Taylor Swift:  An Unstoppable Force
By Janelle Landauer

It’s hard to believe that almost two years ago, everyone first heard the song “Tim McGraw” – by the then-16 year old newcomer, Taylor Swift.  The single released to radio in June of 2006 – and in October, Swift released her self-titled debut CD from Big Machine Records.  The album, Taylor Swift, has spent 9 weeks at #1 at different times throughout 2007 and was sitting atop the country charts at the start of 2008.  With an album that is 50 plus weeks old, it is truly unbelievable that the album is still gaining ground – and even more so that Swift is having her best sales weeks this late after the initial release.  Last year alone, she spent more weeks at the top of the Billboard Country album sales chart than any other artist and their release.  She is currently at #1 on the albums chart (as of Jan. 14) and her 3rd radio single “Our Song” is also holding strong at the #1 spot on the singles chart (in its 6th week at #1).

Swift began this incredible ride in mid-2006 when she released her debut single “Tim McGraw” which she had co-wrote with Liz Rose.  Though her “artist” debut was in 2006, she had actually signed on as a writer with Sony/ATV Tree Music Publishing when she was only 14.  “Tim McGraw” reached the top 5 and created a buzz in the music industry and with the fans that is often unheard of for most debut artists.  She was featured in GAC Short Cuts, and this, in addition to her single and video, really helped to jump start her career.  In late 2006, Swift joined mega-group Rascal Flatts on their “Me & My Gang” tour, further exposing herself to a wide range of country fans.

Swift followed up to “Tim McGraw” with “Teardrops On My Guitar” – which peaked at the #2 spot on the Billboard Country Singles chart.  Ironically enough, as her current single “Our Song” sits at the top of the country charts, “Teardrops On My Guitar” is #11 on the Billboard Mainstream Top 40 charts and climbing.  Swift’s third release, “Our Song” broke a few records along the way as well.  She became the youngest artist to write and sing a #1 country single solely.  And, with the song reaching the #1 for the 6th straight week, she is now 1 of only 4 female artists who’ve spent 6 weeks at the top of the charts since 1944 (when Billboard started tracking country singles.)  Carrie Underwood recently accomplished this feat along with Faith Hill and Kitty Wells.  The longest record at #1 from a female country artist is 8 weeks, currently held by Connie Smith.

In 2007, Swift shared the stage with some of the top artists out there in country music.  She opened tours for George Strait, Brad Paisley, and Kenny Chesney, in addition to opening some of Faith Hill and Tim McGraw’s Soul2Soul tour dates.  Swift picked up her first award at the CMT Awards in 2007, winning the Breakthrough Video award.  She also won the Horizon Award at the CMA Awards in November.  She received her first Grammy nomination in 2007 as well for the multi-genre category, Best New Artist.  The Grammy’s will air live on CBS, February 10, 2008 at 8 pm et/pt.

As 2007 came to an end, Swift put an exclamation point on last year and rang in the New Year with a bang too… having both the #1 album and single on the country charts.  Taylor Swift, the album, has went on to sell more than 2 million copies to date.  She's been writing new material for her upcoming project from Big Machine Records – but don’t think for a minute that she’s done with her debut CD just yet…  Swift is gearing up to release her 4th single, “Picture To Burn”, on February 4, 2008.  She’s also in the midst of performing several sold-out shows in 2008 and there’s sure to be more sold-out events as spring and summer rolls around.  Since Taylor Swift's debut in 2006, her music career has been nothing short of astonishing.... But, this is only the beginning.
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January 20, 2008
© Kristin Barlowe
Featured Artist: Taylor Swift
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