Taylor Swift

Taylor Alison Swift (born December 13, 1989) is an American singer-songwriter and occasional actress. Raised in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, Swift moved to Nashville, Tennessee at the age of fourteen to pursue a career in country music. She signed to independent label Big Machine Records and became the youngest songwriter ever hired by the Sony/ATV Music publishing house. The release of Swift's self-titled debut album in 2006 established her as a country music star. "Our Song", her third single, made her the youngest sole writer and singer of a number one song on the country chart. Swift received a Best New Artist nomination at the 50th Grammy Awards.

Swift's second album, Fearless, was released in 2008 and became a crossover commercial success. The record won four Grammy Awards, with Swift becoming the youngest ever Album of the Year winner. Fearless also received Album of the Year plaudits at the American Music Awards, Academy of Country Music Awards and Country Music Association Awards, making it the most awarded album in country music history. In 2010, Swift released her third album, Speak Now, which sold over one million copies in its first week. She then embarked on the 111-date Speak Now World Tour, which was attended by over 1.6 million fans and has become one of the highest-grossing concert tours of all time. Swift is currently recording her fourth studio album, due for release in the fall of 2012.

Swift's work has earned her numerous accolades, including six Grammy Awards, ten AMAs, seven CMAs, six ACMs and 13 BMI Awards. She has sold over 22 million albums and 50 million song downloads worldwide, making her one of the best-selling music artists of all time. Swift has endorsement deals with Target, CoverGirl, Sony, Elizabeth Arden, Walmart and American Greetings. As a philanthropist, Swift has placed particular emphasis on arts education, children's literacy and natural disaster relief funds. In addition to her music career, Swift has appeared as an actress in the crime drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2009), the romantic comedy Valentine's Day (2010) and the animated film The Lorax (2012).

Early life
Taylor Alison Swift was born on December 13, 1989 in Reading, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Scott Swift, a Merrill Lynch financial adviser, and Andrea (née Gardner), a homemaker who previously worked as a mutual fund marketing executive. Swift was named after singer James Taylor; her mother believed a gender-neutral name would help her forge a successful business career. She has a younger brother, Austin, who attends Vanderbilt University. She spent the early years of her life on an eleven-acre Christmas tree farm in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania and was educated at the fee-paying Wyndcroft School. When Swift was nine, her family moved to Wyomissing, Pennsylvania. where she attended Wyomissing Area Junior/Senior High School. Swift spent her summers at her parent's vacation home in Stone Harbor, New Jersey and has described it as the place "where most of my childhood memories were formed".

Swift's first hobby was English horse riding. Her mother first began putting her in the saddle when she was nine months old and she later competed in horse shows. Her family owned several Quarter horses and a Shetland pony. At the age of nine, Swift turned her attention to musical theatre and performed in Berks Youth Theatre Academy productions of Grease, Annie, Bye Bye Birdie and The Sound of Music. She travelled regularly to Broadway, New York for vocal and acting lessons. However, "after a few years of auditioning in New York and not getting anything”, Swift became interested in country music. She was inspired by LeAnn Rimes's Blue and her maternal grandmother, Marjorie Finlay, an opera singer. When she was in fourth grade, Swift won a national poetry contest with a three-page poem, "Monster in My Closet". At the age of eleven, after many attempts, Swift won a local talent competition by singing a rendition of LeAnn Rimes’s “Big Deal”, and was given the opportunity to appear as the opening act for Charlie Daniels at a Strausstown amphitheater. She spent her weekends performing at local festivals, fairs, coffeehouses, karaoke contests, garden clubs and Boy Scout meetings. This interest in country music isolated Swift from her middle school peers.

After watching a Behind the Music episode about Faith Hill, Swift recorded a demo of karaoke covers, and travelled with her mother to Nashville, Tennessee for spring break to leave a copy of the demo with record labels along Music Row. She received label rejections and realized that "everyone in that town wanted to do what I wanted to do. So, I kept thinking to myself, I need to figure out a way to be different". Swift began performing the "The Star Spangled Banner" at many sporting events, hoping she would be offered a recording contract. On one occasion, an eleven-year-old Swift high-fived Jay-Z after singing the national anthem at a 76ers game in Philadelphia. At the age of twelve, Swift was shown by a computer repairman how to play three chords on a guitar, inspiring her to write her first song, "Lucky You". She then recorded a second demo of original songs. In 2003, Swift and her parents began working with music manager Dan Dymtrow, after he spotted her singing at the US Open. Swift's second demo then caught the attention of RCA Records, who offered the eight-grader an artist development deal. In 2004, Swift modelled for Abercrombie and Fitch as part of their "Rising Stars" campaign and had an original song included in a Maybelline Cosmetics compilation CD.

