Born Taylor Alison Swift in December, 1989 in Reading, Pennsylvania, this rising American county music star now lives with her parents in Hendersonville, TN. She cites early influences on her life and music as her grandmother, who was an opera singer, and LeAnn Rimes, another country music star. While her grandmother was a professional opera singer, Swift's taste in music seemed to continue to head toward country music instead of opera, and she quickly developed a love for Patsy Cline and Dolly Parton. So, it was natural when she started writing and singing her own songs at the age of 10, her music gravitated toward country and began her love with Grand Auditorium guitars that are made of koa wood.
She began to perform around the town she lived in, Wyomissing, singing at all types of contests, festivals, and even taping her own songs at a local studio. By age 11, she had already taken her first trip to Nashville, handing out tapes and trying to land a record deal. But, it wasn't until age 13 when she was finally signed to a record label. And, even though she had been trying to get a record deal for several years, she walked away from this first one because it "wasn't where I wanted to be". She then began to play at Nashville's premier songwriter's cafe, The Bluebird Caf�, where Scott Brochetta of Big Machine Records found her.
Her very first single, "Tim McGraw", released in the summer of 2006, followed by her self-titled CD. Contrary to most new artists, Swift either wrote or co-wrote all of the songs on her first album, which found it's debut spot at number 19 on the Billboard charts. After it's debut, it sold more than 61,000 copies in the first week and swiftly worked it's way up to number 1 on the Billboard country charts. Since this wonderful feat, her debut album has topped the country album charts and sold over 2 million copies. Her first single, "Tim McGraw" hit #6 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts and she even set a record on CMT for the video to the song, which lasted a whopping 30 weeks at the number one spot. She has also passed the 20 million mark for music downloads and streams on MySpace and is ranked at #15 for the most visits to her MySpace for all the different genres of music, and is the top ranked artist on MySpace right now. The phenomenial success of her first single landed her a performance at the Academy of Country Music Awards in 2007, where she sang the song, "Tim McGraw", to the country singer who was in the audience. Since then, she has become an opening act for both Tim and his wife, Faith Hill. She has also opened for George Strait, Rascal Flatts, and Brad Paisley.
Swift was honored by her songwriting peers in late 2007 at the Nashville Songwriters Association with the Songwriter/Artist of the Year award, making her the youngest artist to receive the award. Then, in November of 2007, she won the CMA Horizon Award and performed "Our Song", which then went on to hit #1 in the first week of December 2007. She was even nominated for a Grammy Award in 2008 for the Best New Artist, but lost to British singer Amy Winehouse. Like many artists, she released a holiday album that featured several songs that she penned herself, such as "Last Christmas". Although the holiday album did not fare quite as well as her debut album, she still has seen success with it. Her next album is set to release in the fall of 2008, and she is expected to either write or co-write every song on the album, just like her first.
Although she lost the Best New Artist award, she was nominated for and won several other awards for her breakthrough performances and album in 2007. She won the CMT Music Awards Breakthrough Video of the Year for her single "Tim McGraw" and won the Country Music Association Awards' Horizon Award in 2007. She was also nominated for the Academy of Country Music Awards' Top New Female Vocalist and the American Music Awards' Favorite Female Country Artist.
Swift is also using her fame to help others. In September of 2007, she launched a campaign to help protect children from online predators with the help of the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police. Along with the Tenessee Governor, Phil Bredesen and the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police, Swift will distribute Internet safety information to parents and children across Tennessee to help combat Internet sex crimes against children.
In 2006, she released her debut single "Tim McGraw", then her self-titled debut album, which was subsequently certified multi-platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. In November 2008, Swift released her second album, Fearless. Fearless and Taylor Swift finished 2008 at number-three and number-six respectively, with sales of 2.1 and 1.5 million. Fearless has topped the Billboard 200 in 11 non-consecutive weeks; no album has spent more time at No. 1 since 2000. Swift was named Artist of the Year by Billboard Magazine in 2009. Fearless won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 2010. Her third album, Speak Now was released in November 2010.
In 2008, her albums sold a combined four million copies, making her the best-selling musician of the year in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Forbes ranked Swift 2009's 69th-most powerful celebrity with earnings of $18 million. In January 2010 Nielsen SoundScan lists Swift as the top-selling digital artist in music history with over 24.3 million digital tracks sold. To date, she has sold over 20 million albums worldwide.
User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License and may also be available under the GNU FDL.
Taylor Alison Swift (born December 13, 1989) is an American singer-songwriter. Raised in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, Swift moved to Nashville, Tennessee at the age of fourteen to pursue a career in country music. She signed to the independent label Big Machine Records and became the youngest songwriter ever hired by the Sony/ATV Music publishing house. The release of Swift's eponymous debut album in 2006 established her as a country music star. "Our Song", her third single, made her the youngest person to single-handedly write and perform a number one song on the country chart. She received a Best New Artist nomination at the 2008 Grammy Awards.
Swift's second album, Fearless, was released in 2008. Buoyed by the pop crossover success of the singles "Love Story" and "You Belong with Me", Fearless became the best-selling album of 2009 and was supported by an extensive concert tour. The record won four Grammy Awards, with Swift becoming the youngest ever Album of the Year winner. Swift's third album, 2010's Speak Now, sold over one million copies in its first week of US release and was supported by the thirteen-month Speak Now World Tour. The album's third single, "Mean", won two Grammy Awards. Swift's fourth album, Red, was released in 2012. Its opening US sales of 1.2 million were the highest recorded in a decade, with Swift becoming the only female artist to have two million-plus opening weeks. The singles "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" and "I Knew You Were Trouble" were worldwide hits. The Red Tour is scheduled to begin in March 2013.