Taylor Swift is an American artist, actress, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. She was born Taylor Alison Swift on December 13, 1989 in Reading, Pennsylvania.
She began early childhood education, i.e. pre-school and kindergarten, at a Christian school before proceeding to primary school education at Wyndcroft School, both in her hometown of Reading. She then pursued her middle school education in Wyomissing, also in Pennsylvania.
In 2003 at the age of 14, her parents relocated to Nashville, Tennessee where she enrolled and attended Hendersonville High School in Hendersonville on the out skirts of Nashville. After two years there, she transferred to a nearby private school called Aaron Academy where she successfully completed her high school education.
Taylor Swift professional career as an artist is said to have commenced in 1998 at the age of 9, with an interest in musical theater, that quickly shifted to country music under inspiration from diva Shania Twain. Her parents' decision to relocate to Nashville, Tennessee, renown for its enormous wealth of country music talents and resources, was aimed at enhancing her interest in building a career in country music. Even before the familial relocation, young Taylor Swift had visited Nashville with her mother on several occasions trying to establish networks and strike deals with country music labels there.
Notwithstanding, however, Nashville proved to be a crowded musical place for Taylor Swift, due to presence of numerous talented competitors all aspiring to becoming country music artists. As such, her early efforts for making a breakthrough into country music were futile.
According to her, she had to find a way of doing things differently from that of other competitors, if she were to succeed eventually. The different way of doing things she opted for was to write her own songs, and play guitar and piano. It worked! She wrote her first song Lucky You at the age of 12. Performing original songs to record label showcases definitely increased Taylor Swift's chances of getting recording contracts with the labels, receiving her first artist development contract with RCA Records at the age of 13.
Taylor Swift's debut contract with RCA Records was, however, very short-lived. Ditching the record company after just about one year by refusing to extend the contract, and instead signing a 12 year recording contract with a newly established record label called Big Machine Records in 2005. The new contract became a game changer for her music endeavor and prospects, and propelled her to fame and wealth. She began releasing studio albums regularly at an average of one album every two years from then up to the present, totally six albums so far, all under Big Machine Records.
As she was excelling as an artist, Taylor Swift was at the same time making gigantic milestones as an actress, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. Lets now elaborate briefly this extraordinary career evolution of Taylor Swift. We will begin with her accomplishments as an artist.
Just about a year after she inked the 12 year recording contract with Big Machine Records, Taylor Swift released her debut album Taylor Swift in 2006. She wrote three of the album's 11 songs, with the other 8 songs written in a collaboration with some other song writers. The album was fairly successful economically, peaking at No. 5 on the Billboard 200, and selling over 7.7 million copies worldwide.
Taylor Swift's second album Fearless was released in 2008. It entailed some of Taylor Swift's great songs like You Belong With Me, Love Story, Fifteen, Fearless, etc. The album clearly confirmed she had arrived at the global music arena to stay and had to be recognized and respected. Economically, the album was a big success, becoming top selling album in the USA during 2009, and receiving tow awards at the 52nd Grammy Awards, namely Album of the Year and Best Country Album.
The Fearless album was buttressed by Taylor Swift's first world concert tour, the Fearless Tour (2009 - 2010). The tour generated revenues of over $63 million. In addition to the tour per se, she made and featured in a film about the tour, called Taylor Swift: Journey To Fearless. Also, she made a music video for the album's iconic single You Belong With Me. The video received MTV Video Music Awards 2009's Best Female Video.
Taylor Swift released her third album Speak Now in 2010. All the songs in the entire album were written by Ms Swift. The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, and won Favorite Country Album at the American Music Awards 2011. The Speak Now World Tour (2011 - 2012) consolidate and promoted the album, and generated revenues of over $123 million.
In 2012 Taylor Swift released her fourth album Red, with We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together as the its lead single. The latter became her first No. 1 single in the USA and New Zealand. She supported the album with a world concert tour, namely the World Red Tour that generated over $150 million.
Taylor Swift's fifth album 1989 was released in 2014. This was probably her best studio album, in our view. It presented a sophisticated contemporary amalgamation of country, pop, and pop-rock talents. Particularly, the album marked the end of dominance of country elements in Taylor Swift's music.
1989 album entailed the most popular songs of Taylor Swift so far. some of which have clocked over 1 billion views in VEVO. The songs include Shake It Off, Blank Space, and Bad Blood, all of which topped at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. To support the album, Taylor Swift launched the 1989 World Tour (2015). The tour was extremely successful, generating over $250 million in revenues.
Taylor Swift's sixth and last album to-date Reputation was released in 2017, and consists Look What You Made Do as its lead single. Other powerful songs in the album include Gorgeous, Call It What You Want, End Game, and Ready For It? The album may also be her last under the banner of Big Machine Records, unless the contract between the two parties that expires in November 2018 is extended. Reputation album was supported by a world concert tour called Reputation Stadium Tour (2018).