When Swift was fourteen, her father transferred to the Nashville office of Merrill Lynch and the family relocated to a lake-shore house in Hendersonville, Tennessee. Swift has said her parents "presented it as a move to a nice community" rather than as her chance to become a star. Her mother has said, "We've always told her that this is not about putting food on our table or making our dreams come true." In Tennessee, Swift attended Hendersonville High School for her freshman and sophomore years. Later, to accommodate her touring schedule, Swift transferred to the Aaron Academy, a private Christian school which offered homeschooling services, and earned her high school diploma in 2008.

Music career
2004–08: Nashville songwriting sessions and Taylor Swift release
Swift moved to Nashville at the age of fourteen, having secured an artist development deal with RCA Records. Her musical influences included the Dixie Chicks, Shania Twain, LeAnn Rimes, Faith Hill, Tom Petty, Sheryl Crow, Melissa Etheridge, Pat Benatar, Reba McEntire, Garth Brooks, Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette. Swift had writing sessions with experienced songwriters such as Troy Verges, Brett Beavers, Brett James, Mac McAnally and the Warren Brothers, but eventually formed a lasting working relationship with Liz Rose. Swift saw Rose performing at an RCA songwriter event and suggested that they write together. They began meeting for two-hour writing sessions every Tuesday afternoon after school. Rose has said that the sessions were "some of the easiest I've ever done. Basically, I was just her editor. She'd write about what happened in school that day. She had such a clear vision of what she was trying to say. And she'd come in with the most incredible hooks". Swift also began recording demos with producer Nathan Chapman. After performing at a BMI Songwriter's Circle showcase at The Bitter End, New York, Swift became the youngest songwriter ever hired by the Sony/ATV Tree publishing house.

Swift left RCA Records when she was fifteeen; the company wanted her to record the work of other songwriters and wait until she was eighteen to release an album, but she felt ready to launch her career with her own material. She also parted ways with manager Dan Dymtrow, who later took legal action against Swift and her parents. At an industry showcase at Nashville's The Bluebird Café in 2005, Swift caught the attention of Scott Borchetta, a Dreamworks Records executive who was preparing to form his own independent record label, Big Machine Records. Swift was one of the new label's first signings. Borchetta then arranged for her to intern at the CMA Music Festival; she acted as the artist escort for Darryl Worley.

Swift began working on her self-titled debut album shortly after signing her record deal. After experimenting with veteran Nashville producers, Swift persuaded Big Machine to hire her demo producer Nathan Chapman. It was his first time to record a studio album but Swift felt they had the right "chemistry". In the end, Chapman produced all but one of the tracks on Taylor Swift. She has described the album as the "diary" of her early teens and most songs were written during her freshman year of high school. As a result, the songs describe coming of age experiences such as insecurity, young love, and teenage angst. She has said that, although "it sounds like I've had 500 boyfriends", a lot of the songs are observational. Swift wrote three of the album's songs alone, including two singles, and co-wrote the remaining eight with writers such as Liz Rose, Robert Ellis Orrall and Angelo Petraglia. Musically, the album has been described as "a mix of trad-country instruments and spry rock guitars".

Taylor Swift was released in October 2006 and received generally positive reviews from music critics. PopMatters hoped Swift would be "able to find an accomodation between the country tradition and her very obvious pop sensibilities, because Taylor Swift suggests she has much to offer". The New Yorker's Sasha Frere-Jones noted that "Our Song" "stop[ed] me in my tracks" and praised the lyrics: “He’s got a one-hand feel on the steering wheel, the other on my heart". Blender described the songs "Tim McGraw" and "Our Song" as "gems". Country Weekly felt Swift demonstrated "an honesty, intelligence and idealism with which listeners of any age will be able to connect" and noted that "the more thoughtful material suggests a talent poised to last well past high school". AllMusic stated that, while listening to the album, it was "never in doubt" that "Swift is a talent to be reckoned with". Rolling Stone described Swift as "bright-eyed but remarkably seasoned", and admired "Our Song"'s "insanely hooky sing-song melody that's as Britney as it is Patsy".

