An American singer-songwriter by the name of Taylor Alison Swift is one of the most successful and famous singers across the globe. Her discography is diverse, and her narrative songwriting-often influenced by her own experiences-has won critical acclaim and received extensive media attention. Swift, a country music performer, was born in West Reading, Pennsylvania, and moved to Nashville, Tennessee at the age of 14. 2004 saw her sign a songwriting contract with Sony/ATV Music Publishing, and 2005 saw her sign a recording deal with Big Machine Records. She became the first female country artist to write or co-write every song on a US platinum-certified album with her self-titled debut album in 2006.
Swift explored country pop on her subsequent albums, Fearless (2008) and Speak Now (2010). The first country songs to reach the top of the US pop airplay and all-genre airplay charts, respectively, were the former's singles "Love Story" and "You Belong with Me." On Red (2012), which features her first US Billboard Hot 100 number-one single, "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together," she experimented with various rock and electronic styles. She then recalibrated her identity from country to pop with her synth-pop fifth studio album, 1989 (2014), which was supported by the chart-topping singles "Shake It Off," "Blank Space," and "Bad Blood." The urban-flavoured Reputation (2017) and its number-one single "Look What You Made Me Do" were inspired by media scrutiny of her life. Swift became the first act to have four albums that each debuted with a million copies sold thanks to the album.
Swift's seventh studio album, Lover, was released in 2019 after she parted ways with Big Machine and signed with Republic Records in 2018. Miss Americana, an autobiographical documentary, was then released (2020). The indie folk and alternative rock albums Folklore and Evermore (2020), which included escapism and fictional narratives, were the result of her creative input during the COVID-19 pandemic; their lead singles "Cardigan" and "Willow" debuted at the top of the Hot 100.
After a public dispute over who owned the masters for the albums, she started re-recording her entire catalogue for Big Machine, releasing two re-recorded albums in 2021: Fearless (Taylor's Version) and Red (Taylor's Version). "All Too Well (10 Minute Version)" by the latter became the longest song to reach the top of the Hot 100. Along with directing the music movies Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions (2020) and All Too Well: The Short Film, Swift has also appeared in supporting roles in movies (2021).
One of the most successful musicians of all time, Swift has sold more than 200 million records worldwide. She has won an Emmy Award, 34 American Music Awards, the most by any artist, 29 Billboard Music Awards, the most by any woman, and 11 Grammy Awards, including three Album of the Year titles. She has appeared on lists such as the Time 100, the Rolling Stone 100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time, the Billboard 100, and the Forbes Celebrity 100. Swift, who has received accolades like Woman of the Decade and Artist of the Decade, promotes women's empowerment and the rights of artists. She has received credit for inspiring a new generation of singer-songwriters with her albums.
Her Musical Style
Prior to the release of her fourth studio album, Red, in 2012, Swift identified herself as a country music performer. Although country radio was encouraged to play her albums, critics noted that they featured a wide range of pop and rock genres. After 2010, they noted that Swift's melodies are firmly rooted in pop music and that the only country music elements are her light twang and a few fiddles, banjo, and mandolin accents. Some remarked that her country music identity was more of a reflection of her narrative songwriting than of her musical style. Swift's status as a country musician was well received by the Nashville music community, but detractors charged that she had abandoned the genre's traditional roots in order to achieve crossover success in the large pop market.
Swift responded, "I leave the genre labelling to other people," to the critical debate that was sparked by Red's eclectic pop, rock, and electronic styles. Swift made a "bait-and-switch manoeuvre" by starting her musical career in Nashville, according to music journalist Jody Rosen, by "planting roots in loamy country soil, then pivoting to pop." When she released 1989, her fifth studio album in the synth-pop genre, in 2014, she gave up her identity as a country musician. She referred to it as her first "documented, official pop album." Reputation (2017) and Lover (2019), both of which feature hip hop and trap, have a positive pop production.
Although Swift's pop albums received generally favourable reviews, some critics regretted that the production style revealed Swift's drive for mainstream success, which diminished her authenticity as a songwriter cultivated by her background in country music. Swift's transition to pop music, according to musicologist Nate Sloan, was more driven by her desire to develop her artistic vision. With her studio albums Folklore and Evermore from 2020, Swift shunned mainstream pop in favour of alternative genres like indie rock. Taylor Swift, according to Clash, "has always been one of transcendence and covert boundary-pushing," to the point where she is no longer limited by any particular genre.
Swift's voice has a mezzo-soprano range and a typically mellow timbre. Some people have criticised her vocals throughout her country music career as being weak and strained in comparison to those of her contemporaries. Swift acknowledged that early in her career, she often worried about her vocal ability and that she has since made great efforts to improve. Swift's vocals received mixed reviews after she switched from country to pop music in 2014. Detractors criticised her for having poor vocal technique but praised her for using her voice to express her emotions to her listeners, valuing "intimacy over power and nuance." They also commended her for not using Auto-Tune to adjust her pitch.
Reviews of Swift's later albums praised her vocals more because they thought they were less nasal, richer, and resonant. Music critics praised her incisive, nimble, translucent, controlled vocals in Folklore and Evermore. Sam Sodomsky of Pitchfork observed that Swift is still a "versatile, expressive vocalist." Swift's timbre, according to professor of music theory Alyssa Barna, is "breathy and bright" in the upper register and "full and dark" in the lower. Critics started praising the more experienced, deeper, and "fuller" tone of her voice with her 2021 re-recorded albums.
Swift's voice is "leagues better now," according to Kate Solomon, writing in i. This is due to her newly discovered vocal equipment. The Guardian noted that Swift's voice is characterised by "yo-yoing vocal yelps" and passionate climaxes, as well as her country twang. Reviews of Swift's later albums praised her vocals more because they thought they were less nasal, richer, and resonant. Music critics praised her incisive, nimble, translucent, controlled vocals in Folklore and Evermore.
