Taylor Swift:
The Story of Her


It's Taylor! Hi!
An introduction

Who is a Swiftie? Someone who knows most of Taylor's songs? Or someone who can recognize the song just listening to its opening seconds? It is too early to clear that doubt, but there's no denying how the singer's tunes have grown on to influence a generation. Taylor Swift's songs have entertained and moved people and crossed boundaries, committed in telling her life story in ways that feel true and instantly accessible.

Yet, when she stepped on to the stage again last month after she won her 13th Grammy in the Best Pop Vocal Album category for Midnights, few could have anticipated what was in store. Many thought that she would announce the release of Reputation (Taylor’s Version), but one can always count on Taylor to defy expectations, to always step higher than imagined. "My brand-new album comes out April 19th,” she revealed during her acceptance speech. “It’s called The Tortured Poets Department. I’m going to go and post the cover right now backstage.”

It is this dizzying excitement which Taylor brings to her audience, as well as to her influence that has made her achieve such an extraordinary trajectory. Perhaps the influence was always present in her, observing her maternal grandmother as a child. She was an opera singer in Singapore and Puerto Rico, who also performed in operas including The Barber of Seville and West Side Story.

Taylor knows the hard work and commitment that has helped her in this journey. Her accomplishments might seem immeasurable now, but she started small too. Her family moved to Nashville, Tennessee, so that Taylor could devote her time towards her music and fulfil her dream of becoming a country music artist. Taylor told Entertainment Weekly in 2008, "My mom waited in the car with my little brother while I knocked on doors up and down Music Row. I would say, 'Hi, I'm Taylor. I'm 11. I wanted a record deal — call me.'


What are her words worth?
About her music

Much has been said about Taylor Swift's music, and how it is about her highly publicised relationships. Yet, there's no denying the singer-songwriter's prolific grasp over the compulsion to talk about feelings of hurt, yearning, love, excitement and above all- the subjectivity of lived-in experiences. Given her catalog of 225-plus songs, there's no line that can clearly define the decades-long work of an artist to one demographic sentence. 

Take it from the words of the singer herself. Speaking to NPR in an interview from 2014, Taylor said, "I wrote my first album when I was 14 and 15, so now we're going on 10 years of making albums right now. The formula has never changed, in that I try to make an album that best represents the last two years of my life. People have essentially gotten to read my diary for the last 10 years."

There's always a Taylor Swift song for an occasion. Where do we start? Quietly nurturing yourself back from a soul crushing heartbreak? All Too Well is there for you. Missing your grandparents on a particular family holiday, and there's Marjorie. Trying to accept a bitter end to a relationship and making small steps to move on? There's 'I Forgot That You Existed.' Grappling with anxiety over a situation that only you feel? There's Out of the Woods to comfort. It's somehow both an experience and a startling sense of intimacy in acknowledging that here is a singer who has helped us feel less alone in what we're going through. Her lines resonate far and wide into the depths of human experiences.

Recently, Stevie Nicks praised Taylor Swift for her song You're On Your Kid from Midnights, and said how it helped her cope the loss of her bandmate Christina McVie.

At best, Swift wears her heart on her sleeve with her words, unabashedly curious about the things she loves and cares for. There's dramatic tension in the way she builds her declarations and romantic concerns, quietly building mature observations on how things became the way they are. There's always self-awareness and allowance for improvement in the background, but rarely a loud denouement in her songs. Through her music, she gives us something to love and think about the idea of loving itself- sharing her emotions in a grand, echo-drenched exercise.

Taylor Swift creating music in her studio for the Folklore album.

Taylor Swift creating music in her studio for the Folklore album.


So many fade, but she's still here
The eras, the hits

But when did Taylor Swift become Taylor Swift? With each album over the years, the singer has grown bigger and bigger, critically, commercially and above all, as part of the cultural fabric of her generation. If you trace back to the first self-titled album Taylor Swift, take note of the wistful storytelling in Teardrops in My Guitar. The lead single from Swift's 2006 self-titled debut album, Tim McGraw became her first Billboard Hot 100 chart entry.

Then, bang! It was 2008, and the singer broke out with her sophomore album Fearless. The album, shifted its way through a refined pop sensibility, immediately opened at number one on the Billboard 200 chart. Her singles such as You Belong With Me and Love Story became instant hits, and the singer found herself on the Grammys stage, winning Album of the Year.

