What Drives Taylor Swift’s Success?

Updated: May 10



Taylor Swift was just 20 years old when she became the youngest artist to ever win the album of the year at the grammy awards on January 31, 2010. The recognition was for her sophomore album “Fearless”. The album was released in 2008 but only found international recognition in 2010. It also landed at no. 98 on this decade’s overall Billboard Hot 200 list.


Taylor Swift is globally renowned as one of the most famous artists in the world despite starting out in 2006 with country music. Her net worth eclipses $400 million with an annual income of about $150 million. But what drives the success of Taylor Swift?


Early days


Swift was born in 1989 in Pennsylvania and spent her early years in the farmhouse where a grandmother was a famous opera singer. She took after her grandmother and began to perform in church, fairs, and events at a very young age. She began to learn the guitar and write her own songs at 12 years of age. Swift’s love for country music prompted her move to Hendersonville in Tennessee.


A career in country music


The young upstart began performing regularly at The Bluebird Cafe in Nashville and one of her performances caught the attention of Scott Borchetta from Big Machine Records. She released her first single “Tim McGraw” in 2006 and this song reached the top 10 on the country music charts. It sold more than 5 million copies and kick-started her career.


Finding success


What brought Swift international success is “Fearless”. She was nominated for multiple awards such as Best New artist as well as Female Vocalist of the year. The album won many praises and topped both country and pop charts for 11 weeks. By the end of 2008, she had already become the highest-selling country artist of the year.


Swift’s name became popular through bad publicity thanks to Kanye West. She won the best female video award in 2009 for her “Love Story”. She is the first country music singer to win this award ever. While giving her acceptance speech, Kanye West abruptly went up the stage, grabbed the mic from her, and proclaimed the rightful winner of this award should be Beyonce.


The young singer left the stage. When Beyonce did win the music video award of the year, she invited Taylor Swift back on stage to complete her speech. Kanye West later apologised for his behaviour on a talk show, giving Swift more publicity than ever.


Speaking out on issues


After the incident, Taylor Swift began to write songs that spoke out about issues and misconceptions. After winning the Grammy Award for “Fearless” in 2010, she started working on her next two albums, “Speak Now”. This album became a global success and debuted at no. 1 on the Billboard charts. Her 2012 album “Red” with the single “We are never getting back together” sold multiple copies and topped more than 1 million sales within a week.


Giving back


In 2012, Swift was named in Forbes magazine for 30 under 30. She was labeled the highest-paid celebrity beating the likes of Rihana, Bieber, and Lady Gaga. After earning more than $57 million, she gave back to society and funded the $4 million Taylor Swift education center at the country music hall of fame in Nashville. She credited musical education to be one of the most important parts of her life and wanted to help all aspiring young artists to receive this education.


Social Impact


Adding to her work in the community, Swift won an award in 2013 by CMT. This is for her positive impact on the community. She began reforming her persona with her album “1989”. The song “Shake it Off” was so catchy that it topped the music charts. She began to become innovative with her lyrics and her Grammy win for Album of the year in 2016 solidified her status as one of the greatest female musicians of all time. This time, she went on to fire shots at Kanye by sending an empowering message to young women, encouraging them to focus on their work and not let other people bring them down.


Taylor Swift’s success has been driven by the internet, her youth, and her positive impact both in music and the community. She had not shied away from speaking about injustices and continues to churn out catchy songs with empowering lyrics.


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