Few people could have imagined that at the time seventeen-year-old girl Taylor Swift with her country songs like Teardrops On My Guitar would become one of the most talked about and listened to pop artists of her generation. The outspoken singer who strings both hits and controversies, celebrates her thirtieth birthday on December 13.
Swift, who was born in Reading in Pennsylvania in 1989, has had hits in her home country since 2006. Only in 2009 does she really get across the border with singles like Love Story and You Belong With Me .
Still, Swift only starts flirting with pop music in 2012. This immediately produces hits such as We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together and I Knew You Were Trouble .
Her growing popularity is accompanied by interest in her love life. Her relationships with famous men - such as Jake Gyllenhaal, Harry Styles, John Mayer, Taylor Lautner and Calvin Harris - are widely measured in the tabloid press. Moreover, the singer gets criticism, because she would only sing songs about her exes. Swift has been writing her own songs since the early days of her career, which are often inspired by her own love life.
215Listen to We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together from Taylor Swift
"I don't need a man as an inspiration for a good album"
"The fact that I am portrayed as a serial date is a sexist view of my life. I just stopped dating because I wanted to show that I didn't need a man as an inspiration for a good album or to feel good about my life ", she says about this in an interview with Esquire .
Swift believes that the criticism of the subject of her songs comes from sexism. "Nobody says that about Ed Sheeran or Bruno Mars. They also write about their exes, current partners and love life and nobody takes offense," says the singer in 2014 in the Australian program Jules, Merrick and Sophie.
On The Man , a song on her latest album Lover , Swift sings openly about the inequality between men and women in society and what would be different if she were a male artist. "They would say that I worked hard and nobody would shake their head and wonder if I deserve all of this," said Swift.
The success of 1989 and the inevitable image problems
After the success of the more pop-oriented Red , the singer in 2014 with the album 1989 really earns her status as one of the greatest pop stars of her generation.
The first single Shake It Off becomes a worldwide hit and Blank Space and Wildest Dreams also storm the charts. The album is praised by reviewers and the singer embarks on a sold-out world tour. With an almost infinite list of hit singles, it seems that Swift cannot get bigger. Slowly there are cracks in her image of America's Sweetheart .
Her feud with Kanye West will be revived in 2016. The rapper who interrupted her word of thanks in 2009 after winning an MTV VMA to say that he thought Beyoncé should have won, is releasing the song Famous . In it he says he will have sex with the singer. "Why? Because I made that bitch famous," the song says.
Swift wins another VMA in 2016 and, in her acceptance speech, addresses women in the music industry to let them know that they should never let men take credit. Kim Kardashian, the wife of West, then tries to 'unmask' Swift with a recorded telephone conversation in which Swift gives approval for at least part of the famous song test and calls the singer a snake. Swift strikes back and states that she has not approved both sentences and their combination.
Nevertheless, the singer receives a lot of criticism and disappears from publicity for months. When she returns, she decides to embrace the nickname "slang" in the video clip for Look What You Made Me Do.
Taylor Swift - Look What You Made Me Do
From dark Reputation period to colorful Lover album
The album Reputation soon follows and Swift shows a more electronic sound with lyrics in which she expresses her frustrations. This is accompanied by mainly black, less concealing outfits and few colorful videos with a stoic Swift.
On the song Call It What You Want, let them know how she is really doing. "I brought a knife to a firefight, they took my crown from me, but it's okay. All liars called me one and for months nobody heard anything from me", she looks back on the period before revealing that it's better than ever with her continues her relationship with actor Joe Alwyn.
Reputation appears to be the last album Swift releases under the record company Big Machine, where she signed for her breakthrough. She switches to Republic Records, where her seventh album Lover appears. The promotional campaign for the album is influenced by her dispute with Big Machine.
Dispute with record company and politically active
Swift writes in an extensive message on Tumblr that she is not the owner of the rights to the songs that she has written herself. Record manager Scott Borchetta makes a million deal with artist manager Scooter Braun, who manages Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande, among others. Swift is angry about that because in the past she felt bullied by Braun and does not like that he now owns her music. Swift says she cannot sing her songs during award shows or use them in a documentary. She will get permission for this later.
The singer's outspoken opinion leads to criticism, but it also gives her a lot of support from fellow musicians and ensures that the discussion about property rights in the music industry is resumed. It is not the only subject on which Swift speaks. The singer no longer makes it a secret that she supports the Democrats and defends the LGBTI community on the single You Need To Calm Down .
The dispute between Swift, Borchetta and Braun that is still going on and the expression of her political opinion have certainly not helped her. The album Lover was the only album from 2019 that was sold more than a million times. Netflix is working on a documentary about the life of the singer and soon she will make her acting debut in the film adaptation of the musical Cats .
Swift may not be America's Sweetheart anymore, but she has emerged as an influential pop star who is still at the top of the charts and uses her status to expose problems in the music industry.
238Listen to Lover by Taylor Swift