Her third album, Speak Now (2010) was a continuation of the promise, peppered with her frankness to talk honestly about her romantic life, with a much deeper perspective on the subject. She won Best Country Solo Performance and Best Country Song for Mean at the Grammys. Her next album was Red (2012), also introduced a deeper sense of connection with her fans, where the singer even left capitalizations in the printed lyrics of her songs that directed at a widely popular guessing game on the origin of that song, and any further association with her relationships. The lead single We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together became a chartbuster in no time.

Swift released 1989, an album titled after the year of her birth, in 2014. A definitive album in her career, 1989 was all about self-discovery, long-lost love, revelations and living in the moment. 1989 went on to earn the singer her second Album of the Year win.

With 15 tracks, Taylor returned with her sixth album Reputation, changing moods from loverlorn artist to a sure-footed defiance unseen in her previous work. ...Ready for it? was the first song, and introduced the new era of the singer in thumping energy. “Don’t blame me, love made me crazy / if it doesn’t you ain’t doin’ it right,” she sang in the track Don't Blame Me, which perhaps best describes the clapback attitude mixed with a little vulnerability added in.

Then, in 2018 Swift left Big Machine and signed with Republic Records and Universal Music Group. This lead to a historic re-recording of her earlier albums with several previously unreleased tracks.

Lover, peppered with upbeat tunes, and laced with the delightful frenzy of bubble-gum pink aesthetic, marked the singer's stunning return to roots. In the September 2019 issue of Vogue, Taylor Swift described Lover as a "love letter to love, in all of its maddening, passionate, exciting, enchanting, horrific, tragic, wonderful glory". She was happy and in a healthy relationship with Joe Alwyn, and her songs hit the mark more than ever. For instance, the bridge of Cruel Summer is an all timer, and who can forget the delicious cheekiness that rounded off her track 'I Think He Knows'?

The year was 2020 and the global pandemic had prevented any possibility of a Lover Tour. But did anyone expect when she released her eighth studio album on fine July morning, Folklore. Fans had a meltdown. Writing on Instagram, Swift said: “Most of the things I had planned this summer didn’t end up happening, but there is something I hadn’t planned on that DID happen.”

Designed with The National’s Aaron Dessner, the album was like a sweeping treasure trove of wanderlust and nostalgia, bound together with the singer's unmatched talent at storytelling.

Even before fans had the chance to go through all the songs of Folklore to relish its charm, the singer dropped Evermore, and together, both these albums are like twin sisters, helping each other find light at the end of a wonderland. Laced with deceptively intelligent layers of introspection and depth, this was an album circling around themes of memory, independence and transformative power of love.

The queen was back in her pop seat with Midnights, which she announced at the 2022 MTV Video Music Awards. Midnights finds that deep balance within the middle-of-the-night thoughts and unexpected triumphs. From the brute curiosity in Question...? to the jittery carelessness in Maroon and that late self-scathing entry with the sensational Anti-Hero, this was Swift operating on a level like never before. “It’s me / Hi / I’m the problem, it’s me." quickly became her Instagram bio, and so did ours.

Her next album is The Tortured Poets Department and will release in April, 2024.

A Timeline of Eras


Best believe she's still bejewelled
Records broken, awards won

Item 1 of 4

Taylor Swift reigns supreme when it comes to breaking records. Take a note of the last few records for an overview. 

The singer has broken her own record of the most streamed artist in a day with her new album, as per a statement by Spotify. Her new Vault track Slut! (Taylor’s Version) debuted in the US at No. 1 with 5.2 million streams, and globally with 11.3 million. On the global chart, a non-Vault track, Style (Taylor’s Version), inched slightly ahead of Slut!, debuting with 11.6 million streams.

2023 was also a milestone year for Taylor Swift. The re-release of Speak Now (Taylor's Version), her third album that originally debuted in 2010, clinched the number one spot on the Billboard 200 chart in July. 

Her 12th album, Speak Now (Taylor's Version) went on to debut at number one and broke the record for most number one albums by a female artist in history - a record which was previously held by Barbara Streisand. Speak Now (Taylor's Version) also occupied the top spot with her three other albums: Midnights, Lover, and Folklore, in Billboard 200 chart's Top 10. This was a record which was previously held by Prince and The Beatles. This made her first woman with four albums in Billboard chart top 10 at the same time.

