The Debut That Started It All

By Keira De Vita

What started off as an 11 year old road tripping to the music capital of the world would cultivate into a career rapidly expand into one of the largest music careers of all time. Taylor Swift ventured into the vast world of the music industry with fierce determination and persistence, which would create a stable foundation to build a music career on. 

Diving into her young beginnings, the artist receives a guitar for Christmas marking the point of the beginning. Swift never fully learned how to play; a few years after this, a repair man came to her house and saw her guitar, prompting a conversation. He later taught her chords, which would go on to inspire one of her first songs, “Luck You.” With this, Swift’s career blasted off. At age 14 the young songwriter signed with a company which proved to bring her nowhere, she later met a man, Scott Borchetta (while showcasing at Bluebird Cafe), who—without a record label company at the time—ventured to Swift and asked to sign her. Taylor Swift agreed, and launched into her career. 

Taylor Swift’s first ever studio album, Taylor Swift (Debut) released in 2006, at the age of 16, provoked a strong beginning to her career. The album sold around 40,000 copies within the first week. Swift and her mother then ventured on the road to participate in radio touring. The album does not shine through with much self expression and lyricism as other albums, which results in the album ranking low on most fans rankings of the albums. Needless to say, Taylor Swift’s personality shines through with her fun country accent truly emphasized throughout this specific album. While songs like “Tim McGraw,” “Teardrops on My Guitar,” and “Should’ve Said No” prove as more personalized songs, other songs on the album can be subjected to classification of more basic country songs—songs that could have been written by other artists or come across as songs that her record label forcingly encouraged her to write, being her first album. Over Swift’s career her songs have developed into distinct sounds with special specific lyrics.

Though Swift did not go on an official tour for Taylor Swift, the teenager opened for a variety of big country artists, went on a radio tour around the United States, and played in smaller venues. This grew Swift’s notoriety amongst the population of music listeners reaching an even wider audience as she went on to write and release her second studio album, Fearless. Her first four albums all fall under the genre of country. In release order: Taylor Swift, Fearless, Speak Now, and Red (her last official country album, the album classified under the genre of Country Pop). These first four albums, although country, reached folk who enjoyed other forms of music besides country. Swift’s young beat and fresh lyrics resided in multiple communities of music listeners, mainly country and pop. The way in which her music was universally enjoyed and explored would lead Swift into a quick rise to fame winning a multitude of awards as well as her first four Grammys received for Fearless at the 2010 Grammys. During her country music era (her first four albums) Swift would go on to be nominated for 19 Grammys, and won a total of7. Many other awards were received during this time.

A prominent mark by an artist can be curated in a multitude of ways. Specifically for Swift, she was able to reach not only a strong fan base but an adaptable one that grew with her as she ventured into new sounds and genres throughout the decades.