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Taylor Swift. (2009, January 20). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 20:07, January 20, 2009, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Taylor_Swift&oldid=265188087

Taylor Alison Swift (born December 13, 1989) is an American country-pop singer-songwriter. In 2006, she released her debut single "Tim McGraw", which peaked at number six on the Billboard country charts. Later in October 2006, she released her self-titled debut album, which produced five hit singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts and was certified 3√ - Multi-Platinum by the RIAA. The New York Times described Swift as "one of pop's finest songwriters, country"s foremost pragmatist and more in touch with her inner life than most adults".[1]

According to Nielsen SoundScan, Swift is the biggest selling artist of 2008 in America with combined sales of more than four million albums. Swift's Fearless and her self-titled album finished 2008 at number three and number six respectively, with sales of 2.1 and 1.5 million.[2] She was the first artist in the history of Nielsen SoundScan to have two different albums in the Top 10 on the year end album chart.[3] Fearless is also the first album since April 2005 to top the Billboard 200 in six different weeks.[4] It also the first album by a female artist in country music history to log six weeks at #1 on The Billboard 200. In mid-January 2009, Swift became the first country artist to top the 2 million mark in paid downloads with three different songs. [5]

Swift was born in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania. She is the daughter of Scott and Andrea Swift. She has one younger brother, Austin.[6] Swift grew up on a Christmas tree farm outside of Reading, Pennsylvania, the daughter of a stock broker father and stay-at-home mother. When she was in fourth grade, Swift won a national poetry contest with a three-page long poem entitled "Monster In My Closet".[7][8] At the age of ten, Swift began to perform around her home town, singing at karaoke contests, festivals, and fairs, and also started writing songs.

Swift's singing influences include her grandmother and LeAnn Rimes.[9] Although her grandmother was a professional opera singer,[10] Taylor's tastes always ran more toward country and she developed a love for Patsy Cline and Dolly Parton at an early age.[11] She also credits the Dixie Chicks and Shania Twain for demonstrating how much impact can be made by "stretching boundaries".[12]

At age eleven, Swift made her first trip to Nashville hoping to obtain a record deal by distributing a demo tape of her singing with karaoke songs. She gave a copy to every label on Music Row.[9] Swift faced rejection, not just from record labels, but also from her peers.[13] After Swift returned to Pennsylvania, she was asked to sing at the U.S. Open tennis tournament; her rendition of the national anthem received a lot of attention.[14]

Swift started writing songs and playing 12-string guitar when she was twelve. Swift began to regularly visit Nashville and wrote songs with local songwriters. By the time she was fourteen, her family decided to move to an outlying Nashville suburb.[15] When Swift was fifteen, she rejected a development deal with RCA Records because the company refused to allow her to record her own songs.[16] Swift then performed at Nashville's songwriters' venue, The Bluebird Café, catching the attention of Scott Borchetta[17] who signed her to his newly-formed record label, Big Machine Records. She also became the youngest staff songwriter ever hired by the Sony/ATV Tree publishing house.[18]

Swift's first single, "Tim McGraw", was released to radio in Summer of 2006 and on October 24, 2006, her self-titled album was released. Swift wrote or co-wrote all of the songs on the album, which debuted at number 19 on the Billboard 200 and sold just 39,000 copies during its first week.[19] It later peaked at number one at Billboard Top Country Albums and number five at Billboard 200.[20] It also spent eight consecutive weeks at the top of the Top Country Albums charts[citation needed] and remained at the top for 24 out of 91 weeks.[21] The only other country artists this decade to achieve the number-one sales position for 20 weeks or more are The Dixie Chicks and Carrie Underwood.[22] As of November 2008, Taylor Swift has sold over three million copies and 7.5 million single downloads.[23]

Swift has surpassed the 148 million mark for music streams on MySpace. She is currently ranked in the Top 10 for the most MySpace visits for all genres of music, and is MySpace's current top-ranking Country artist.[24][dead link] Swift is the most searched musical artist on MySpace in 2008.[25]

Regarding "Tim McGraw", Swift said, "I wrote the song in my freshman year of high school. I was dating a guy who was about to go off to college. I knew we were going to break up so I started thinking of all the things that I knew would remind him of me. Surprisingly, the first thing that came to mind was that my favorite country artist is Tim McGraw."[11] "Tim McGraw" peaked at #6 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts for the week of January 27, 2007. The song's music video set a record by appearing for 30 consecutive weeks on GAC's fan-voted weekly Top 20 music countdown show, and reached number one on CMT's video charts. The video also won Swift an award for Breakthrough Video of the Year at the 2007 CMT Music Awards.[26] Her pursuit of country music stardom was the subject of "GAC Short Cuts", a part-documentary, part-music-video series airing since the summer of 2006 on the country music channel.[27]

On May 15, 2007, Swift performed "Tim McGraw" at the Academy of Country Music Awards. She sang the song to Tim McGraw in the audience, and introduced herself for the first time to him. Swift has been an opening act for Tim McGraw and Faith Hill on their Soul2Soul 2007 tour. She has opened in the past for George Strait, Brad Paisley and Rascal Flatts as well.[28] On August 21, 2007, Swift performed live on the season finale of America's Got Talent.[29]

The second single from the Taylor Swift album, "Teardrops on My Guitar", was released February 24, 2007. The song was inspired by a true event during her time in high school in which she liked a boy named "Drew Hardwick." He only saw Swift as a friend and a go-to person for advice about his relationship with his girlfriend. She noted she heard "through the grapevine" that Drew is well aware the song was written about him.[30] "Teardrops on My Guitar" originally made its peak positions in Summer 2007, peaking at #2 on the Billboard Country Chart and #33 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was re-released to the Hot 100 and Pop 100 in late 2007 with a Pop remix that brought "Teardrops on My Guitar" to #13 on the Hot 100 and #11 on the Pop 100.