Three of her songs- I Can See You, Cruel Summer, and Karma occupied the Billboard Hot 100's top 10 at once. She also became the first woman with new number one albums in five consecutive years, with Lover (2019), Folklore and Evermore (both 2020), Fearless (Taylor's Version, 2021), Red (Taylor's Version, 2022), Midnights (2022), and Speak Now (Taylor's Version, 2023).

Moreover, the opening night of her Eras Tour in Glendale, Arizona, was attended by a crowd of 69,000 fans, which went on to set a record for the most attended US concert by a female artist, as per Capital FM.

Over the years, Taylor has broken a number of records. The most memorable being when Taylor became the youngest person to receive a Grammy Award for Album of the Year at the age of 20 for her second album Fearless. 


Cash ain't the only prize
But how rich is she really?

In October 2023, Forbes reported that Taylor Swift is now worth an estimated $1.1 billion. The report stated that the 34-year old singer added $190 million after taxes from the first leg of the Eras tour and another $35 million from the first two weeks of screenings of Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour movie.

Moreover, she added more than $500 million to her fortune from music royalties and touring. Another $500 million arrived from the rising value of her music catalog, and she has $125 million in real estate, that includes six homes and a $10 million private plane.

Alex Heiche, the founder and CEO of Sound Royalties, said that Taylor's catalog “is a testament to the exceptional reach and impact an artist can achieve. Her music not only transcends borders but also defies the challenges faced by creatives in the streaming era."


Dancing in her best dress, fearless
The Eras Tour

The Eras Tour, is one of the biggest music tours by any singer, ever. Charting Taylor’s journey through her 10 eras (or albums), it has been credited with giving a much needed boost to the American economy in 2023. It goes on for 3 hours with Taylor singing and dancing through multiple costume changes, acoustic sets, rainstorms and more. So far, Taylor has performed in North and South America. 

The tour, which will continue in 2024 across Asia, Australia, Europe and the U.S., is on track to become the highest-grossing tour in world history. It made about $900 million of revenue in 2023, and pulls in about $14 million per show.

Demand for the U.S. stadium tour surged so much last year that resale prices reached as high as $28,000 per ticket, prompting lawsuits and a federal investigation into how online sales were conducted. The tour also spawned a movie Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour that provided a welcome jolt to cinemas facing a lackluster autumn slate. There's even a comic book devoted to Swift.


Another day another drama, drama
The Controversies

Kanye West snatches the mic from Taylor Swift at the 2009 VMAs.

Kanye West snatches the mic from Taylor Swift at the 2009 VMAs.

Look What You Made Her Do
The Kanye-Kim feud

It all started when 19-year-old Taylor Swift won the award for the Best Female Video for You Belong With Me. The win was big for the singer who was competing against fellow icons Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Katy Perry, Pink and Kelly Clarkson.

Just as she took the stage in a sparkling silver gown, accepting the prize and sharing what an honour it was to win a pop-music VMA as a country singer, rapper Kanye West snatched the microphone and said: “I’ma let you finish, but Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time!”

Everyone thought things were alright between them when at the 2015 VMAs, she presented Kanye with a lifetime achievement award.

However, just the next year in 2016, Kanye release his infamous song Famous. A portion of the lyrics went, "I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex, why? / I made that b— famous.” Taylor wasn't happy and at the Grammys that year, she brought up those trying to take credit for someone else's success.

That's where Kanye's now ex-wife Kim Kardashian comes in. In the summer of 2016, Kim Kardashian said in a GQ interview, that Taylor had “totally approved” of the controversial lyrics. She even released a video of them taking Taylor's approval over a phone call. This launched a brutal online attack on Taylor, with many calling her a liar and bombarding her Instagram with snake emojis.

Taylor released a final word on the matter saying, "Being falsely painted as a liar when I was never given the full story or played any part of the song is character assassination. I would very much like to be excluded from this narrative, one that I have never asked to be part of, since 2009." Then, she dropped Reputation.

Catharsis came in the form of an unedited, 25-minute version of Taylor Swift and Kanye West’s phone call that Kim Kardashian posted years before, was leaked online in early 2020.

In the video, Kanye shares a planned lyric along the lines of “I made her famous,” but neglects the “b—” reference that ended up in the final song. In fact, in unedited phone call, Taylor even appears to be happy that Kanye doesn’t use such language: “I thought it was going to be like, ‘That stupid, dumb bitch.’ But it’s not,” she is heard saying.

Taylor Swift on the promotional artwork for Red (Taylor's Version).

Taylor Swift on the promotional artwork for Red (Taylor's Version).

