Born on the 13th of December 1989 in West Reading, Pennsylvania, Taylor Alison Swift grew up on a Christmas tree farm. Named after James Taylor – singer, guitarist and legend – it seems that music was always in young Swift’s blood.
From the age of nine, Taylor loved all things stage. With a keen interest in musical theatre, she received acting and vocal lessons – regularly travelling to New York for them. While her early career may have taken her down the singing route, those trips to NYC were certainly not wasted, and Swift later got bitten by the acting bug again. A guest role in CSI in 2009 gave way to performances in The Giver (2014), the 2019 adaptation of Cats, and many more.
However, Taylor Swift is best known for her music accolades. Catchy melodies, relatable lyrics, and a captivating voice – with a range spanning almost four octaves – are just a few of the elements that make her music so popular. To date, she’s sold over 200 million records!
Inspired by Shania Twain, Faith Hill, and other country music stars, Swift started learning guitar at 12 and knew early on that she wanted to move to Nashville to pursue her passion. Luckily, her family relocated there when she was 14. It was at this age that she secured a record deal with Sony/ATV, becoming the company’s youngest signing ever.
Disillusioned with the label’s lack of artist care, however, Swift left that same year. She soon met Scott Borchetta and signed with his emerging label Big Machine Records, releasing her first album – the eponymous Taylor Swift – in 2006. The album’s lead track, “Tim McGraw” (a tribute to her childhood hero) quickly rose to the top of the country charts, establishing Swift as one of the biggest stars in the genre. The release also led to her first Grammy Award for Best Country Album.