You might find it surprising that one of music's brightest new stars once found it hard to fit in. Taylor Swift says growing up in Pennsylvania was not easy since no one wanted to be her friend. Only after her family moved to Nashville, Tennessee, was she able to be herself. She is on her first headlining tour to promote her second CD, Fearless.
Swift sold more records in 2008 than any other music performer. Selling 7 million albums is a career accomplishment very few artists can claim. Taylor achieved this milestone in only two years. She has written or co-written all of her songs, and now at age 19 is headlining one of the biggest concert tours of the year.
"It just makes me so happy. It makes me so happy to be out there knowing that every single person in the audience, you know, bought a ticket with my name on it."
When she was 14, Taylor's family moved from Pennsylvania to a suburb of Nashville, Tennessee, so she could be closer to the country music industry. She was signed to a publishing deal with Sony/ATV, making her one of the youngest writers they ever hired.
"I would write every single day after school. It was a job, you know. I was … I was a paid to be songwriter when I was 14."
Taylor's family videos were put to good use when she recorded "The Best Day," a song dedicated to her mother.
"My mom is very logical and very practical. She is always like, 'Do not, do not get too far ahead of yourself', you know, and, 'One step at a time,' and my dad is just going nuts [very excited] out here, like, handing out guitar picks. 'Hey I am Taylor's dad!,' 'Hey, good to meet you!', 'Hey, here is a guitar pick!'"
Her songs are autobiographical. Taylor credits not fitting in with classmates as one of the reasons for her success.
"I never would have wanted to leave Pennsylvania and move to Nashville had I been invited to all of the parties. In a way, you look back and you are like, 'Thanks guys!'"
Though seemingly wise beyond her years in terms of the music industry, Taylor struggles with the same issues as any other teenager.
Themes of unrequited love are prevalent in her songs. Because so much of her life is in her songs, she has advice for future boyfriends.
"The only thing that inspires me to where I can write so many songs about it is love. The beginnings of love, when it is all the butterflies [nervousness] and magic and stuff, and then the end of it, where you feel like you cannot get out of bed in the morning. That is what I love writing songs about.
"It is not like guys do not know what they are getting into. I have been very open and honest about it my entire career since I was 16 years old. It is like I write songs about real people. If we date, you are going to end up being a character. You can choose whether you are going to be a good character or a bad character. Choose wisely."
Choosing wisely also applies to role models. The headlines are full of musicians behaving badly. Taylor makes it a point to follow a different example.
"My role models are people like Garth Books and Faith Hill. I just love the fact that they are so nice to people, and they are so good to their fans. You know, you grow up and you have your favorite singers. Then when you meet all of them, that list kind of shifts to the people who are great people first and great musicians second. I have always aspired to be a great person first."
Another influence is Faith Hill's husband, Tim McGraw. Taylor's breakthrough single was titled "Tim McGraw," a song inspired by his music. She sang the song to him during the 2007 Academy of Country Music Awards show.