Stolen Lullabies
Scooter Braun's betrayal and the re-recordings

This story started in June 2019, when music manager Scooter Braun acquired Taylor's old recording company, Big Machine Label, which included the master copies for Taylor's first six albums. Masters are the original recording of the songs. So, that meant Scooter owned Taylor's music. 

Now, when Taylor joined hands with Republic Records in 2018, she had to leave the masters of her first five albums behind with Big Machine Label. Then in November 2020, there were reports that Scooter sold her master copies to an investment fund named Shamrock Foldings. Taylor then opened up that her team had attempted to talk with Scooter, but he would go into further negotiations only if she signed an NDA, which would prevent her to even mention him. The singer wrote in detail about this in a X post.

Later in February 2021, Taylor announced the re-release of her track Love Story with a detailed note on her decision to remix her work from scratch. She said, "I've spoken a lot about why I'm remaking my first six albums but the way I have chosen to do this will hopefully help illuminate where I'm coming from. Artists should own their own work for so many reasons. But the most screamingly obvious one is that the artist is the only one who really knows that body of work.” 

Taylor then went on to release Red (Taylor's Version) in November 2021, which had the 10 minute version of All Too Well. The rest is history- as All Too Well went on to break all existing streaming records, by becoming the most-streamed album in a day by a female and in Spotify history. Speak Now (Taylor's Version) released on July 7, 2023. A re-recording for Reputation (Taylor's Version) is highly anticipated.


When everyone believes ya, what's that like?
The Sexual Assault Lawsuit

Taylor Swift (extreme right) on the cover of Time Magazine December 2017 edition.

Taylor Swift (extreme right) on the cover of Time Magazine December 2017 edition.

In 2017, Taylor Swift won her trial against Colorado radio personality David Mueller after a jury found that the former DJ assaulted and battered the pop star by groping her bare bottom, and awarded her the symbolic $1 in damages she had sought.

The jury also rejected claims by Mueller that members of Swift’s management team - her mother and a radio station liaison - got him fired from his “dream job” as a DJ by making false accusations.

Taylor was firm on the witness stand, saying that there was no question in her mind that David had intentionally slipped his hand under her skirt to clutch her bare bottom. Her attorney said during his closing remarks that Swift was seeking only $1 in damages because she had no desire to bankrupt Mueller, but only wanted to send a message.

“I acknowledge the privilege that I benefit from in life, in society and in my ability to shoulder the enormous cost of defending myself in a trial like this,” the singer said in a statement released immediately following the verdicts.

The case also got her featured on the Time Magazine as one of the women who became voices of the MeToo movement.


It's nice to have a friend
The BFFs

Sophie Turner

Emma Stone

Gigi Hadid

Blake Lively

Selena Gomez

Not just for her music, Taylor Swift is also the subject of everyone's envy for her 'squad' of stunning friends. Taylor has been collecting supermodels, actors, fellow singers as her BFFs like Infinity Stones for years now.

Strutting along the streets of New York in her most fashionable outfits, she is often spotted with Selena Gomez, Blake Lively, Gigi Hadid, Cara Delevingne and most recently, with Sophie Turner.

Of course, the squad is always on the shuffle with new faces joining every year. It included supermodel Karlie Kloss once, before they had a falling out.

Apart from these, Taylor is also friends with Emma Stone, Beyonce, the Haim Sisters, Ed Sheeran, Jack Antonoff, Ice Spice and Nicki Minaj.


Miss Americana and the Heartbreak Princes
Swift's dating history

Taylor Swift gets a lot of unwanted attention for dating celebrities and writing songs about them. Yet, it is undeniable how the singer has churned out some of her best songs because of her openness to share about her romantic life, and famous exes. Ask any Taylor Swift fan and they will tell you exactly which song is about whom!

July 2008 to October 2008: Joe Jonas
Songs: Forever and Always, Better than Revenge, Holy Ground, Mr Perfectly Fine

Taylor and Joe Jonas barely dated but what was more dramatic about their relationship was the fact that Joe decided to end things on a phone call. Remember the time the singer went on The Ellen Degeneres show and said nonchalantly, “When I find that person who is right for me, he’ll be wonderful, and when I look at that person, I’m not even gonna be able to remember the boy who broke up with me over the phone in 25 seconds when I was 18.”

