By: Ella Tabor
Taylor Alison Swift was born December 13th, 1989, in Reading, Pennsylvania. She is the daughter of Andrea and Scott Swift. Swift began her journey into music when she was only 10 years old and singing for local events. She started writing her own songs and learning guitar at only 12 years old.
She often performed at the Bluebird Café, located in Nashville, Tennessee, which helped her get a contract with Scott Borchetta’s Big Machine Records.
In 2006 she released her first single “Tim McGraw” and the song soared to the Top 10 hits on the country music charts. She then released her debut album shortly after. The success of “Tim McGraw” launched Taylor’s career in music and she only grew from there.
Swift explored the genre ‘Country-pop’ in her albums ‘Fearless’, 2008 and, ‘Speak Now’, 2011. The success of these albums, specifically the songs “You belong with me” and “Love story”, labeled Swift as a crossover artist.
At this time, Swift had won many awards. Some of them being: The Grammy ‘Album of the Year’ award for ‘Fearless’ in 2010. In 2012, the song off of the album ‘Fearless’ won the BMI pop award ‘Song of the Year’, and in 2014 Swift was named ‘Woman of the Year’ by Billboard Women in Music.
Swift did not stop there. The next album by the country pop star transitioned her to a pop artist. That album is ‘Red’. Released in 2012, ‘Red’ was ranked the third best selling album from Swift.
Swift explains the meaning behind the title in an interview with Billboard as “Pure, absolute, to the core, heartbreak”. She says, “I look back on this as my true breakup album, every other album has flickers of different things”.
Some of the awards won by ‘Red’ include: ‘Top selling Album’ by the Canadian Country Music Association in 2013, ‘Top Billboard 200 Album’ and ‘Top Country Album’ by Billboard Music Awards in 2013, and BMI Pop Awards named songs “22” and “Everything Has Changed” as Award Winning Songs in 2015.
October 27, 2014 the fifth studio album by Taylor Swift was released. ‘1989’.
The title refers to Swift’s year of birth, 1989. She describes the reasoning behind this as a way to make the music more her own. Stepping out of country pop and moving into, what she describes as, “synth-driver 80s pop”
Topping the Billboard 200 for 11 non-consecutive weeks, ‘1989’ would become Swift’s top selling album. Winning awards like: The Grammy ‘Album of the Year’ award in 2016 and ‘Best Music Video’ for “Bad Blood” in the same year. The ‘1989’ tour also won ‘Best Tour’ in 2016 by the iHeartRadio Music Awards.
The sixth studio album by Taylor Swift was a game changer. Released November 10th, 2017, ‘Reputation’s’ purpose was to shred Swift’s good-girl image.
Facing some personal challenges with the press, and her heart, between ‘1989’ and ‘Reputation’, Swift made her way back into the limelight with the edgy album.
In 2014, Swift became the subject of brutal public scrutiny. With the press constantly prodding into her personal life and critiquing her moves, it’s no wonder Swift disappeared into herself for 3 years.
‘Reputation’ differs from Swift’s other albums for many reasons. Firstly, Swift did not engage the press at all before releasing the album. “There will be no further explanation, there will just be reputation,” writes Swift on Instagram. She wanted the work to speak for itself.
The album heavily features a new side of the singer that has been born by the negative press and rumors. The track, “Look what you made me do”, features lyrics that imply Swift’s change into a new persona.
Needless to say, the album was a groundbreaking success. It hit number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 and had the biggest sales and streams of the year.
The American Music Awards of 2018 named Swift as ‘Artist of the Year’ in 2017, and named ‘Reputation’ as the ‘Favorite pop/rock Album’ the same year.
August 23, 2019, ‘Lover’, the seventh studio album by Swift was released. Featuring a bright and colorful array of tracks, Swift’s ‘Reputation’ era had emerged into “Daylight” (the 18th track off of ‘Lover’).
Swift says she created the album from an “Open, free, romantic, whimsical place,” comparing it to ‘Reputation’s’ description, “All cityscape, darkness, full swamp witch.”
She spoke to Entertainment Weekly about the song “Soon You’ll Get Better,” being about her mother’s battle with cancer. She says that it was “Really, really hard to write.” Swift spoke about the song being a decision she made with her family to put it on the album.
‘Lover’ was named one of the best albums of 2019 by many publications and critics.
The next album to be released was during the chaos of the COVID-19 pandemic. ‘Folklore’ became Swift’s eighth studio album in July-August of 2020.
Swift conceived the songs off ‘Folklore’ during quarantine. She describes this time and the songs as “A collection of songs and stories that flowed like a stream of consciousness.” Swift gave the world a peaceful album during such an unprecedented time.
On this album, Swift worked with many collaborators, of whom she was very open about sharing the names of. She worked with longtime musical collaborator Jack Antonoff. Swift describes him as a “Musical family”.
Interestingly enough, a man by the name of “William Bowery” owns songwriting credits on the album as well. Later, it was revealed that William Bowery is a pen name for Joe Alwyn, Swift’s boyfriend.
‘Folklore’s’ woodsy, grayscale image, and melodies, set the mood for this album. She credits other fellow artists as inspiration for the album. Singers Lana Del Rey and Phoebe Bridges both received credit for the melodies of ‘Folklore’.
Swift has received countless praise for ‘Folklore’. Some awards and nominations for the artist include: ‘Album of the Year,’ in 2021 by the Gold Derby Music Awards, Grammy Nomination for ‘Best Pop Vocal Album’, and the iHeart Music Award for ‘Pop Album of the Year’.
Soon after ‘Folklore’, five months later, Swift released her ninth studio album ‘Evermore’. The albums are often referred to as “Sister Albums” given their similarity in aesthetic and name.
Swift speaks with Zane Lowe, on Apple Music Tuesday, on all things ‘Evermore’. She reveals that she felt as though the songs she was writing felt “Very diaristic” and when she released ‘Folklore’, realized that people are into the style which then gave her the green light to release ‘Evermore’.
This past Grammy’s, ‘Evermore’ won the Grammy award for ‘Album of the Year’.
The works done by Swift after ‘Evermore’ include 2 re-recordings. ‘Fearless (Taylor’s Version)’ released April 9th, 2021, and ‘Red (Taylor’s Version)’ released November 12, 2021.
Swift re-recorded these albums because she changed record labels. Big Machine Records was purchased by Scooter Braun in 2019. Swift refused to sign a non-disclosure agreement which would’ve not let the artist speak out against Braun; who Swift has feuded with in the past.
Braun then sold her albums to the investment firm, Shamrock Holdings, which prevents Swift from making any profit off of the albums. Swift then partnered with Universal Music Group and is now working to reclaim her work by re-recording any album released before ‘Lover’.
‘Fearless (Taylor’s Version)’ and ‘Red (Taylor’s Version)’ both feature songs Swift cut out from the original albums, “Vaulted” songs by the artist. The new ‘Fearless’ includes 6 new songs, and ‘Red’ features 10 vault tracks including a 10-minute version of the song “All Too Well”.
Swift plans to re-record and re-claim the rest of her albums, meanwhile fans are decoding the singer’s Easter Eggs as to which album is next up.
Keep an eye out for either ‘Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)’ or ‘1989 (Taylors Version)’.
The challenges and criticisms she’s faced only have made her stronger throughout the years and she continues to persevere through all.
Taylor Swift has had, and continues to have, an amazing career filled with creativity and songs that have touched the hearts of Swifties all over the world.