By Natalie S.
… there was a good girl in cowboy boots who wanted to be famous. Her name was Taylor Alison Swift. She grew up on a Christmas tree farm in Pennsylvania and learned how to play guitar from a computer repairman who came to her house when she was around 11 years old. Her wish came true. Her gods were listening. She is now a record breaking songstress with 242.2 million Instagram followers and 12 Grammy’s to her name.
Taylor was given her first name by her business-savvy parents who wanted her to have a gender ambiguous name to splash on business cards and resumes. Their logic was that she would be more likely to be picked for jobs that would traditionally be given to men. From day one, her parents wanted her to be someone in the world. Her dad worked in finance at Merill-Lynch and taught her how to be PR, marketing, and finance focused from very early on in her career. It seems that her younger brother Austin Swift was also a pet project of her father’s, as he is now an actor with a few Hollywood projects under his belt. When his big film career didn’t pan out, Austin took over some of the business operations for his more successful older sister. He has appeared in or produced several of Taylor’s music videos and manages her film projects and music licensing.
However, it would be disingenuous to claim that Taylor’s parents engineered her success or that she is an industry plant as some would tell you. Yes, it is true that her father bought 10% of the tiny record label Big Machine Records (now worth multi millions mainly due to Taylor’s massive global success). Yes, her parents did move from their farm in Pennsylvania to Nashville so that Taylor could pursue her music industry dreams. But Taylor did not need to be stage-momed into any of this. From as early as a toddler she would go up to strangers at the beach and sing to them just for the heck of it. There are home videos to prove it. At just 14 years old, she signed a music publishing deal with Sony/ATV, becoming the youngest artist to sign with the label in its history as a company. Working successfully in the Nashville music scene when you are still a teenager is no small feat. While her parents were certainly more supportive and accommodating than most, the music biz was not something she had to be pushed to be a part of.
Her early songs and music videos were pure country girl innocence, each lyric like a letter written in secret, stuffed into an ornamental glass bottle, and then sent out into the ocean for the rest of us to find, cherish, and relate to on a deep level. Or at least that’s how it felt back then. I was in 5th grade when I first learned about the existence of Taylor Swift. In highschool I was referred to as an “urban cowgirl,” a title which may have been due to Swift’s influence on me from such a young age.
I was there for the genesis of Taylor Swift. I checked her self-titled debut album out from the library and my dad ripped a copy of it onto a CD that I still have to this day. Blue eyed and bushy tailed, Taylor’s perfectly coiffed blonde hair and sad girl stare was memorable and intriguing. Her 2006 hit Tim McGraw was the song of the summer. Really, her whole album was. As would later be observed, she honed in on an untapped market that no one else had thought to focus on at that time. There were no artists making country music for tween and teen girls. But Taylor saw the opportunity and ran with it. She was one of the first artists to successfully use MySpace to promote her music. While other musicians’ record labels were spending millions on marketing, she was reaching a huge, eager fanbase of young girls online without spending a dime.
The 2006 era Taylor wore poofy floor length ball gowns in pastel colors, bridal white prom dresses, and a guitar strapped to her back. She cried about boys in her high school classes who didn’t notice her and dreamt about Romeo and Juliet like romances. She sang about the small town life, romanticized country living, and praised God in songs like “Our Song,” where she crooned “Our song is the way he laughs, the first date man I didn’t kiss him and I should have. And when I got home, before I said Amen, asking God if he could play it again.” She once posted on MySpace “Republicans do it better,” appealing to her Midwestern, conservative, country-music-loving fanbase.
Fast forward to the 2020’s and she’s starring with trans models in her music videos, penning gay pride anthems, and supporting Biden (groper-in-chief) for president. She flashes Freemason symbols on magazine covers and sings from the inside of a 12 foot tall serpent’s skeleton. She even went so far as to declare the old, innocent Taylor, America’s sweetheart dead, digging her own grave in the music video for “Look What You Made Me Do,” and lamenting the “year she spent dressing like a 1950’s housewife” as one of the most embarrassing times of her life. Once a princess in her own fairytale, she is now a demon in her own personal hell, living in luxury and misery forevermore.