch” and made her famous (later in 2020, the full conversation between the two was leaked and revealed that Swift had not approved of nor was she informed of the line “I made that bitch famous”), Swift released her sixth studio album, reputation. This would be her last contractual album with Big Machine Records.

On August 23, 2019, Swift released her seventh studio album, Lover, under her new label, Republic Records. This would be the first album Swift would own the rights to the master recordings of every song on, something she had publicly been speaking out about since her master recordings to her first six albums were sold to talent manager, Scooter Braun, a man who Swift stated orchestrated the whole situation with Kanye West and had Justin Bieber and West bully her online, as well as having West release a revenge porn music video for his song “Famous”, earlier that same year. Scott Borchetta, the former president of Big Machine Records, tried claiming that Swift was given the opportunity to buy her master recordings, which actually had it where Swift could buy back her first six albums for each new album she put out under a new contract with Big Machine Records, a deal Swift declined as she wanted to buy all her master recordings out right.

In 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic and in isolation, Swift released two surprise albums back to back, the first folklore, was released on July 24, 2020 and won Swift her third Album of the Year at the 63rd Grammy Awards, making Swift the first female artist in history to win the award three times. The second surprise album and sister to folklore, evermore, was released on December 11, 2020, and debut at number one on the Billboard 200 breaking the record for the shortest gap between two number-one albums by a female act.

In November 2020, after her master recordings were sold for a second time without her knowledge and to Swift’s disappointment still allowed Scooter Braun to make money off the master recordings for many years, Swift continued to re-record her first six albums to gain back control of her music and on April 9, 2021, four months after releasing evermore, Swift released her re-recorded version of her sophomore album, Fearless, entitled Fearless (Taylor’s Version). The album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 breaking Swift’s previous record for shortest gap between two number-one albums by a female act and became the first re-recorded album in history to ever top the Billboard 200. In November of the same year Swift released her second re-recorded album, Red (Taylor’s Version), which again topped the Billboard 200 which made Swift the fastest solo artist in the history of the Billboard 200 to collect four number one albums in less than 16 months, surpassing Elton John’s 46 year old record and making Swift the second woman to score so many number one albums (10), right behind Barbara Streisand, who has 11.

Swift’s greatest musical influence is Shania Twain. Her other influences include LeAnn Rimes, Tina Turner, Dolly Parton, and Swift’s grandmother. Although her grandmother was a professional opera singer, Swift’s tastes always leaned more toward country music. In her younger years, she developed a love for Patsy Cline and Dolly Parton. She also credits the Dixie Chicks for demonstrating the impact that one can have by “stretching boundaries”.


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