The year was 2007. I was a newlywed, excited about the summer concert tickets we bought with friends. The tickets were good for 5 country concerts from huge names like Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, Toby Keith, Brooks and Dunn, Alan Jackson. The shows were at Sandstone Amphitheater, or whatever it was called in 2007, and while they were just lawn seats, we got admission 15 minutes before the general public.
The first show that May was Brad Paisley. We tailgated for a bit and then lined up at the back entrance. As our admittance time drew near I began plotting my strategy for getting the best possible seats. Our admission time passed and the gates remained closed. I had words with the security guard, concerned that others from the main entrance were ruining my strategic seating plan, and finally convinced him to let us in. As we entered, we noticed we were the only ones in the entire bowl…Except for the girl singing on stage.
Turns out everything was running behind, admittance time had been pushed back, and our security guard was clueless. We secured our seats in the front and center of the lawn and enjoyed our private show by the blonde performing her soundcheck. She was the opening act, some girl named Taylor Swift. I had heard of her; she had one or two singles that were doing well on the radio but that I didn’t love. As the night wore on and she gave her real performance I was captivated by her catchy songs, her witty lyrics, her humble stage presence. After her performance she signed autographs for anyone and everyone who wanted one. For the first time ever, after the show I went out and bought her CD. Every single song was good! I was so impressed that this 17-year-old had written a good chunk of those songs by herself. I told all my friends about her and declared myself a Taylor Swift fan.
Fast forward to now. EVERYONE knows who T-Sweezy is! She has grown from my little secret to a global superstar. And being a global superstar comes with criticism. Yes, Taylor Swift is a little boy crazy. No, she doesn’t have the best singing voice. I can’t defend some of her recent, super poppy radio singles. But let’s give credit where credit is due.
Taylor walked away from a record contract with RCA at the age of just 15 because they wouldn’t let her write her songs. She’s involved in nearly every aspect of putting her tours together. She got super famous when she was 17, but has gone nearly 7 years- the very 7 years when so many stars fall-without a single significant scandal. She has handled the few minor scandals she’s been a part of with grace uncommon for someone twice her age. Yes, she writes many songs about love but she also writes songs like Ronan, a 4-year-old who died from cancer. Taylor followed his mom’s blog and was so touched she wrote this song- I dare you to listen to it without crying. And she writes songs like The Best Day and Never Grow Up about the simple pleasures and memories and challenges of getting older. Many of her best songs are not singles. I do like some of her singles. Remember Our Song, her first #1? She wrote that for her freshman talent show…as in, she was 14-years-old. She is truly a genius songwriter.
Taylor Swift is the author of a generation. She is an immensely talented writer who can paint a picture with a few words. I have loved watching the way she has grown and managed her career over the years. I’ve seen her five times now and have walked away impressed each time. Each time I see her I can’t help but notice how my sister and I may be the only people there over age 18 without young children. I think her young fan base causes many to write her off as just another pop star- but take it from this 30-year-old unashamed fan…Taylor Swift is going to be around for a long time!