Big Machine Records was still in its infancy upon the release of the lead single "Tim McGraw" in June 2006, and Swift and her mother helped "stuff the CD singles into envelopes to send to radio". She spent much of 2006 promoting Taylor Swift in a radio tour and later commented, "Radio tours for most artists last six weeks. Mine lasted six months." Swift painted canvases (inspired by Jackson Pollock) to gift to radio station managers who played her music. She took part in "GAC Short Cuts", a part-documentary, part-music-video series designed to introduce her to country music fans. She also made television appearances on Good Morning America, The Megan Mullally Show, America's Got Talent, and TRL. Swift, a self-described "kid of the internet", made use of MySpace to build a fanbase. She wrote her own blog posts, left comments on her fans' accounts and personally respond to the messages that were sent to her. This was, at the time, "revolutionary in country music". Borchetta has said that his decision to sign a sixteen year old singer-songwriter initially raised eyebrows among his record industry peers but Swift tapped into a previously unknown market: teenage girls who listen to country music.

Following "Tim McGraw", four further singles were released throughout 2007 and 2008: "Teardrops on My Guitar", "Our Song", "Picture to Burn" and "Should've Said No". All were highly successful on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, with "Our Song" and "Should've Said No" both reaching number one. "Our Song" made Swift the youngest sole writer and singer of a number one country song. "Teardrops on My Guitar" became a minor pop hit; it reached number thirteen on the Billboard Hot 100. The album sold 39,000 copies during its first week and, as of March 2011, has sold over 5.5 million copies worldwide. Swift also released a holiday album, Sounds of the Season: The Taylor Swift Holiday Collection, in October 2007 and an EP, Beautiful Eyes, in July 2008.

Swift toured extensively in support of Taylor Swift. In addition to festival and theater dates, Swift performed as an opening act for several country artists' concert tours. She opened for Rascal Flatts on several dates in late 2006. In 2007, she served as the opening act on twenty dates for George Strait's 2007 United States tour, several dates on Kenny Chesney's tour and selected dates on Brad Paisley's Bonfires & Amplifiers Tour. Also in 2007, Swift appeared as the opening act on several dates for Tim McGraw and Faith Hill's joint Soul2Soul II Tour. Swift again opened for Flatts for their Still Feels Good Tour in 2008. In addition to performing her own material, Swift played covers of songs by Beyoncé and Rihanna. She conducted meet-and-greet sessions with fans before and after her concerts; these lasted for up to four hours.

In 2007, Swift and Alan Jackson were jointly named the Nashville Songwriters Association's "Songwriter/Artists of the Year". Swift was the youngest person ever to be honored with the title. She also won the Country Music Association’s Horizon Award for Best New Artist. In 2008, she won Top New Female Vocalist at the Academy of Country Music Awards and Favorite Country Female Artist at the American Music Awards. She won seven BMI Awards for songs featured on Taylor Swift. Swift was also nominated for a 2008 Grammy Award in the category of Best New Artist, but lost to Amy Winehouse.

2008–10: Fearless release, MTV VMA incident and media backlash
Swift's second studio album, Fearless, was released in November 2008. She wrote seven of the album's songs alone, including two singles, and co-wrote the remaining six with songwriters Liz Rose, John Rich, Colbie Caillat and Hillary Lindsey. While Swift wrote many of the songs on tour, she made a conscious effort not to include "road songs": "As a 16-year-old girl, I could never relate to those songs about playing a different city every night. I want to write about feelings and love and the lack of love". She has said that the album title "means you’re afraid of a lot of things, but you jump anyway". She co-produced the album with Nathan Chapman. Musically, the record is characterized by "loud, lean guitars and rousing choruses", with the occasional "bit of fiddle and banjo tucked into the mix".

