Taylor Swift
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Taylor Swift

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The artist recently dubbed "Country Music's New Golden Girl" by ABC News, seventeen-year-old singer/songwriter Taylor Swift, walked away from last night's 41st Annual CMA Awards in Nashville with one of the evening's highest honors, the Horizon Award. The award recognizes "the artist who has for the first time demonstrated in the field of Country Music the most significant creative growth and development in overall chart and sales activity, live performance, professionalism and critical media recognition." Taylor, whose debut CD was released on Big Machine Records almost exactly a year ago, was presented the award by last year's winner, Carrie Underwood. With last night's win, Taylor joins LeAnn Rimes as the youngest-ever winners of the award - a decade ago a teenaged Rimes took home the trophy. Other past winners in this prestigious category include Rascal Flatts, Keith Urban, the Dixie Chicks, and Garth Brooks.

"I can't even believe that this is real!" a tearful and shocked Taylor said when accepting her award. She gave a shout-out to her fans from the stage, telling them, "You have changed my life! This is definitely the highlight of my senior year!"

"This was a like a fairytale to me," Taylor said after the show. "I didn't know I could be this happy! I didn't think I would ever experience a night so magical in my life! There are so many people behind the scenes that have helped to make this possible for me, from my band and crew and bus drivers who have sacrificed time with their families this year so that I could live my dream, to every single person at my record label and booking agency, just everybody really, and I just can’t thank them enough!"

Her CMA win caps a year of unparalleled success for "Country's Teen Queen" (People.) Last month Taylor's songwriting peers at the Nashville Songwriters Association International honored her with their Songwriter / Artist of the Year Award, making her the youngest artist ever to win the award. She also secured her place in the history books as the first female solo artist in country music history to write or co-write all of the songs on a Platinum-selling debut CD. Earlier this year Taylor received the 2007 CMT Music Award for Breakthrough Video of the Year, and she joins superstars Martina McBride and Carrie Underwood as the nominees for Favorite Female Country Artist at this year's American Music Awards. Also this week Taylor was honored with a BMI songwriter achievement award for her debut single "Tim McGraw."

Other highlights include:

Taylor's self-titled debut album, released on Big Machine Records, spent 8 consecutive weeks at #1 on Billboard's Country Albums Chart. Taylor is the only country artist in 2007 to spend 8 consecutive weeks at #1.

Taylor has taken her live show to more than ONE MILLION fans in the past year, thanks to opening tour slots for Rascal Flatts, Kenny Chesney, George Strait, Brad Paisley, and Tim McGraw & Faith Hill.

Last month Taylor was named Country Music's Hottest female by AOL Music.

Taylor is the #1 Country artist on MySpace, with over 27 million song streams.

Television appearances including Live with Regis & Kelly, the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Good Morning America, CNN, Fox & Friends, Access Hollywood, America's Got Talent, CMT Music Awards, Academy of Country Music Awards, Grand Ole Opry Live, and GAC Short Cuts. - Big Machine Records


Taylor Swift got an early birthday present this morning when she received her first-ever Grammy nomination, for the prestigious multi-genre award for Best New Artist. Taylor, who turns 18 one week from today, was on stage at the Grammy's press conference at Los Angeles' famed The Music Box at the Fonda this morning when the Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins called her name. As soon as her name was called, she spontaneously rushed forward to hug both guys, starting a round of hugging that lasted through the rest of the morning's festivities. Taylor is nominated for Best New Artist along with Feist, Ledisi, Paramore and Amy Winehouse. The 50th Annual Grammy Awards will be broadcast live on CBS from the Staples Center L.A. at 8:00 EST/PST on Sunday, February 10th, 2008.

"I decided to go into today knowing that I would have a good day, whether or not I was nominated," said Taylor. "I was just really excited to be in the same room with Fergie and Akon, and then I looked around on that stage and it looked like my iPod! Now this has officially been The Best Day Ever! My label just told me this morning that my CD is certified double-platinum and I got a huge nomination I didn't even see coming!"

Just last month Taylor was awarded the prestigious Horizon Award by the members of the Country Music Association and in October was named Songwriter / Artist of the Year by her songwriting peers at the Nashville Songwriters Association International. Earlier this year she won the 2007 CMT Music Award for Breakthrough Video and she has secured her place in country music history as the genre's first female artist to write or co-write every song on a double platinum-selling debut CD. - Big Machine Records


Best New Artist Grammy nominee and reigning CMA Horizon Award winner Taylor Swift made history today when her third single, "Our Song," claimed the #1 position atop Billboard's Country Singles Chart. The seventeen-year-old singer/songwriter is now the youngest person to single-handedly write and sing a number-one country single entirely on her own. Taylor is also the first female solo artist in country music history to write or co-write every song on a double platinum-selling debut CD.

"Our Song" leapt from #6 to #1 this week, which marks the biggest jump into #1 on the Billboard Country Chart since Tim McGraw's "Just To See You Smile" went from #6 to #1 ten years ago. Taylor's jump from #6 to #1 also becomes the biggest jump into #1 by a female artist since Faith Hill's debut single "Wild One" moved from #6 to #1 in January of 1994. "Our Song" also jumped from #6 to #1 on the Country Aircheck Mediabase Country Chart and from #3 to #1 on Mediabase's Canadian Country Singles Chart.

