While not a Nashville native, American singer Taylor Swift, is undoubtedly one of country music’s biggest stars. As a massive pop music star, Swift’s career has grown tremendously and in such a short period of time. Involved in music as young as the age nine, only a short six years later, Swift was well on her journey to becoming an award-winning singer-songwriter.
With plenty of accolades to her name, millions of Spotify spins, and a massive presence on the Billboard charts, Swift can now claim pride for selling more than 50 million albums and 150 million singles worldwide. By the age of thirty, Swift has created some of the most memorable music of a generation. So, how has her trajectory panned out by age since she first fell in love with music? Thankfully, we have all the details right here.
A Country Star Is Born
Born Taylor Alison Swift, this singer-songwriter was born on December 13, 1989 – making her almost 31 years old. The daughter of Scott Kingsley Swift and Andrea Gardner Swift, Taylor Swift grew up in a home in Pennsylvania that appreciated music and allowed the singer-songwriter to pursue her dreams and talent.
While Swift’s dad was a stockbroker for Merrill Lynch, and her mother was both a homemaker and mutual fund marketing executive, she did have a grandmother who was a professional opera singer. For much of her early life, Swift began showing interest in music. By age nine, she began performing in musical theatre shows. As she and her family continued to live on their Christmas tree farm, her parents would start bringing her to New York City to take vocal music lessons and perform in stage shows with the Youth Theatre Academy.
By age fourteen, Swift would move with her family to Nashville, Tennessee. Swift was increasingly becoming attracted to country music. She has continually admitted to the press that some of her favorite stars growing up were Canadian country songstress Shania Twain, and especially Faith Hill, who she always felt the need to emulate.
While visiting Nashville, Swift would also make cover versions of country songs by some of her other favorite stars: Dolly Parton and Dixie Chicks. She eventually realized that making country cover songs and presenting them in Nashville, where everyone was doing the same, would not work out well. Swift recalls: that everyone in Nashville was doing exactly what she was so she decided that she had to figure out how exactly she was going to be different.
A Young Songwriter
By age sixteen, Swift started to build her songwriting skills. Not only was she the youngest artist ever signed by the Sony/ATV Music publishing house, but she was also the youngest artist to write and perform a number-one song on the Hot Country Songs chart. By the time she turned seventeen years old, she had expanded her team to include Ronnie Cremer, a computer repairman and local musician, and a series of additional songwriters.
These members were vital to helping Swift learn how to play guitar and to sharpen her songwriting skills. Not only was she writing more, but she was also provided a number of opportunities for live performances, including an RCA Records showcase. Once she moved to Nashville on a more permanent basis, she was actively attempting to balance the energy she wanted to put into her music and going to high school on a full-time basis.
Not only was she successful in the context of her education, but she was also doing really well with songwriting. Liz Rose, one of her mentors who she would frequently work with at least two hours a week, told the press that Swift would write about what happened to her at school. Not only was she certain about how her art would come across, but she was also able to produce the best hooks.
As a young teenager, Taylor Swift also felt the pressure associated with the limelight – namely, being carefully examined, and even criticized as an artist. In an interview with Rolling Stone Magazine, she stated:
“Since I was 15 years old, if people criticized me for something, I changed it. So you realize you might be this amalgamation of criticisms that were hurled at you, and not an actual person who’s made any of these choices themselves. And so I decided I needed to live a quiet life, because a quiet personal life invites no discussion, dissection, and debate. I didn’t realize I was inviting people to feel they had the right to sort of play my life like a video game.”
Meeting the Mainstream
By 2005, Swift was now fifteen years old and well on her way to mainstream stardom. She was now working with Scott Borchetta, a DreamWorks Records executive, who would help her launch her career with independent record label Big Machine Records. As a young fifteen-year-old, Swift was able to negotiate – with the help of her father – a three-percent stake in Big Machine Records. That stake amounted to an estimated amount of $120,000.
By 2007, at the age of seventeen, she had spent a significant amount of time in the public eye and was also feeling the pressure of being a public figure. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Swift stated that she had had several upheavals in her career. One of the things that she struggled with was allegations that she did not write her own music. In response to those critiques, she decided to write her third album entirely on her own.
She also felt bothered by how her relationships were constantly critiqued and she has since been linked with Calvin Harris, Joe Alwyn, Joe Jonas, Tom Hiddleston, Harry Styles, Jake Gyllenhaal, John Mayer, and Taylor Lautner. She recalled that the public called her a boy-crazy serial dater, and because of the critiques, she decided not to date anyone for nearly two years. She felt that no matter what she did, she couldn’t do anything right.
A year later, Swift would release her self-titled debut album. Taylor Swift’s music was quickly supported by critics and mainstream fans. Her album was labeled a mastermind of pop-minded country music. It was especially evident that fans loved the album from the sales and how well her album did on the charts – not only had the album sold over 7.75 million copies worldwide, but it also peaked at number five on the Billboard 200 albums chart and spent a whopping 157 weeks on the chart.
Swift’s album success continued on – album after album with chart-topping hits like Love Story, Tim McGraw, Our Song, Gorgeous, Shake It Off, and We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together. She would later appear in the movie “Valentine’s Day,” the musical “Cats,” and create songs alongside greats like Beyonce and Ed Sheeran.
Throughout the 2000s, Swift would release a number of other studio albums: Fearless (2008), Speak Now (2010), Red (2012), 1989 (2014), Reputation (2017), and Lover (2019). By 2020 at the age of thirty years old, Swift would also release her seventh album, Folklore.
Along with the support of fans and popular culture critics, Swift would win several accolades for her album work including a number of Grammy Awards, Country Music Association Awards, Academy of Country Music Awards, MTV Video Music Awards, and American Music Awards for album of the year (1989 and Fearless), music video of the year (Bad Blood and You Need to Calm Down), artist of the year (2009, 2011, 2013, 2018, 2019), top country album (Speak Now and Red), top female artist (2013, 2015, 2018), best female video (You Belong With Me, I Knew You Were Trouble, and Blank Space), along with many others. Talk about a lot of acceptance speeches!
With just a few world tours under her belt, the pop star is finding as she enters her thirties that these are the best years of her life. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Swift admitted that she has heard that her 30s will be the most fun – she is definitely looking forward to keeping everyone posted on what she finds.