Fearless received generally positive reviews from music critics. 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". The Village Voice felt she displayed "preternatural wisdom and inclusiveness", "masterfully avoiding the typical diarist's pitfalls of trite banality and pseudo-profound bullshit". Rolling Stone described her as "a songwriting savant with an intuitive gift for verse-chorus-bridge architecture" whose "squirmingly intimate and true" songs seemed to be "literally ripped from a suburban girl's diary". USA Today found it "a pleasure to hear a gifted teenager who sounds like a gifted teenager, rather than a mouthpiece for a bunch of older pros' collective notion of adolescent yearning." The New Yorker described it as an album "without a bad track", adding that "the album’s finest effort, “Fifteen,” will feature in yearbook quotes for years". Entertainment Weekly noted that the album would appeal mainly to young girls - "she sounds like a real teen, not some manufactured vixen-Lolita" - but predicted it would be "exciting to watch her precocious talent grow". Music critic Robert Christgau described Swift as "an uncommonly-to-impossibly strong and gifted teenage girl".

Swift promoted Fearless heavily upon its release. She communicated with fans using social media platforms such as twitter and personal video blogs. An episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show was dedicated to the album's release. She hosted and appeared as the musical guest on Saturday Night Live. In November 2008, Swift performed a joint, televised concert with rock band Def Leppard in Nashville. Swift had listened to the band since childhood; her mother was a fan. In February 2009, Swift performed her song "Fifteen" with Miley Cyrus at the 51st Grammy Awards. The lead single from the album, "Love Story", was released in September 2008. Four more singles were released throughout 2008 and 2009: "White Horse", "You Belong With Me", "Fifteen" and "Fearless". The album debuted at No.1 on the Billboard 200 Album Chart with sales of 592,304, making it the largest opening U.S. sales week in 2008 by a female artist in all genres of music, and the fourth biggest overall.

Swift carried out her first headlining tour from April 2009 to June 2010. As part of the 105-date Fearless Tour, Swift played 90 dates in North America, six dates in Europe, eight dates in Australia and one date in Asia.[107] The stage show included multiple costume changes, dancers and a fairy-tale castle set.[108] She sang a cover of Justin Timberlake's "What Goes Around... Comes Around" nightly, intertwined with her own "You're Not Sorry". Swift invited John Mayer, Faith Hill and Katy Perry to perform one-off duets with her at various dates during the North American tour. Justin Bieber, Kelly Pickler and Gloriana were the support acts. The tour was attended by more than 1.1 million fans and has grossed over $63 million. Taylor Swift: Journey to Fearless, a concert film, was aired on television and later released on DVD and Blu-ray. Also in 2009, Swift performed as a supporting act for Keith Urban.

In September 2009, Swift became the first country music artist to win an MTV Video Music Award when "You Belong with Me" was named Best Female Video. Her acceptance speech was interrupted by rapper Kanye West, who had been involved in a number of other award show incidents. West declared Beyoncé's video for "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)", nominated in the same category, to be "one of the best videos of all time." Many audience members booed West, prompting him to flip off the crowd. He then handed the microphone back to a speechless Swift.Backstage, Swift was seen "hysterically crying". According to Rolling Stone, when Swift's mother confronted West, he gave "a half-hearted apology in which he added he still thought Beyoncé's video was superior". West was removed from the event. When Beyoncé later won the award for Video of the Year, she invited Swift onstage to finish her speech. In the event's press room, Swift, who in 2008 had expressed a desire to sing a hook on a Kanye West rap song, was asked if she had "any hard feelings" towards West: "I don’t know him, and I’ve never met him, so... I don’t want to start anything because I had a great night tonight."

The incident received much media attention and inspired many Internet memes. President Barack Obama, in an "off the record" comment, called West a "jackass". Former US President Jimmy Carter said West's interruption was "completely uncalled for". West's behavior was criticized by celebrities, including Eminem, Snoop Dogg and Lady Gaga. The following day, West apologized for his verbal outburst both in a blog entry and during an appearance on The Jay Leno Show. He maintained that, while Swift was "very talented", "Beyoncé's video was the best of this decade!!!! ... I gave my awards to Outkast when they deserved it over me ... I'm not crazy y'all, I'm just real." Two days after the VMAs, Swift told an interviewer that West had not spoken to her since the ceremony. West then contacted her to offer a personal apology, which Swift accepted: "Kanye did call me, and he was very sincere in his apology." It has been said that the incident and subsequent media attention turned Swift into "a bona-fide mainstream celebrity".

