Taylor Alison Swift is an American country and pop recording singer, songwriter, philanthropist, and actress. Swift was born on December 13, 1989 in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania. Swift is one of two children born to Scott Kingsley Swift, a stockbroker, and Andrea Finlay Gardner, a homemaker, and has a younger brother, named Austin. Swift inherited her vocal skills from her opera singing maternal grandmother, Majorie Finlay.
As a child, Swift spent her days on her family's Christmas tree farm, attended nearby schools, and won a national poetry contest with her poem called "Monster In My Closet" as a fourth grader. At the age of ten, Swift learned three chords on a guitar under the instruction of a computer repairman, and penned her first song, entitled Lucky You. One year later, Swift traveled to Nashville in hopes to land a record deal upon the distribution of a demo tape. Despite giving the demo to every recording label in Nashville, her karaoke style demo was consistently rejected. Upon Swift's return from Nashville, Swift's preteen and teenage years were spent writing and performing at karaoke contests, fairs, and festivals. Swift's first well received gig was at the site of the Bloomsburg Fair.
At the age of 11, Swift was invited to sing at the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament and received tremendous attention for her version of the National Anthem. At the age of 12, Swift learned how to play the 12 string guitar, wrote many songs, penned a 350 page yet to be published novel, and made many trips to Nashville to collaborate with local songwriters. Within two years, Swift and her family relocated to a Nashville suburb to enable Swift to propel her music career. At the age of 15, Swift rejected a deal with RCA Records because the label wanted to retain her on an artist development deal. Swift was signed to Big Machine Records shortly after the RCA deal fell through. At the age of 14, following a Nashville songwriter's performance held within the Bluebird Cafe, Swift captured the attention of Big Machine Executive Scott Borchetta. Borchetta signed Swift to become the youngest staff songwriter ever hired by Sony and ATV Tree Publishing House.
As a student enrolled at the Hendersonville High School, Swift was the victim of bullying. As a result, Swift spent her last years home-schooled and graduated with her high school diploma in 2008. Despite Swift's personal trials, she released her debut single, entitled Tim McGraw on mid-2006. The single reached #6 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart and paved the road to the release of her self titled debut album on October 24, 2006. The album sold 39,000 units during its first week and peaked on the Billboard Top Country chart's number one position and at the number five position on the Billboard top 200 chart. The album distinguished Swift as a top recording artist and spend 8 consecutive weeks in the number one spot of Top Country Album charts, where it remained for 24 out of 91 weeks - outshining even the Dixie Chicks and Carrie Underwood. Swift garnered Breakthrough Video of the Year at the 2007 CMT Music Awards for the music video Tim McGraw. Swift's success was filmed in a documentary and music video series entitled GAC Short Cuts and allowed her to perform as the opening act for Tim McGraw and Faith Hill's Soul2Soul tour in 2007. Swift's second single, Teardrops On My Guitar was released on February 24, 2007 and quickly climbed Billboard's charts. In October of that year, the Nashville Songwriters Association International awarded Swift with the Songwriter/Artist Of The Year. Swift made history as the youngest artist to ever win the award. A third single off of the debut album, Our Song, also rose to the top of Billboard charts and its success allowed Swift to record her first Christmas album entitled Sounds Of The Season: The Taylor Swift Holiday Collection. The album's fourth release, entitled Picture To Burn, followed the suit and success of her previous singles. Picture To Burn peaked on the Billboard country chart in the spring of 2008. Swift's fifth single, Should've Said No, became the second #1 single from her self titled debut album and the release of Beautiful Eyes during the summer of 2008 garnered even more acclaim. Beautiful Eyes sold 45,000 units within its first week, debuted at number on on Billboard's Top Country Albums, and also debuted at number 9 on the Billboard top 200. Swift became the first recording artist since 1997 to hold the top 2 position of Top Country Albums chart with two albums, her self titled debut and Beautiful eyes.
On November 11, 2008, Swift released her second studio album, entitled Fearless, within the U.S. The album debuted on the Billboard top 200 album chart at number one as the highest debut of any country artist with 592,304 units sold. The album's first single, entitled Love Story, topped country and pop charts and sold over 129,000 digital copies within its first week of release. Fearless went on to sell over 338,467 downloads and became the best selling country album in digital history. Seven tracks from the album, including White Horse, Forever and Always, and several others charted on Billboard's Hot 100 and tied Swift with Miley Cyrus for the most consecutive singles charted by a female artist. By January 2009, Swift became the first country artist to garner 2 million downloads with three songs. Swift's success lead to her six month North American Fearless Tour. The tour spanned 52 cities throughout 38 states within the United States and Canada.
Later in 2009, Swift made her first musical appearance on Saturday Night Live and also performed her song Fifteen with Miley Cyrus at the 51st Annual Grammy Awards on February 8, 2009. That week Swift's Love Story broke country music history as the most downloaded country songs in history. Swift continued to break records and earn multiple awards in 2009 and on September 13, 2009, she became the first country music artist to receive a MTV Video Music Award for Best Female Video filmed for You Belong With Me. Swift's successful VMA win was overshadowed when Kanye West hijacked the microphone during her acceptance speech. During the incident, West proclaimed Beyonce's Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It) video was "one of the best videos of all time." West was booed by the audience and Swift never finished her speech. Swift was later called back on the stage to complete the Best Female Video acceptance speech when Beyonce won Best Video Of The Year for Single Ladies. West faced harsh criticism for his VMA behavior and apologized for the incident the day following. Swift briefly addressed the incident with an appearance on The View on September 15, 2009 and continued to achieve tremendous acclaim and success.
During November 2009, Swift won the Country Music Association's Entertainer Of The Year Award, joining the ranks as one of only six women to win the CMA's highest honor. That month Swift broke records for the most songs by a female artist on Billboard's Hot 100, and set the record for biggest number of songs with nine simultaneously charting tracks in the top 100. Swift became the first female artist to have the most Top 40 singles of the decade. Swift's 2008 Fearless album was re-released and debuted with five songs in the Top 30. During the week of November 21, 2009, the release of Two Is Better Than One, a collaboration between Swift and Boys Like Girls gained Swift a six chart topping single and rendered Swift the biggest number of debuts by any female recording artist in history.
Fearless was declared the best selling album of 2009 within the U.S. and sold 3.2 million units and Swift earned the Top 10 Artist Internet streams with more than 46 million song plays. The success of Fearless sparked the release of Today Was A Fairytale on January 19, 2010. Today Was A Fairytale was released as an iTune digital download and debuted at number two on the Billboard Hot 100. Today Was A Fairytale was featured in the film Valentine's Day, the same film in which Swift made her acting debut. The song broke first week download record sales and debuted at number one on the Canadian Hot 100 as Swift's first number one within the country. Weeks later, in February 2010, Swift's Fearless tour extended to five cities in Australia. The internet leak of Swift's single Mine on August 4, 2010, caused Big Machine executives to push forward the single's release. The song was a huge success and only added to the anticipation of Swift's Speak Now album released on October 25, 2010. Swift made an appearance following the release of Speak Now at the 44th Annual Country Music Awards and continued to act, model, perform, and continue philanthropic pursuits for education, disaster relief, and campaign against online predators.
Taylor Swift is one of the most commercially successful recording artists in the history of country and pop music. Swift has earned many awards and claimed multiple achievements with her autobiographical and emotional lyrics, intense and boundary stretching brand of music, and tremendous talent as a musician. Here are the 10 Best Taylor Swift Songs With Bonus: