Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Taylor Swift made a splash in the country music world in 2006 and has gone on to become one of the top acts in popular music.
Musician Taylor Swift was earning renown as a country music singer by the age of 16. Early hits like "Love Story" and "You Belong With Me" appealed to country and pop fans alike and helped fuel the multi-platinum success of her albums, including the Grammy-winning Fearless (2008). Swift continued to top the charts with her 2014 studio effort 1989, which featured the No. 1 singles "Shake it Off" and "Blank Space" and won Grammys for Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album. Her follow-up albums reputation (2018) and Lover (2019) also achieved immense commercial success.
Taylor Alison Swift was born on December 13, 1989, in Reading, Pennsylvania. Swift spent her early years on her family's Christmas tree farm in nearby Wyomissing. Her grandmother had been a professional opera singer, and Swift soon followed in her musical footsteps. By the age of 10, Swift was singing at a variety of local events, including fairs and contests. She sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" at a Philadelphia 76ers basketball game at the age of 11, and began writing her own songs and learning guitar at 12 years old.
To pursue her music career, Swift often visited Nashville, Tennessee, the country music capital. There she co-wrote songs and tried to land a recording contract. Noting her dedication, Swift and her family moved to nearby Hendersonville, Tennessee, in an attempt to further Swift's career.
Country Music Career
A stellar performance at The Bluebird Café in Nashville helped Swift get a contract with Scott Borchetta's Big Machine Records. She released her first single, "Tim McGraw," in 2006, and the song became a Top 10 hit on the country charts. It also appeared on her self-titled debut album in October of that same year, which went on to sell more than 5 million copies. More popular singles soon followed, including "Our Song," a No. 1 country music hit. "Teardrops on My Guitar," "Picture to Burn" and "Should've Said No" were also successful tracks.
Swift also received critical praise for her debut effort. She won the Horizon Award from the Country Music Association (CMA) and the Academy of Country Music (ACM) Award for Top New Female Vocalist in 2007. Swift next released Sounds of the Season: The Taylor Swift Holiday Collection that year. Her renditions of "Silent Night" and "Santa Baby" were modest hits on the country charts.
In 2008, Swift was nominated for a Grammy in the Best New Artist category and won other accolades, including the ACM's Female Vocalist of the Year Award. Around this same time, Swift released her next album, Fearless, which hit the top of both the country and pop charts and stayed there for 11 weeks. By the end of the year, Swift had become the highest-selling country artist of 2008.
2009 VMAs and Kanye West
Swift netted several awards for her work on Fearless, including Video of the Year and Female Video of the Year for "Love Story" at the 2009 CMT Music Awards. That year Swift also won the MTV Video Music Award's Best Female Video, for "You Belong With Me," making her the first country music star to earn a VMA. The win stirred controversy when rapper Kanye West leaped to the stage during Swift's speech, took the microphone and declared that R&B singer Beyoncé should have won Swift's award.
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