Swift released a cover of Tom Petty's "American Girl", exclusively through Rhapsody in June 2009[136] and continues to make her stage entrance to Petty's recording of the song. Swift contributed backing vocals to John Mayer's "Half of My Heart", featured on his fourth album, in November 2009.[138] Mayer wrote the song as a tribute to Tom Petty and Fleetwood Mac: "I thought, 'Well, if this is going to be my love letter to that style of music, who's going to be the Stevie Nicks in this equation?' And I thought, 'This Taylor Swift girl is going to be around for a long time." The song received positive reviews from music critics. Swift and Mayer performed the song live at Madison Square Garden, New York in December 2009. It was released as the album's third single in June 2010 and peaked at number 25 on the Billboard Hot 100. Swift collaborated with a number of other artists in 2008 and 2009. She co-wrote and recorded "Best Days of Your Life" with Kelly Pickler. She co-wrote two songs for the Hannah Montana: The Movie soundtrack - "You'll Always Find Your Way Back Home" and "Crazier" - with Martin Johnson and Robert Ellis Orrall, respectively. Swift also provided vocals for Boys Like Girls's "Two Is Better Than One", written by Martin Johnson.

In November 2009, Swift became the youngest ever artist, and one of only six women, to be named Entertainer of the Year by the Country Music Association. Fearless also won the Association's Album of the Year award. The album won many other accolades and has become the most awarded album in country music history. Swift was the youngest ever artist to win the Academy of Country Music's Album of the Year honor. The American Music Awards honored Swift with Artist of the Year and Favorite Country Album plaudits. She was awarded the Hal David Starlight Award by the Songwriters Hall of Fame and was named Songwriter/Artists of the Year by the Nashville Songwriters Association. She won four BMI Awards. Billboard named her 2009's Artist of the Year. Swift was included in Time's annual list of the 100 Most Influential People in 2010.

In January 2010, Swift won four Grammy Awards for Album of the Year, Best Country Album, Best Female Country Vocal Performance and Best Country Song, from a total of eight nominations. She was the youngest ever artist to win Album of the Year. During the ceremony, Swift sang "Rhiannon" and "You Belong with Me" with Stevie Nicks. Her vocal performance received negative reviews and sparked a widespread media backlash. Her vocals were described variously as "badly off-key", "strikingly bad" and "incredibly wretched". While The New York Times found it "refreshing to see someone so gifted make the occasional flub" and described Swift as "the most important new pop star of the past few years", music critic Bob Lefsetz predicted that her career would end "overnight". In April 2010, Stevie Nicks, writing in Time, defended the singer: "Taylor reminds me of myself in her determination and her childlike nature. It's an innocence that's so special and so rare. This girl writes the songs that make the whole world sing, like Neil Diamond or Elton John ... The female rock-'n'-roll-country-pop songwriter is back, and her name is Taylor Swift. And it's women like her who are going to save the music business."

2010–12: Speak Now release, 13-month world tour and collaborations
Swift released her third studio album, Speak Now, in October 2010. She wrote all twelve songs alone: "I'd get my best ideas at 3 a.m. in Arkansas and I didn't have a co-writer around." Album recording sessions took place in California, Tennessee and Kentucky over a two year period. Swift, who co-produced the record with longtime collaborator Nathan Chapman, has described it as "a collection of confessions—things I wish I had said when I was in the moment". She originally intended to call the album Enchanted but Scott Borchetta, her record label's CEO, felt the title did not reflect the album's more adult themes: "She had played me a bunch of the new songs. I looked at her and I'm like, 'Taylor, this record isn't about fairy tales and high school anymore. That's not where you're at". Musically, it has been said that the album "expands beyond country-pop to border both alternative rock and dirty bubblegum pop".

