From her humble beginnings, to record-breaking titles, Taylor Swift has become a frequent topic of interest in Hollywood. Since 2006, she has given us hit after hit, establishing herself as one of music’s most well known names. With most of the songs being about her exes, Taylor sees her fair share of criticism. But love her or hate her, Taylor Swift, and her catchy tunes, are here to stay.
At 14, a spirited Taylor and her family moved from their hometown in Pennsylvania to Nashville, Tennessee in hopes of starting a career in country music. Under an artistic development deal with RCA Records, she started writing songs with veterans like Brett James and The Warren Brothers. Eager to release an album of her own, Taylor left RCA at 15 and signed with Big Machine Records (with whom she is currently signed). It was then that Taylor started utilizing the internet (specifically Myspace) to establish a fanbase, something that was “revolutionary in country music” at the time.
In the summer of 2006, Taylor released the first single off her self titled debut album, “Tim McGraw.” Four other singles were released with major success over the next two years, including the iconic “Our Song.” The youthful tune made Taylor the “youngest person to single-handedly write and sing a number one country song.” In addition, she brought country music into the ears of mainstream listeners. Taylor continued to write and record song after song, and has now released three additional studio albums: “Fearless,” “Speak Now,” and “Red.”
Like most artists, Taylor’s music has evolved over the years. Her albums have progressively become less country and more pop-oriented, but her writing technique is unchanged. Taylor is known for writing about personal experience; specifically her dating life. Each song is an open diary for the world to read. We listen with her as she meets a boy, falls in love, falls out of love, gets revenge and breaks down. And she’s not always shy about name-dropping her ex-lovers. She bluntly calls out John Mayer in “Dear John,” and gives hints about Taylor Lautner in “Back to December.” Taylor also leaves secret messages in her lyrics, revealing relationships with Joe Jonas (“Forever and Always”), Toby Hemingway (“Mine”), and Conor Kennedy (“Everything Has Changed”).
Taylor is often criticized for her active dating life, and writing songs that place blame on her exes. Many of her songs have a theme of the boy as the heart-breaker and Taylor as the victim. After listening to an album, some listeners debate that each album consists of multiple versions of the same song. But despite the critics, Taylor is still considered a role model to fans. She supports art education, and makes recurrent donations to schools and art-related organizations. Parents appreciate her kid-appropriate lyrics and behavior. Taylor has ultimately stayed true to herself, even during times of ridicule and controversy, such as the infamous Kanye West interruption at the 2009 VMAs.
Taylor has already made a multi-million dollar name for herself in the music industry, but her career is far from over. While she isn’t busy selling out tours, Taylor promotes her personal fragrance “Wonderstruck” and dabbles in acting. Whether she’ll pursue more acting in the future is unknown, but she is not going anywhere anytime soon. Because while Taylor still has a guitar in her hands and fans at her feet, the world is her stage.