Country pop star center of student’s solar system

ASHLEY MORALES
Staff Writer 

Most people know Taylor Swift for her signature blond spirals, sparkly personality and her self-written brutally honest country pop songs about heartbreak and relationships.

Swift captivated the country music scene in 2006 when she debuted her self-titled album, “Taylor Swift,” with independent label Big Machine Records.

With high hopes at age 11, Taylor had convinced her mom, Andrea Swift, to take a trip to Nashville’s famous Music Row. Taylor would jump out of the car, run into a record label company, hand the receptionist a CD and excitedly asked them to call her.

“I thought, ‘You know, if Nashville is the town that lets you be yourself and do things like that, and be different, then that’s where I need to be,’” Swift told Rolling Stone.

She never got a phone call, but Taylor didn’t give up.

Scott Borchetta, former executive at DreamWorks Records, started his own record label–Big Machine Records–and Taylor became its first artist.

Her first single, “Tim McGraw,” released on June 19, 2006, brought notice to Taylor, not just to the Nashville music world but also the pop industry.

On Oct. 24, 2006, “Taylor Swift” was released and “Tim McGraw” rose to No. 6 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart and four other singles followed on to the chart.

Rolling Stone calls her, “One of the few genuine rock stars we’ve got these days, with a flawless ear for what makes a song click,” and I couldn’t agree more.

I’m obsessed with Taylor Swift because she has this beaming personality that captures your attention and instantly makes you want to be best friends with her. Although the main subject of her songs is love, she also has songs that deal with other life complications and can easily relate to anyone and everyone.

She makes you feel like you’re not alone in having these feelings. I think this is a huge factor in her success. She has the ability to take a bad situation, and write a chart-topping song many can identify with.

I heard “Tim McGraw” for the first time the summer before seventh grade at a friend’s house. I had never experienced heartbreak or had deep feelings for someone, but that song made me feel as if I knew exactly what it would feel like, and I was only 12. My friend only listened to country music and I always complained of how slow and boring the music was until that day. From then on, I went home and switched from my mainstream radio station to a country one. Even going as far as watching CMT instead of MTV on Saturday and Sunday mornings just in case Taylor happened to make an appearance.

I was always ecstatic when she dropped a new single because I had just received my first iPod and was able to stay up just to buy and download the song at midnight.

The day that “Taylor Swift” was available in stores, I almost got grounded because I was rushing my parents to floor the car to Hastings.

I’m still like that, actually. Waiting until midnight on iTunes, speeding to the nearest Hastings or Target, and squealing every time I’m in a car, store or restaurant and I hear a Taylor song playing.

One thing that I love about Taylor is her dedication to her tour. She wants her vision portrayed as much as possible. She designs the set, plans out the lights and graphics among other things. Granted, she has help from professionals, but if you have ever attended a Taylor Swift concert, you feel like you’re in her fairytale themed head, or at least I do.

I’ve been to both the Fearless and Speak Now tours and they were both so magical. My favorite part of both concerts was when Taylor left the main stage for a rotating circular stage on the other side of the arena or center. She plays this set acoustically and it’s so personal. It’s just a spotlight, stool, Taylor and her guitar.

Taylor is teaming with VH1 and will travel to a winning college or high school this fall for a private acoustic concert presented by Chegg, the leading student hub, Papa John’s in partnership with COVERGIRL and American Greetings.

You might be thinking that KC is too small to win anything this major, but to level out small and large schools each schools votes will be divided by a number that is based upon enrollment numbers available to Chegg. Using the enrollment numbers, Chegg will round that number up or down to the nearest thousand.

In addition, the top five schools with the most votes will each receive a $10,000 grant for their music department from Taylor Swift and Chegg’s philanthropic program, Chegg for Good, which inspires students to be a catalyst for change on their campus communities and around the world.

This is a chance for something big to happen at KC, and all it is going to take is to log onto www.taylorswiftoncampus.com and vote.

 

Ashley Morales is a freshman communications major from Longview.

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