Newsflash

Taylor Swift has been added to the all-star line-up of performers for the live broadcast of the 2014 Grammy Awards. She is nominated for four Grammys, including Album of the Year ("Red"), Best Country Album ("Red"), Best Country Song ("Begin Again"), and Best Country Duo/Group Performance ("Highway Don't Care"). The 56th annual Grammy Awards will air on Sunday, Jan. 26 at 8PM ET on CBS.


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Written by Taylor   
Tuesday, 15 March 2011 17:21

Taylor Alison Swift was born on December 13th 1989 and grew up on a Christmas tree farm in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania. Her father, Scott, was a stockbroker, and her mother, Andrea, quit her job as a stockbroker to stay home and raise Taylor and her younger brother, Austin.

She discovered her love for singing at an early age. Although her greatest musical influence was her grandmother, opera singer Marjorie Finlay, she was especially drawn to country music, inspired by artists such as Shania Twain, Dolly Parton, LeAnn Rimes, and the Dixie Chicks. Similarly, she also discovered her gift for writing at an early age. In fourth grade, her poem “Monster in my Closet” won a national poetry contest, and at age twelve she wrote a 350-page novel, which remains unpublished. However, she soon realized that her true passion lay in songwriting, and after being taught some beginning guitar chords by the family computer technician, she wrote her first song, “Lucky You.” She quickly discovered that songwriting was a natural outlet to analyze and express her feelings about how she was treated by schoolmates, first loves, and heartbreak. As a child, she often asked her parents to take her to Nashville after hearing stories of her favorite country singers getting their big break in the country music capital. When she was eleven years old, she convinced her mother to take her to Nashville over Spring Break. While she was there, she visited several record labels with a demo tape she made of herself singing covers of her favorite country singers' music as well as original songs that she wrote herself. She was rejected by every label she approached, but she was determined to keep trying. For the next year, she visited Nashville regularly, writing songs and collaborating with other local songwriters.

When she was 14, her parents sold their Christmas tree farm and the family moved to Hendersonville, Tennessee, a suburb of Nashville. Shortly after the move, RCA records signed her with a one-year development deal so they could watch her progress and growth as an artist without committing to signing her to the label. However, after the one year was over, RCA wanted to extend the development deal for another year, and wait to release an album until Taylor was 18. Not content to remain on the development deal for another year, she made the bold move to end the deal and walk away from the biggest label in Nashville at the time. She continued to write songs and perform at the Bluebird Cafe, which often featured up and coming country artists. During one of her performances, she caught the attention of Scott Borchetta, who asked her to join his newly formed label, Big Machine Records. She accepted, and by June of 2006, her debut single, "Tim McGraw," was released, reaching #6 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart. Her self-titled debut album was released on October 24, 2006, selling 39,000 copies in its first week and reaching #1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart. The album featured twelve original songs, a rare accomplishment for any musician, but especially a 16-year-old country artist.

After the release of her album, she began touring, opening for George Strait, Brad Paisley, Rascal Flatts, Faith Hill, and the namesake of her first single, Tim McGraw. Shortly after, the second single, "Teardrops on my Guitar" was released, peaking at #2 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart. One year after the release of her debut album, Taylor was named Songwriter/Artist of the Year by the Nashville Songwriter's Association International. She is the youngest person in history to have received that honor. Her next single, "Our Song," became her first #1 single, spending six weeks on the country charts. In late 2007, she released "Sounds of the Season: The Taylor Swift Holiday Collection," a Christmas album featuring four Christmas standards and two original songs. She was honored at the 2007 Country Music Association Awards with the Horizon Award, an award presented to new artists who display significant creative development. In December 2007, she received her first Grammy nomination in the category of Best New Artist, but unfortunately, lost to Amy Winehouse. In summer 2008, she released "Beautiful Eyes," an EP with acoustic versions of songs on her debut album and early unreleased songs, which sold 45,000 copies in the first week of release, and debuted at #1 on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart. With her debut album at #2 in the same week, she became the first artist in over a decade to hold the top two spots.