Speak Now received generally positive reviews from music critics. USA Today felt that Swift's songwriting skills would remind listeners "what all the fuss was about in the first place", with the album capturing "the sweet ache of becoming an adult". The Los Angeles Times praised her ability as a songwriter to "hit on common experiences that feel unique". The New York Times described the album as savage, musically diverse and "excellent too, possibly her best". The Village Voice found that the album demanded "a true appreciation of Swift's talent, which is not confessional, but dramatic: Like a procession of country songwriters before her, she creates characters and situations—some from life—and finds potent ways to describe them."[178] Entertainment Weekly noted that while love may confound her, "the art of expert songcraft clearly doesn't". Music critic John Christgau found the album's songs "overlong and overworked" but remarked that "they evince an effort that bears a remarkable resemblance to care--that is, to caring in the best, broadest, and most emotional sense". Rolling Stone described Swift as one of the best songwriters in "pop, rock or country": "Swift might be a clever Nashville pro who knows all the hitmaking tricks, but she's also a high-strung, hyper-romantic gal with a melodramatic streak the size of the Atchafalaya Swamp".

Swift carried out an extensive promotional campaign prior to Speak Now's release. She appeared on various talk shows and morning shows, and gave free mini-concerts in unusual locations, including an open-decker bus on Hollywood Boulevard and a departure lounge at JFK airport. She took part in a "guitar pull" alongside Kris Kristofferson, Emmylou Harris, Vince Gill and Lionel Ritchie at LA's Club Nokia; the musicians shared the stage and took turns introducing and playing acoutic versions of their songs to raise money for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. The album's lead single, "Mine", was released in August 2010 and five further singles were released throughout 2010 and 2011: "Back to December", "Mean", "The Story of Us", "Sparks Fly" and "Ours". Speak Now was a major commercial success, debuting at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart. Its sales of 1,047,000 copies made it the sixteenth album in United States history to sell one million copies in a single week. As of February 2012, Speak Now has sold over four million copies in the US and over 5.7 million copies worldwide. In her career, as of May 2012, Swift has sold over 22 million albums and 50 million digital tracks worldwide.

In September 2010, Kanye West's 2009 VMA interruption once again became newsworthy when West used his twitter account to apologize to Swift, referring to her as "just a lil girl with dreams like the rest of us": ""I wrote a song for Taylor Swift that's so beautiful and I want her to have it. If she won't take it then I'll perform it for her." Later that month, both artists performed at the 2010 VMAs. Swift sang "Innocent", a song widely believed to be about West, which The Washington Post has described as "a small masterpiece of passive aggressiveness, a vivisection dressed up as a peace offering". Music critics found Swift's performance overly serious. Speaking in November 2010, West said he failed to see what was "so arrogant about that moment" and described his actions as "selfless". He added that "if it was the other way around" and Swift were an established artist who had "made the video of her career, do you think she would have lost to a brand new artist? Hell no!" Also that month, he claimed that, "If I wasn't drunk, I would have been on stage longer ... Taylor never came to my defense at any interview. And rode the waves and rode it and rode it". At the Costume Institute Gala in May 2011, Swift and West came face-to-face on the red carpet. West was observed to hold "a hand out, and the two exchanged a studiedly casual, “down low” high five".

Swift toured throughout 2011 and early 2012 in support of Speak Now. As part of the thirteen-month, 111-date world tour, Swift played seven shows in Asia, 12 shows in Europe, 80 shows in North America and 12 shows in Australasia. Three dates on the US tour were rescheduled after Swift fell ill with bronchitis. The stage show was inspired by Broadway musical theatre, with choreographed routines, elaborate set-pieces, pyrotechnics and numerous costume changes. Swift invited many musicians to join her for one-off duets during the North American tour. Appearances were made by James Taylor, Jason Mraz, Shawn Colvin, Johnny Rzeznik, Andy Grammer, Tal Bachman, Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Nicki Minaj, Nelly, B.o.B., Usher, Flo Rida, T.I., Jon Foreman, Jim Adkins, Hayley Williams, Hot Chelle Rae, Ronnie Dunn, Darius Rucker, Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney. The tour was attended by over 1.6 million fans and has grossed over $123 million, becoming one of the highest-grossing concert tours of all time. Swift's first live album, Speak Now World Tour: Live, featuring all seventeen performances from the North American leg of the tour, was released in November 2011.