Over the weekend Taylor crossed the 31 million mark for music streams on her MySpace page, further establishing herself as the first bonafide country star of the MySpace generation. Also this week, "Our Song" entered the Top 10 on the most added songs on Facebook. Taylor is the only country artist on this chart.

Less than a week ago, Taylor charmed a room full of music industry professionals and a national television audience when she hugged several of her fellow artists onstage at the Grammy Nominations press conference in a spontaneous reaction to the announcement that she had just been nominated for a Grammy Award in the multi-genre Best New Artist category. That same day, she received the news that her debut CD had just been certified double-platinum, signifying more than 2 million copies sold.

Last month, Taylor was awarded the prestigious Horizon Award by the members of the Country Music Association and in October was named Songwriter / Artist of the Year by her songwriting peers at the Nashville Songwriters Association International. Earlier this year she won the 2007 CMT Music Award for Breakthrough Video and she was named Country Music’s Hottest Female Artist by AOL Music. - Big Machine Records


Discography

Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift (Deluxe Limited Edition)
The Taylor Swift Holiday Collection

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Bio

"Got the radio on, my old blue jeans, and I'm wearing my heart on my sleeve," Taylor Swift sings on "A Place in This World," a self-penned coming-of-age anthem from her self-titled debut album, released October 24, 2006 on Big Machine Records. It's an apt description of the enthusiastic, down-to-earth young woman, whose original compositions about teenage life brim with poignant honesty and an infectious spirit.

Just 17 years old, Taylor is at an age where most teenagers are only beginning to find their identity and lay tentative plans for the future. But there's never been much doubt in Taylor's mind about her calling. Growing up on a farm in Wyomissing, Pa., music was ever-present in her home. Inspired by her maternal grandmother, a professional opera singer, Taylor took up singing early in life. At 10, she began performing around town at karaoke contests, festivals and county fairs, and even recording rough demos at a studio. At age 11, she performed the national anthem at a Philadelphia 76ers NBA game in front
of thousands of fans.

But it wasn't until she picked up a guitar at age 12 and learned to write her own songs that Taylor discovered how readily she could channel the turbulent emotions of growing up into her music. That year, she wrote "The Outside," a heartbreaking lament about loneliness. Before long, she was spending every available moment playing and writing. "I was playing four hours a day until my fingers were bleeding and my mom called me to dinner," she says.

No strangers to the music business, Taylor's family recognized both her talent and determination. They began taking regular trips to Nashville to shop her music around, and she began writing with local songwriters. After a few years, during which the family made the decision to move to nearby Hendersonville, Tenn., a showcase at the Bluebird Cafe caught the attention of music-industry veteran Scott Borchetta, who was planning to launch a new label. After meeting with Taylor, he knew she was one of the first artists he wanted to sign.

Since then, Taylor has pulled double duty as a straight-A high school student and full-fledged recording artist, a balancing act the teenager handles with grace. "I have tunnel vision as far as this goes," she says. "I can always keep my eyes on the goal." Still, she admits sheepishly, there are moments when songwriting inspiration strikes in the middle of a lecture, making concentration difficult. "If we had random notebook checks, my teachers might find biology notes, biology notes, then suddenly a bunch of lyrics," she laughs.

The songs Taylor scrawls in those spiral notebooks are bright, engaging melodies filled with all the ebullience and drama of adolescent life. In "Our Song," the narrator bemoans the fact that she and her boyfriend don't share a sentimental tune, only to have him affectionately describe all the little moments that make their relationship special. "Our song is the way you laugh," he tells her.

Like all songwriters, Taylor is inspired by the life going on around her, and like any 17-year-old, she admits to a "fascination" with love. Thus, her classmates - her biggest fans, she says - often find themselves the subject of her songs. "They're all going to buy the album and have a little bit of a heart attack," she says with a grin.

In fact, country music channel Great American Country tapped Taylor to star in the inaugural season of GAC Short Cuts, a short-form documentary series that kicked off in the spring of 2006. The shows consist of three one-minute vignettes per hour that feature Taylor pursuing her recording career while attending high school, and the clips feature interviews with many of her close friends.

A country superstar - and one of Taylor's greatest influences - was also surprised to find himself the subject of her debut single. A tender ballad, "Tim McGraw" describes the way music can evoke the sweetest of memories: "When you think Tim McGraw/I hope you think my favorite song/The one we danced to all night long."

Elsewhere on the album, Taylor tackles more serious issues. "Tied Together With a Smile," captures the fragile self-esteem of teenagers, inspired by girls that Taylor has known through the years, including a beauty-pageant queen who suffered from an eating disorder: "Seems the only one who doesn't see your beauty/Is the face in the mirror looking back at you." In the second verse, she laments that lack of confidence sometimes leads girls her age to make hasty and reckless decisions about their relationships: "I guess it's true that love was all you wanted/'Cause you're givin' it away like it's extra change."

Such flashes of maturity give weight to songs that otherwise sparkle with the carefree joie de vivre of youth. Taylor admits her primary agenda with her music is to evoke a strong emotional response. "I want to make people feel things," she says simply.

As she prepares an album with that in mind, Taylor is careful not to