Taylor was quickly gaining fame, and with the release of "Love Story," the lead single from her second studio album, Fearless, her popularity skyrocketed. The song, loosely based on Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet," became her biggest single yet, reaching #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the Mediabase Top 40 chart, as well as becoming the first country single to reach #1 on the Nielsen top 20 chart and, in the span of five months, would go on to break the record for most paid downloads for a country song.

On November 11, 2008, Taylor's second studio album was released. Its first-week sales of 592,304 made it the highest debut of any country artist in 2008, as well as the highest debut week by a female artist that year, and the fourth largest overall. Like her debut album, Taylor either wrote or co-wrote each of the 13 songs on Fearless. 2008 ended on a high note for Taylor as she became Billboard's Hot Country Artist and Hot Country Songwriter of the year, and her two main releases, Fearless and Taylor Swift, took both top spots on the 2008 Canadian year-end country albums chart.

In January of 2009 Taylor announced plans for her North American Fearless tour. She would give 52 concerts in 38 states and provinces across the United States and Canada over the span of six months. In October 2009, she announced that her sold out Fearless tour would return to North America for 37 additional dates as well as dates in Europe and Asia in 2010. At the Academy of Country Music Awards in 2009, Taylor won the Album of the Year award for Fearless,, becoming the youngest artist in history to win that award at age 19. On September 13, Taylor won the MTV Video Music Award for Best Female Video, becoming the first country artist in history to ever win an MTV Video Music Award. During her acceptance speech, Kanye West came onstage, taking the microphone from Taylor and announcing his opinion that Beyonce, who was nominated for the same award, "had one of the best videos of all time," to a shocked audience. Minutes after the interruption, Taylor gave her first MTV Video Music Awards performance of her award-winning song, "You Belong With Me." At the end of the show, Beyonce won the award for Video of the Year, and rather than give a speech, she capped Taylor up on stage so that she could have the moment she earned. Two days later, following an appearance on The View, much criticism from various celebrities as well as the President of the United States, West called her to apologize for his boorish outburst. Taylor graciously accepted, and at the following Video Music Awards, she performed "Innocent," a song of forgiveness she wrote about the rapper.

On November 11, 2009, one year after the release of the phenomenally successful Fearless, Taylor won the Country Music Association Award for Entertainer of the Year, becoming not only one of the only six female artists in history to receive the honor, but also the youngest artist in history. The following week, she re-released a deluxe version of Fearless with five additional songs. The end of 2009 brought Taylor eight Grammy nominations in the categories of Best Female Country Vocal Performance, Best Country Song, Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals, Best Country Album, and Album of the Year. On January 31, 2010, she won four of the eight she was eligible for: Best Female Country Vocal Performance, Best Country Song, Best Country Album, and the biggest award in the music industry, Album of the Year.

In the summer of 2010, Taylor announced the release of her third studio album, Speak Now, on October 25 of the same year. The lead single from the album, "Mine" was released on August 4, 2010, twelve days before its scheduled release, after being leaked online. It was incredibly well-received, selling approximately 350,000 digital downloads in the first week. It debuted at #26 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and eventually peaked at #2 in November. On October 25, 2010, Taylor's third studio album was released. Like her first two albums, Taylor once again wrote each of the 14 songs. Speak Now exceeded 1,047,000 million in sales in its first week, the first album to sell over a million copies in one week since 2008. The remarkably high sales also gave Taylor the distinction of being one of only four female artists to ever reach the million mark in a single week. On November 23, 2010, dates for Taylor's second headlining tour were announced. The "Speak Now" World Tour will take Taylor to 19 countries, beginning February 9, 2010 in Singapore and traveling through Asia and Europe before coming to the U.S. on May 27, 2010. Taylor Swift has achieved an extraordinary number of accomplishments since the release of her debut album, not only winning awards and breaking records, but also touching the lives of her fans with her relateable lyrics. She celebrated her 21st birthday on December 13, 2010.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 March 2011 23:14