In October 2007, Swift's songwriting peers at the Nashville Songwriters Association International honored her with their Songwriter/Artist of the Year Award, making her the youngest artist ever to win the award.[31]

On November 7, 2007, Swift won the 2007 CMA Horizon Award and also performed "Our Song," the third single from her album, which would go on to become her first #1 song the week of December 22, 2007, where it leaped up from the #6 spot. This was the biggest jump to Number One since January 1998, when Tim McGraw's "Just to See You Smile", also jumped from #6 to #1.[32] "Our Song" spent six weeks at #1 on the Country charts and also peaked at #16 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #24 on the Billboard Pop 100.

Swift also recorded a holiday album, Sounds of the Season: The Taylor Swift Holiday Collection, that was released October 16, 2007, exclusively available at Target stores. The album, which was not as successful as her self-titled debut, featured both holiday classics such as "Last Christmas" and original songs written by Swift.

Swift was nominated for a 2008 Grammy Award in the category of Best New Artist, but lost to Amy Winehouse. Swift's successful single, "Picture to Burn" was the fourth single from her debut album. The song debuted early in 2008 and peaked at #3 on the Billboard Country Chart in the spring of 2008.

Swift was cover girl of Seventeen in the June 2008 issue. She was also named number fifty-two on Maxim's sexiest women of '08.

Big Machine Records announced the release of "Should've Said No" on Monday, May 19. The song is the fifth and final single from Swift's debut album. She performed it on 43rd Annual Academy of Country Music Awards.[33] The performance started off with her dressed in a hooded sweatshirt and jeans, but soon after a short black halter dress was revealed. In the last minute of the song, she went backstage to perform the final verse under a cascading waterfall. Swift had wanted to do that performance on stage with the water and the change of clothes since she was ten years old.[34]

In Summer 2008, Swift released Beautiful Eyes, an EP sold exclusively at Wal-Mart.[35] In its first week of release, the album sold 45,000 copies, debuting at #1 on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart and #9 on the Billboard 200. With her self-titled debut album at #2 the same week, Swift became the first artist to hold the Top 2 positions of the Top Country Albums chart since LeAnn Rimes did so in 1997.[36]

"Should've Said No" became her second Number One single for the chart dated August 23, 2008.

Swift's latest studio album, Fearless, was released in the United States on November 11, 2008.[37] The album debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 Album Chart. Its sales of 592,304 was the highest debut of any country artists in 2008. This is also the largest opening U.S. sales week in 2008 by a female artist in all genres of music, and the fourth biggest overall behind Lil Wayne, AC/DC and Coldplay.[38] Its lead single "Love Story" became a hit on both the country and pop charts.

During the first week of release, more than 129,000 of Swift's sales were sold digitally. This gives Swift the best online start for any country album in history.[39] It also makes Swift the fourth biggest week for a digital album since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking them in 2004.[40] Through its eighth week of release, Fearless has sold more than 244,000 paid downloads, making it the bestselling country album in digital history. In second place, it is Swift's debut Taylor Swift with sales of 212,000 downloads as of January 17, 2009. [41]

In its debut week, seven songs in total on Fearless were charted on Billboard Hot 100, tying Swift with Hannah Montana for the most by a female artist in a single week. With "White Horse" charted at #13, this gave Swift her sixth top 20 debut of 2008, a calendar year record for any artist in the history of the Billboard Hot 100. Of the 13 tracks on Fearless, 11 have already spent time on the Hot 100.[40]

"Change", a song from the album, was selected as part of a soundtrack supporting Team USA's efforts in the 2008 Summer Olympics.[36] The song was also featured as part of the soundtrack of NBC's broadcast package of the Olympics. She also released the lead single from the album, "Love Story", on September 12, 2008. The song is accompanied by a music video that is based on Romeo and Juliet. The song has reached #2 on iTunes Store Top Downloaded Songs and #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. The second single from Fearless, "White Horse", was released on December 8, 2008.

Swift is Billboard's Top Country Artist and Hot Country Songwriter of 2008; she is also country music's best-selling artist of 2008.[42]

Swift ranked seventh on Nielsen SoundScan Canada's top-10 selling artists across all genres in 2008. Fearless and Taylor Swift took the #1 and #2 slots on 2008 Year-End Canadian Country Albums Chart.[43]

Swift sang the Star-Spangled Banner at game three of the World Series in Philadelphia on October 25, 2008.

On January 10, 2009, Swift made her first musical guest appearance on Saturday Night Live, making her the youngest country singer to appear as a musical guest on the show in its 33-year run.[44][45]

In July 2008, Swift graduated from the Aaron Academy, a Christian school in Hendersonville, TN which offers a home schooling program.[46]

Swift once dated singer Joe Jonas.[47] Swift wrote the song "Forever & Always" about Joe Jonas, and the song appeared on her album, Fearless.[48] It was the last song that she had recorded, and it was a last minute addition to her album.

On September 21, 2007, Swift launched a campaign to protect children from online predators.[49] Swift has teamed up with Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen to combat internet sex crimes.[49] The year-long campaign, launched in partnership with the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police, will distribute Internet safety information and materials to parents and students across the state.[49]

Swift was also an endorser of Body By Milk, a campaign calling teenagers to drink low fat milk to maintain a healthy weight.[50]

Taylor Swift. (2009, January 20). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 20:07, January 20, 2009, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Taylor_Swift&oldid=265188087

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