Taylor Swift is the only artist to ever take over the entire Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The top 10 tracks on this week’s Hot 100 are all from Taylor Swift’s October 21, 2022, released album Midnights. With these statistics, Swift tops Drake’s achievement from the previous year, when he claimed nine of the Top 10 positions on the Hot 100 chart.
Who is Taylor Swift?
Swift developed an early love in music and quickly advanced from roles in children’s theatre to her first presentation in front of an audience of thousands. She was 11 years old when she performed “The Star-Spangled Banner” before a Philadelphia 76ers basketball game, and the next year she picked up a guitar and began writing songs.
Swift created original content that expressed her experiences of preteen alienation, drawing inspiration from country music performers such as Shania Twain and the Dixie Chicks. Swift’s parents sold their farm in Pennsylvania when she was 13 to go to Hendersonville, Tennessee, so she could dedicate more time seeking country labels nearby Nashville.
Swift met recording industry veterans thanks to a development arrangement with RCA Records, and in 2004, at the age of 14, she contracted with Sony/ATV as a songwriter. She played many of her original songs at Nashville venues, and it was during one of these performances that she was recognised by record executive Scott Borchetta.
Borchetta recruited Swift to his nascent Big Machine label, and her first hit, ‘Tim McGraw,’ inspired by and notably referencing a song by Swift’s favourite country musician, was released in the summer of 2006.
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The song was an instant hit, staying eight months on Billboard’s country singles chart. Swift, now 16, released her self-titled debut album and went on tour with Rascal Flatts.
Taylor Swift was certified platinum in 2007 after selling more than one million copies in the United States, and she proceeded to tour extensively, opening for musicians such as George Strait, Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw, and Faith Hill. Swift received the Country Music Association’s (CMA) Horizon Award for best new artist in November, capping a year in which she became country music’s most public young star.
Swift displayed a polished pop sense with her second album, ‘Fearless’ (2008), courting the mainstream pop audience without losing sight of her country roots. Fearless debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart with sales of over 500,000 copies in its first week.
It eventually spent more time at the top of the charts than any other album released that decade. Singles like ‘You Belong with Me’ and ‘Love Story’ were very popular in the digital market, with the latter garnering over four million paid downloads.
Swift released ‘1989’ in 2014, an album named after the year she was born and allegedly influenced by the music of the time. Despite the fact that Swift had been gradually shifting away from the traditional country signifiers that distinguished her early work— ‘I Knew You Were Trouble,’ the second single from ‘Red,’ even experimented with electronic dance music—she referred to 1989 as her first “official pop album.”
The album, which featured the peppy ‘Shake It Off,’ proved to be another smash for Swift, outselling ‘Red’ in its first week. It eventually sold over five million copies in the United States, earning Swift her second Grammy for album of the year. Swift also had a supporting role in ‘The Giver,’ a film adaptation of Lois Lowry’s dystopian novel for young readers, released in 2014.
Swift left Big Machine in 2018 to sign with Republic Records and Universal Music Group. Her former label, which controlled the master recordings for her six albums, was sold the next year to Scooter Braun, a talent manager whose clients included Kanye West. Swift publicly criticised the transaction, stating that Borchetta had denied her attempts to obtain the master tapes and that Braun had bullied her for years.
She later attempted to reach an agreement with Braun, but he sold her back catalogue to a private investment firm in 2020. Against this backdrop, Swift started rerecording her early work in an attempt to acquire control of it, with the goal that her redone songs, rather than the originals, would be sought out for licencing deals, and ‘Fearless’ (Taylor’s Version) was released in 2021. It was a re-release of her 2008 album that included numerous previously unreleased tunes.
Swift’s seventh studio album, ‘Lover,’ was released in 2019, and she called it as “a love poem to love itself.” That same year, she starred in ‘Cats,’ a film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s immensely famous stage performance. The documentary ‘Miss Americana’ (2020) is about her life and work. She released ‘Folklore’ in 2020 with little notice. Swift’s eighth studio album, a departure from her previous pop-inspired work, received accolades for its thoughtfulness and restraint, and it won the Grammy for album of the year. ‘Evermore,’ the “sister record,” was released later in 2020.
Swift considers herself a feminist and pro-choice. She was a founding signatory of the anti-sexual harassment movement Time’s Up, and she condemned the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade (1973) and abolish federal abortion rights in 2022. She is an outspoken supporter of LGBT rights and has advocated for the passage of the Equality Act, which forbids discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
Swift has advocated for the March for Our Lives movement and gun control reform in the United States. She is a prominent opponent of white supremacy, racism, and police brutality in the United States.