Taylor Swift Aims True
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Taylor Swift is telling a story about her very first concert. It was LeAnn Rimes performing in Atlantic City, and Swift was eight years old. “I was totally freaked out,” she says of watching the country singer perform live. “Seeing this person who was my hero… it was just crazy.” The irony is that these same words are uttered by millions of fans around the world today about the 21-year-old singer-songwriter and Berks County native, who grew up on a tree farm in Wyomissing surrounded by gardens and all sorts of animals.
A Girl and Her Guitar
Brandishing a glittery guitar, those trademark tresses and innate musical talent, Swift has surpassed her childhood role model in a little more than a decade. To call her a star is no exaggeration: Swift is the youngest musician to ever win Album of the Year at the Grammys and has sold more than 20 million albums to date, as well as more than 33 million paid song downloads, making her the top-selling digital artist in music history. Her latest album, Speak Now, released last October and Swift’s third full-length CD, charted an unprecedented 11 songs from one album in a single week on the Billboard Hot 100. Offstage, Swift is a CoverGirl spokesmodel and has a starring role in the 2012 animated book adaptation of Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax.
Swift is calling from Nashville, the place she has lived since she was 14 and where, today, she is in the midst of a month of rehearsals for the US leg of her latest world tour. (Part of her rehearsal regimen is staying fit. “I have to work out all the time,” she says. “I really don’t like the running, but you’ve got to be prepared.”) The 78-show tour, which kicked off in May, will bring Swift back to the Keystone State on August 6 at Lincoln Financial Field. It’s just about the time of year that Swift, perhaps around the same age as when she attended that LeAnn Rimes concert, would have been splashing around the beach in Stone Harbor, where she vacationed with her parents growing up—and sang lots of karaoke.
“Before I started playing guitar, I would just practice my singing,” says Swift. “I’d sing the national anthem and karaoke to win opening spots for artists coming through the Roadhouse in Stroudsburg and bars in Stone Harbor. I’d karaoke anytime—I even had my own little machine I’d carry around with me.”
PHOTOGRAPHS BY JOSEPH ANTHONY BAKER