Taylor Swift Is a Veteran at 16

GAC Music Beat

By Ronna Rubin


Rising country newcomer Taylor Swift.


Oct. 23, 2006—While most girls her age are cruising the mall to try on the latest from stores like Abercrombie & Fitch, rising country newcomer Taylor Swift is starring in an ad campaign for the trendy retailer.

The busy 16-year-old will release "Taylor Swift" this week (Oct. 24)—a debut collection of 11 songs she co-wrote—and Great American Country has chronicled her journey thus far for the documentary, Taylor Swift: A Place in This World, which airs at 4 and 10 pm ET, Saturday, Oct. 28, and at 2 am and 3:30 pm ET, Sunday, Oct. 29.

Swift spent much of her youth on a farm in Wyomissing, Pa., near Reading, and was inspired by her maternal grandmother, a professional opera singer. She took up singing at an early age and made her first public appearance at 8 when she portrayed the lead role of Sandy in a children's theater production of Grease.

By 12 she'd picked up a guitar and began writing her own songs, and soon her family was making regular trips to Nashville, where she began writing with professional songwriters. After a few years of commuting, the family relocated to Hendersonville, just north of Nashville. A showcase at a songwriter's hot spot lead to a record deal.

Swift balances life as a straight-A high school student and full-fledged recording artist, but admits that sometimes that line gets blurred. "If we had random notebook checks, my teachers might find biology notes ... biology notes ... then suddenly a bunch of lyrics."

And she warns that since she often is inspired by her friendships with classmates, they may just find themselves the subject of some of her songs. "They're all going to buy the album and have a little bit of a heart attack," she says laughing.

Her debut single, "Tim McGraw," came to her after a boyfriend moved out of town. "I started thinking of things that I knew would remind me of him and the first thing that came to mind was that my favorite song is by Tim McGraw," she explains.

More serious issues are tackled on "Tied Together With A Smile," a song inspired by a friend suffering from an eating disorder and "The Outside," which is a bit of an autobiographical spin on being different from everyone else.

The GAC cameras follow Swift into the recording studio, on the road at the CMA Music Festival, on a radio tour and interacting with her fans through her website. Viewers also will get a chance to see hear her perform several tracks from her new album.

Touring schedule for Taylor Swift:

Nov. 3, West Chester University, West Chester, Pa.

Nov. 11, Morris Performing Arts Center, South Bend, Ind.

Nov. 27, Dee Events Center, Ogden, Utah

Dec. 2 & 3, Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas, Nev.

(Ronna Rubin, a 21-year veteran of the music industry, can be contacted at ronna@gacmusicbeat.com. Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service.)