Sam Sodomsky of Pitchfork observed that Swift is still a "versatile, expressive vocalist." Swift's timbre, according to professor of music theory Alyssa Barna, is "breathy and bright" in the upper register and "full and dark" in the lower. Critics started praising the more experienced, deeper, and "fuller" tone of her voice with her 2021 re-recorded albums. Swift's voice is "leagues better now," according to Kate Solomon, writing in i. This is due to her newly discovered vocal equipment. The Guardian noted that Swift's voice is characterised by "yo-yoing vocal yelps" and passionate climaxes, as well as her country twang.
Numerous publications have praised Swift as one of the greatest songwriters of all time and the best of her generation. She stated in an interview with The New Yorker in 2011 that her voice serves primarily as a vehicle for the lyrics she creates for her songs. Swift's early songs frequently drew inspiration from her own life experiences, which assisted her in navigating the challenges of living. Her "diaristic" method started with a melody that went along with the emotion. Her first three studio albums frequently dealt with teenage themes of love, heartbreak, and insecurities. She explored the turmoil of toxic relationships in Red and, following failed relationships in 1989, embraced positivity and nostalgia.
Critics generally praised Swift's confessional songwriting; they emphasised its vivid details and emotional engagement, which they found unusual in a pop musician. Due to her confessional narratives, the tabloid media frequently made assumptions and connections between the subjects of the songs and Swift's ex-lover, a practice that critics and Swift criticised as sexist. Swift stays away from discussing the topics of her songs, with the exception of hints in the album liner notes.
The bridges in Swift's songs have been praised as one of the best parts of them, earning her the title "Queen of Bridges" from Time. No one is more influential when it comes to writing music today than Swift, according to the National Music Publishers' Association, which gave her the Songwriter Icon Award in 2021. She was named Songwriter-Artist of the Decade by the Nashville Songwriters Association International in 2022 after being named the best-known female songwriter of the modern era by The Week. Carole King thanks Swift for "carrying the torch forward" and refers to Swift as her "professional granddaughter." The two original poems "Why She Disappeared" and "If You're Anything Like Me" by Swift were also published.
Fandom and Public Image
Following her international success, Swift established herself as a teen idol and a pop icon. Few artists, according to Billboard, have achieved Swift's level of chart success, critical acclaim, and fan support. She has been referred to as a "media darling" and "a reporter's dream" by journalists who have written about her courteous and "open" personality. Former First Lady Michelle Obama praised Swift as an artist who "has rocketed to the top of the music industry but still keeps her feet on the ground, someone who has shattered every expectation of what a 22-year-old can accomplish" when she presented her with a prize in 2012 for her humanitarian work. Because of her likeability and "girl next door" persona, Swift was dubbed "America's Sweetheart" by the media in the beginning of her career.
Swift is characterised by the media as an astute businessman. She is referred to as a "incredible flywheel" of online buzz and word-of-mouth by Inc. Swift has achieved the kind of success that "turns a person into an institution, into an inevitability," according to The Ringer writer Kate Knibbs, who called her more than just a popstar but rather an all-pervasive "musical biosphere unto herself." Swift is also well-known for her customary album releases, which include a number of marketing initiatives. It is referred to as a "multimedia bonanza" by Rolling Stone. According to publications, Swift's body of work can be viewed as a whole as a musical or cinematic "universe" that contains easter eggs that fans and media outlets can decipher.
Many journalists credit her success to her involvement on social media and her close relationships with her fans. She was rated as the most admired female musician in the world between 2019 and 2021 by YouGov surveys.
Swift is hesitant to talk about her personal life in public because she sees it as "a career weakness," but it is the subject of extensive media coverage and tabloid rumours. Swift was dubbed a "lightning rod for praise and criticism" by Clash. Her dating history, according to The New York Times, "has started to stir what feels like the beginning of a backlash," and the publication questioned whether she was going through a "quarter-life crisis" at the time. Swift's life and career have been subject to misogyny and slut-shaming, according to critics.
People, Elle, Vogue, and Maxim are just a few of the publications that have embraced Swift's fashion appeal. Her street style has drawn praise. She is regarded as a leading figure in eco-friendly fashion by Vogue Australia. She served as the 2016 Met Gala co-chair. Throughout her career, she has reinvented her appearance and fashion, adopting particular aesthetics that are consistent with each album cycle. According to Consequence, Swift's appearance changed over a ten-year period from "girl-next-door country act to pop star to woodsy poet." Swift made cottagecore popular with Folklore and Evermore and Polaroid motif with 1989.
Swift, one of the most prominent musicians of the twenty-first century, has had a wide range of effects on the music business. She influenced the contemporary country music scene. Swift, according to Rosen, is the first country artist whose fame spread outside of the United States. Whereas country music had not previously been well-liked, her chart success spread to Asia and the United Kingdom. She was one of the first artists from a nation to use technology and online promotion strategies like MySpace.
Forbes estimates that Swift's net worth will be $570 million by 2022. Additionally, the value of her first six albums' publishing rights is $200 million. She was at the top of the Forbes Top-Earning Women in Music list in 2016 and 2019 and was in the top three from 2011 to 2020. She earned $170 million in 2016, making her the highest-paid celebrity of the year, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, a record she herself broke in 2019 with $185 million. Swift earned $825 million in total, making her the highest paid female artist of the 2010s. She has made investments totaling $84 million in real estate, including the Samuel Goldwyn Estate in Beverly Hills, California; the Holiday House in Watch Hill, Rhode Island; and numerous purchases in Tribeca, Manhattan, also known as "Taybeca" by neighbourhood realtors.