During the North American and Australasian tour legs, Swift wrote different song lyrics on her left arm for each performance. She has said that the lyrics should be viewed as a nightly "mood ring" and The New Yorker has cited the practice as an example of Swift's "keen understanding of what fuels fan obsession in the first place: a desire for intimacy between singer and listener". Artists quoted include Tom Petty, Carole King, Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, Joni Mitchell, Ryan Adams, Patty Griffin, Band of Horses, Jimmy Eat World, Death Cab For Cutie, Alanis Morrissette, Rachael Yamagata, Erin McCarley, Mindy Smith and Martina McBride. Swift also performed many acoustic cover versions during her North American tour. In each city, she paid tribute to a homegrown artist. She has said the cover versions allowed her to be "spontaneous" in an otherwise well-rehearsed show: "You'll have a lot of people who will come to more than one show, and I want them to get a different experience every time." Artists covered include Justin Timberlake, Tori Amos, TLC, Pink, Fall Out Boy, Dave Matthews Band, Michelle Branch, Jordin Sparks, Maroon 5, Train, John Mellencamp, Kim Carnes, Avril Lavigne, The Jackson 5, Carolyn Dawn Johnson, Gwen Stefani, All American Rejects, Britney Spears and Eminem.

At the 54th Grammy Awards in February 2012, Swift's song "Mean" won Best Country Song and Best Country Solo Performance. She also performed "Mean" during the ceremony. The song is believed to be a rebuttal to Bob Lefsetz, one of the most vocal critics of her 2010 Grammy performance. Lefsetz had previously been a supporter of the singer's career, and Swift and Lefsetz had corresponded occasionally by email and telephone. Time felt she "delivered her comeback on-key and with a vengeance" while USA Today remarked that the criticism in 2010 seemed to have "made her a better songwriter and live performer".

Swift was named Songwriter/Artist of the Year by the Nashville Songwriters Associatio] in both 2010 and 2011. During the 2011 ceremony, she played an acoustic version of "Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)" in honor of Alan Jackson, a Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee, who later thanked Swift in his speech for "the prettiest version I've ever heard". Swift won various other awards for Speak Now. She was named Entertainer of the Year by the Academy of Country Music in both 2011 and 2012 and was named Entertainer of the Year by the Country Music Association in 2011. Swift was the American Music Awards's Artist of the Year in 2011, and Speak Now was named Favorite Country Album. She was also the recipient of two BMI Awards. Billboard named Swift 2011's Woman of the Year. Also that year, Billboard ranked her at number 15 in a list of the Top 20 Hot 100 Songwriters 2000-2011; she was the second highest ranking woman. Swift was ranked second on Rolling Stone's list of the Top 16 "Queen Of Pops" of the decade.

Swift contributed two original songs to The Hunger Games soundtrack album in March 2012. "Safe & Sound" was co-written and recorded with The Civil Wars and T-Bone Burnett. John Paul White has said working with Swift was "a revelation. She had some great ideas. We had complete freedom. It truly was a collaboration. We brought the melancholy and the darker angle. Taylor was bringing the melody and the chords." Rolling Stone described the song as "Swift's prettiest ballad" and wondered whether the alt-country folk song was "a one-off novelty, a trial balloon cred-move, or the stirrings of a "grown-up" style". Swift and The Civil Wars debuted a live version of the song at the Ryman Auditorium, Nashville in January 2012. It was released as the album's lead single and, as of April 2012, has sold 970,000 copies in the United States. Swift's second contribution to the album, "Eyes Open", was written solely by the singer and produced by Nathan Chapman. In May 2012, Swift contributed vocals to "Both of Us", a Dr. Luke-produced song on B.o.B's second album Strange Clouds.

2012–present: Untitled fourth studio album
Swift is currently working on her fourth album with producer Nathan Chapman. It is scheduled for release in the fall of 2012.[238] Swift intends to keep writing and recording throughout 2012 "because I'm having so much fun". After writing her third album alone, Swift is now collaborating with people "from all different places in music", including songwriters Lori McKenna, Butch Walker, Ed Sheeran, and Dan Wilson. The album will detail "the rise and fall of a relationship", as well as the resulting "absolute crash-and-burn heartbreak". She has described the album's mood as "sad, if I'm being honest."

Songwriting style
Swift has said she writes songs as an "open letter" . She has said songwriting is "is a way of verbalizing those things that I feel that I can’t say". Swift has said she is "very interested in any writing from a child's perspective" and has cited To Kill a Mockingbird as one of her favorite books. Neil Young has described Swift as "a great writer" and follows her career. Kris Kristofferson has said that "she blows me away. It's amazing to me that someone so young is writing such great songs. She's got a great career ahead of her". Dolly Parton has said her songs are "great" and that she has "the qualities that could last a long time". Stevie Nicks has said Swift writes "songs that make the whole world sing, like Neil Diamond or Elton John".

Vocal range
In an interview with The New Yorker, Swift refused to defend her singing voice: “I write songs, and my voice is just a way to get those lyrics across”. "I'm not trying to go out there and do vocal acrobatics. I'm just trying to write good songs". She has said that she only feels nervous performing "if I'm not sure what the audience thinks of me, like at award shows".

Public image
Swift has been described as a role model. The singer considers it "my responsibility" to be "conscious" of her influence on young fans. However, she insists that "I don't live by all these rigid, weird rules that make me feel all fenced in. I just like the way that I feel like, and that makes me feel very free." Swift does not drink alcohol because she worries that "I might come off in a way that I can't control. Maybe I should just lighten up!" "It's not like I judge people who [drink] or that I don't hang out with people who drink." She refuses to take part in overly sexualised photo-shoots. A 2012 Vogue cover story described Swift as "clever and funny and occasionally downright bawdy" in person, but noted that she "asks if her cursing can be off the record". The lyrical content of her songs is regarded as appropriate for young audiences; a New Yorker journalist who attended a Swift concert recounted watching "six sixteen-year-old girls holding hands and swaying, and a girl in a hijab sobbing as she sang the words. It was hard not to be a little moved, and not to feel relieved that the words being sung were, more or less, safe ... One can attend a concert by Katy Perry and listen to a stadium full of thirteen-year-olds chant along with the song “Peacock” which goes, “I want to see your peacock-cock-cock! Your peacock-cock!.

Swift made her acting debut in a 2009 episode of CBS's CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, playing a rebellious teenager.[301] The New York Times noted that the character allowed Swift to be "a little bit naughty, and credibly so". Rolling Stone felt she "held her own" and "does a good job with the script" while the Chicago Tribune said she "acquits herself well". Later that year, Swift both hosted and performed as the musical guest for an episode of Saturday Night Live. Entertainment Weekly described her as "this season’s best Saturday Night Live host so far", noting that she "was always up for the challenge, seemed to be having fun, and helped the rest of the cast nail the punchlines". Proving "admirably resilient in a wide variety of sketch roles", "Swift inspired more of a female, girly-in-the-best-sense sensibility in SNL than it’s shown since the Tina Fey-Amy Poehler days".

In 2010, Swift made her feature film acting debut in the romantic comedy Valentine's Day and won the Teen Choice Award for Movie Female Breakout. In 2012, she voiced the character of Audrey in the animated film The Lorax. Swift is in talks to star as Joni Mitchell in the film adaptation of Sheila Weller's Girls Like Us, which follows the careers of Mitchell, Carly Simon and Carole King.

Personal life
Swift's main residence is a duplex penthouse in Midtown Nashville, Tennessee. She also owns a house in Beverly Hills, California. According to Forbes, Swift earned $18 million in 2009, $45 million in 2010, $45 million in 2011 and $57 million in 2012.

Swift writes autobiographical songs and has said that, "I've never been shy or secretive with the fact that if you walk into my life, you may be walking onto a record". Listening to music as a child, Swift felt confused "when I knew something was going on in someone’s personal life and they didn’t address it in their music".

Swift dated singer Joe Jonas from July to October 2008. She dated actor Taylor Lautner from October to December 2009. She was romantically linked to musician John Mayer from late 2009 until June 2010.] They first met in 2008 and recorded a duet, "Half of My Heart", in late 2009. Swift dated actor Jake Gyllenhaal from October 2010 to December 2010. On December 9, 2011, Gyllenhaal called the LAPD for assistance, after a large number of photographers followed the couple's car in Los Angeles. Following their break-up, they were seen together in January and February 2011.
Sumber : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taylor_Swift