It’s always so perfect when a person’s name describes something about that person. In this case, Taylor Swift’s last name couldn’t be any more accurate when describing her rise to the top of contemporary pop music. With the upcoming release of 1989, Taylor’s much anticipated, pretty much official crossover into regular ol’ mainstream pop music, we thought it might be a good idea to take a look back at her career to see just how swiftly she has come to dominate contemporary music.
At the early age of 14, and after having worked with professional music managers to work through the beginnings of her career, Miss Swift set out, like many other young hopefuls, to the country music mecca of the USA, Nashville, Tennessee with hopes of scoring a recording contract. She began working with major songwriters and music bigwigs, carefully crafting her songs and honing her sound. She eventually signed with the independent record label Big Machine Records, and released her first record, Taylor Swift, in 2006. Taylor’s use of MySpace helped her to grow an audience that may not have paid any attention to her if not for her use of social media, which, at the time, was still a relatively new medium.
Her success continued in 2008 with the release of her next record, Fearless, which contained seven songs written by Taylor herself. The album contained the song “Love Story,” which is the second best-selling country music song of all time, and Taylor’s best-selling single to date. Her success continued with multiple awards for Fearless, including the Grammy awards for Best Country Album and Album of the Year, making Taylor the youngest person ever to win Album of the Year. She also claimed the awards for Album of the Year from The Country Music Association, Academy of Country Music, and American Music Awards, making it the most awarded country music album of all time.
Moving into 2010, Taylor continued along with the industry standard of dropping a record every two years and gave us Speak Now, the first of her records for which she penned every single song. By now, Taylor was an international superstar, and she was joined on stage by numerous celebrities during her various tours in support of Speak Now, including Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, and Nicki Minaj, to name just a few. Also in 2010, Taylor made her feature film acting debut in the romantic comedy Valentine’s Day opposite Twilight star Taylor Lautner. She had previously appeared on TV in a 2009 episode of CSI entitled “Turn, Turn, Turn.”
In 2012, her fourth record, Red, marked the shift in Taylor’s music to a sound more akin to traditional contemporary pop music, sounding more like Avril Lavigne or Miley Cyrus, particularly on tracks “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” “I Knew You Were Trouble,” and “22.” Red was less of a critical success than her previous albums, taking home no Grammy awards from her four nominations. However, it was the fastest selling album in over ten years, selling 1.21 million copies in its first week alone. Red became her third number one album on the Billboard 200.
In 2014, Taylor appeared as Rosemary in the book-to-screen adaptation of Lois Lowry’s dystopian novel The Giver, wearing a brown wig to distance herself from her widely known pop star persona.
Just weeks after the release of The Giver, during the MTV Video Music Awards, Taylor showed audiences what to expect from her new album, 1989. Without a trace of country left in her sound, Taylor completely crossed over into a mainstream pop sound with her first performance of her soon-to-be mega hit single, “Shake It Off.”
Make sure to check out her new album, 1989, when it drops this Tueday, October 28!