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 14 to pursue a career in country music. She signed with 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 self-titled 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 Hot Country Songs 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 in the US. The album 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 within the first week of its US release. The album's third single, "Mean", won two Grammy Awards. In 2012, Swift released her fourth album, Red. Its opening US sales of 1.2 million were the highest recorded in a decade.
Life and career
Taylor Alison Swift was born on December 13, 1989 in Reading, Pennsylvania. Her father, Scott Kingsley Swift, is a Merrill Lynch financial adviser. Scott was raised in Pennsylvania and is the descendant of three generations of bank presidents.Her mother, Andrea (ne Finlay), is a homemaker who previously worked as a mutual fund marketing executive. Andrea, though American, spent the first ten years of her life in Singapore, before settling in Texas; her own father was an oil rig engineer who worked throughout Southeast Asia.Swift's younger brother, Austin, is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame.
2004–08: Career beginnings and Taylor Swift
Swift moved to Nashville, Tennessee at the age of fourteen. As part of her artist development deal with RCA Records, she had writing sessions with experienced Music Row songwriters such as Troy Verges, Brett Beavers, Brett James, Mac McAnally and The Warren Brothers. She eventually formed a lasting working relationship with Liz Rose. Swift saw Rose performing at an RCA songwriter event and suggested that they write together.
One of Swift's earliest musical memories is listening to her maternal grandmother, Marjorie Finlay (ne Moehlenkamp), sing at church. In her youth, Finlay was a television host in Puerto Rico and performed in operas in Singapore and Thailand.As a very young child, Swift enjoyed Disney movie soundtracks: "My parents noticed that, once I had run out of words, I would just make up my own."Later, her parents exposed her to artists including James Taylor, Simon & Garfunkel and Def Leppard.Swift has said she owes her confidence to her mother, who helped her prepare for class presentations as a child. She also attributes her "fascination with writing and storytelling" to her mother.Swift enjoyed both reading and writing poetry and was particularly drawn to the works of Shel Silverstein and Dr. Seuss.She remains interested "in any writing from a child's perspective" and has cited To Kill a Mockingbird as one of her favorite books.
Lyrical themes and style
Thematically, The Guardian has noted that Swift was "fantastically good at regarding teenage life with a kind of wistful, sepia-toned nostalgia" over the course of her first two albums.New York Magazine has remarked that few singer-songwriters have written "great records so explicitly about their teens ... Her nearest antecedent might be sixties-era Brian Wilson, the one true adolescent auteur before she came along.Comparisons have also been drawn with Janis Ian. Fairytale imagery featured on Swift's second album, Fearless. She explored the disconnect "between fairy tales and the reality of love."
Musical and vocal style
Swift's music contains elements of country, pop and pop rock.She self-identifies as a country artist. Rolling Stone asserts that, "she might get played on the country station, but she's one of the few genuine rock stars we've got these days." Swift's own definition of country music "is really pretty simple. It's when someone sings about their life and what they know, from an authentic place ... One guy will write about how he grew up on a farm and fell in love and raised kids on that same farm. Some people sing about how, when they get sad, they go to the bar and drink whiskey. I write songs about how I can't seem to figure out relationships and how I'm fascinated by love."She has said there will be "a huge temptation" to make an alt-country record as her career progresses.
Swift has high Q Score and Davie-Brown Index ratings, reflecting a high level of public awareness (90 percent) and popularity (80 percent) in the United States. The singer considers it her "responsibility" to be conscious of her influence on young fans. A Rolling Stone journalist who profiled Swift in 2009 remarked upon her polite manners: "If this is Swift's game face, it must be tattooed on because it never drops." In 2012, Rolling Stone remarked upon Swift's "ease with glad-handing ... it's not hard to imagine her running for office someday"while The Hollywood Reporter referred to her as "the Best People Person Since Bill Clinton." It has been said that she is "the kind of driven, intensely ambitious person who'd thrive regardless of her profession."
Impact and recognition
Swift's work has received praise from veteran artists. Neil Young describes her as "a great writer": "I like Taylor Swift. I like listening to her. I kind of like watching her respond to all the attacks. I like the ways she's defining herself. So I keep my eye on it." Stephen Stills has defended Swift's confessional writing style: "How many times do people want to make fun of [her] for writing a song about getting dumped? I'm sorry, that's what you do as a songwriter ... Wear your heart on your sleeve, then just write about it. Fuck 'em. If I was young, I would be one of Taylor Swift's conquests because I would stalk her."James Taylor, who has performed with Swift on two occasions, has said that "we just hit it off. I loved her songs, and her presence on stage was so great."
While promoting her debut album, Swift appeared as a spokesmodel for l.e.i. jeans and as the face of Verizon Wireless' Mobile Music campaign. In the Fearless era, she launched a l.e.i. sundress range at Wal-Mart, and designed American Greetings cards and Jakks Pacific dolls.She became a spokesperson for the NHL's Nashville Predators and Sony Cyber-shot digital cameras. She performed in a commercial for the Band Hero video game, with Rivers Cuomo, Pete Wentz and Travis Barker appearing as her backing band. In the Speak Now era, she released a special edition of her album through Target. Swift became a CoverGirl spokesmodel, launched two Elizabeth Arden fragrances, Wonderstruck and Wonderstruck Enchanted.
Swift made her acting debut in a 2009 episode of CBS's CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, playing a rebellious teenager.The New York Times noted that the character allowed Swift to be "a little bit naughty, and credibly so".Rolling Stone felt she "held her own" and "does a good job with the script"while the Chicago Tribune said she "acquits herself well." Later that year, Swift both hosted and performed as the musical guest for an episode of Saturday Night Live
Swift's philanthropic efforts have been recognised by the Do Something Awards, The Giving Back Fund and the Tennessee Disaster Services. In 2012, Michelle Obama presented Swift with The Big Help Award for her "dedication to helping others" and "inspiring others through action." Also that year, Kerry Kennedy of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights presented Swift with the Ripple of Hope Award because of her "dedication to advocacy at such a young age ... Taylor is just the kind of woman we want our daughters to be.
Swift's main residence is a duplex penthouse in Tribeca, New York City.She also spends time at a three-bedroom cottage in Beverly Hills, California
Swift dated singer Joe Jonas from July to October 2008,and actor Taylor Lautner from October to December 2009. She was romantically linked to musician John Mayer from late 2009 until early 2010.
Swift says she registered to vote on her 18th birthday. During the 2008 presidential campaign, she supported the Every Woman Counts campaign, aimed at engaging women in the political process, and was one of many country stars to record a public service announcement for the Vote (For Your) Country campaign. She stated: "I don't think it's my job to try and influence people which way they should vote.
Swift has received seven Grammy Awards, fifteen American Music Awards, eleven Country Music Association Awards, seven Academy of Country Music Awards, and twelve Billboard Music Awards. As a songwriter, she has been honored by the Nashville Songwriters Association and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. In 2013, she became the second person (and first woman) to receive the Country Music Association's Pinnacle Award.