Taylor Swift Details
It takes a perfect storm for any musician to reach the astronomical levels of success that Taylor Swift has, as Swift possessed a number of rare talents from a young age: A strong voice and polished musical abilities, yes, but more importantly a savant-like ability to write catchy songs and a savviness in evolving her sound without leaving her core audience behind. Swift’s musical career began in earnest in 2004 when she was 14, as her family uprooted and moved to Nashville. She signed a development deal with RCA Records but quickly abandoned it, having little interest in “development.” She signed with Big Machine and, by 2006, had released her self-titled debut album. Three of its singles—”Tim McGraw,” “Teardrops on My Guitar” and “Our Song”—broke the U.S. Top 40, a sign that she would have little trouble transcending the country genre and breaking into the mainstream.
Each of her subsequent albums was a tour de force in its own right. Fearless (2008), Speak Now (2010) and Red (2012) all were No. 1 in the U.S. and went at least quadruple platinum, with Red’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” becoming her first single to top the charts. Her most recent album, 2014’s 1989, shifted in an even more pure-pop direction than the albums leading up to it. Her instincts were proven right once again, as 1989 became the best-selling of any of her records (which is saying something) and spawning three more No. 1 singles with “Shake It Off”, “Blank Space” and “Bad Blood.”