As can be seen from the foregoing, Taylor Swift accomplishments as a music artist are phenomenal. At only 28, and within a period of 13 years since signing her debut recording contract, Taylor Swift has sold over 40 million albums, and 130 million singles (mostly digital) as of 2016. With such performance, there is no doubt whatsoever, she is one of the best selling artists of all time.
In recognition of her incredible achievements in the music industry, Taylor Swift has be honored immensely with numerous world class awards including the following.
10 Grammy Awards
19 American Music Awards
23 Billboard Music Awards
12 Country Music Association Awards
8 Academy of Country Music Awards
1 Emmy Award
Also, for her extra-ordinary music career, Taylor Swift holds 6 Guinness World Records, as well as being included in the lists of following magazines:
1) Time's 100 Most Influential People in the World (2010 and 2015)
2) Forbes' Top Earning Female Artists (2011 - 2015), and
3) Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Song Writers of All Time (2015).
It perhaps imperative to mention at this juncture that despite the massive success of her albums and singles, Taylor Swift is reported to have indicated she considers herself more of a songwriter than a singer. Adding she singing for her is just a mechanism for communicating across her lyrics. Whether her observation implies possible shift in direction in the future with more focus on song writing is not clear. However, the famous masterpiece This Is What You Came For she wrote in a collaboration with Calvin Harris and sang by Rihanna, could provide a clue about the kind of arrangement model that may be required for such an eventuality.
As an actress, Taylor Swift career could be said to have began in 2009 when she made her acting debut in an episode of CBS's CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. She played the role of a rebel teenager. The same year, she took a guest role in an episode of Saturday Night Live. In the years that followed, Taylor Swift played roles in several films including the following films: The Lorax (2012), New Girl (2013), The Giver (2014), and Cats (2018).
As regards entrepreneurship, Taylor Swift's focus has been on endorsement and partnership deals, and own perfume fragrance line.
On the one hand, she has had endorsement and partnership deals with among others, the following firms: AT&T, National Hockey League (NHL), Verizon Wireless, Wal-Mart, Sony, CoverGirl, Fujifilm, Coke, Keds, Air Asia, Qantas, and Subway.
On the other hand, she has so far released 4 perfume fragrance, namely Wonderstruck, Wonderstruck Enchanted, Taylor by Taylor Swift, and Incredible Things.
Taylor Swift is a staunch philanthropist. Her contribution to philanthropy has been through the following charitable actions.
1) Direct financial donations to charitable projects
2) Organizing charitable fund raising events
3) Recording songs specifically dedicated to the benefit of charitable projects
4) Donation of items to charitable auctions
5) Initiating and participating in good course campaigns and Movements
As an individual, Taylor Swift could be described in our view as very intelligent, sophisticated, ambitious, strategic, empathetic, friendly, dynamic, resolute, and confident. Albeit stunningly beautiful, and having been named sex symbol in numerous quarters including Bloomberg L.P. and Maxim's Hot 100 List among others, Taylor Swift herself is said not to share or particularly like the description.
So far, Taylor Swift's career life has been very inspirational to others and especially to young people, in numerous ways that include the following examples.
First, her career life demonstrates that life experiences could be used as inspiration for career development. This observation is based on deductions from data emanating from background analyses of her songs. The latter have been characterized in some quarters as mainly about romance, love, parent-child relationships, friendships, alienation fame, as well as career ambitions; and argued to be based on factual realities from her youth and later adulthood. In responding to the argument, Taylor Swift is said to have observed while it is true some of her songs are based on factual experiences, others are based on observations.
Second, Taylor Swift's career life suggests very strongly that appropriate new ideas can be of paramount significance to career development and success. More specifically, it illustrates vividly that as competition becomes increasingly a primary characteristic of a professional career like music, what may be required to make a breakthrough into it may be generation of new ideas of doing things, different from the commonly known and used ones, rather than just plain hard work and financial support.
Third, Taylor Swift career life has triggered what could be called debate/discourse about the relationship between the private and public domains of the individual, through for example, her reluctance to discuss her private life in public. Her stance been that discussing private life in public may be a career weakness.
Fourth and finally, Taylor Swift career life suggests social class variations do not imply different types of human beings. In other words, people are the same as human beings irrespective of social class. It is perhaps within this context of her life philosophy and perspective about others, that she has been described in some quarters as a person who despite her fame and wealth hence privileged upper social class status, still keep her feet on the ground. For instance she is said to have close personal contact with her fans to some of whom she often deliver holiday gifts in mail or in person.
With an estimated net worth of $320 million as of July 2018 by Forbes, career accomplishments of Taylor Swift so far are absolutely extra-ordinary. Given her perception of material wealth as an opportunity for contributing to society through philanthropy, as well as exerting positive influence on others especially the youth, Taylor Swift is definitely one of the smartest beautiful women of all time.
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