Then again, in 2009, she mentioned their breakup in her Saturday Night Live opening monologue: “You might think I’d bring up Joe, that guy who broke up with me on the phone. But I’m not going to mention him in my monologue. Hey, Joe! I’m doing real well and I’m hosting SNL—but I’m not going to write about that in my monologue.”

But let's not forget the picture that broke the internet last year, where Taylor locked arms with Sophie Turner, weeks after the British actor split with Joe after six years of marriage.

March 2009 to April 2009: Lucas Till
Song: You Belong With Me

Lucas was the guy in Taylor's music video for You Belong With Me, and apparently they dated for a brief period.

Fall 2009: Taylor Lautner
Song: Back to December

Taylor and Taylor were a thing when the duo fell for each other while filming Valentine's Day, and they were called 'Taylor Squared' by fans. The actor has since mentioned a cordial bond with the singer following their split and have been friends. Most recently, the Twilight star joined her on stage at her Eras Tour as the singer debuted her new music video for I Can See You, in which he had a cameo.

December 2009 to February 2010: John Mayer
Songs: Dear John, The Story of Us

Is there anyone who doesn't remember the drama surrounding this episode? Their breakup was a disaster, given John's messy reaction to Dear John, where he told Rolling Stone in 2012: "I never got an email. I never got a phone call. I was really caught off guard, and it really humiliated me at a time when I'd already been dressed down. I mean, how would you feel if at the lowest you've ever been, someone kicked you even lower?" Ouch!

October 2010 to January 2011: Jake Gyllenhaal
Songs: All Too Well, All Too Well (10 minute version), We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together

Then there's all the drama surrounding Jake Gyllenhaal, that found new life when Taylor released a 10-minute version of All Too Well in 2022. The internet broke. Records were set. On top of that, it came with a no holds barred music video, which gave fans a peak into the troubled relationship she shared with the actor during her formative years. The devil was in the details. “And I was never good at telling jokes but the punch line goes / I’ll get older but your lovers stay my age,” she sang. The fan reaction was so intense that Jake even disabled his comments section on Instagram.

November 2012 to January 2013: Harry Styles
Songs: Style, Out of the Woods

Taylor and Harry, but well, Haylor ship remember? Is it out of the woods? The relationship that seemed to occupy media attention much longer than the actual relationship lasted, first broke out when both were photographed strolling around the Central Park Zoo. Things ended soon, but not without consequences. Taylor roasted Harry with an English accent during her 2013 Grammys performance. The ex lovers sent fans into a frenzy years later when they reunited at the Grammys in 2021 and 2023.

February 2015 to May 2016: Calvin Harris
Song: High Fidelity

Who remembers the good ol' time when Taylor went public with her romance with Calvin Harris at the 2015 Billboard Music Awards and social media went into a collective breakdown? Yeah. But also the troublesome breakup that followed a few months later, when Calvin ended things and even suggested that she was not faithful during the course of their relationship.

May 2016 to September 2016: Tom Hiddleston
Song: Midnight Rain, Getaway Car

Tom Hiddleston takes the cake when it comes to showing off what a big fan of the singer he himself is, wearing that 'I love TS' shirt on the beach. No one was complaining, either. The duo hit rock bottom a couple of months later, and Taylor gave more than just a peak about their dynamic in the song Midnight Rain.

May 2017 to April 2023: Joe Alwyn
Song(s): Delicate, Dress, Cruel Summer, I Think He Knows, Gorgeous, London Boy, You're losing me, Call It What You Want, Lover, Peace, Invisible String

Are we ready for all the memories of sweet old Lover era? Not really. Taylor and Joe dated for the longest, and even made countless songs together. They both met at the Met Gala (!) and went public in an Ed Sheeran concert. Later around March 2018, she even wore his initials around her neck. More appearances followed until things came to a halt last year. Sources said that the romance had exhausted itself over the years.

May 2023 to June 2023: Matty Healy

Short and best forgotten would rather be a suitable description for fans to recall that Taylor was linked to The 1975 frontsman for a few months. Soon, Matty made racist remarks on Taylor's friend Ice Spice, leading to fan outrage and the duo called it quits in the weeks that followed.

From July 2023 : Travis Kelce

Current dating era keeps on giving, as fans will tell. Taylor and Travis caught widespread media attention earlier last year when the singer attended the NFL player's game at Kansas City. "This all started when Travis very adorably put me on blast on his podcast, which I thought was metal as hell," Taylor said in an interview later. From hereon, things have only got cheesier and cuter. Cut back to a few weeks ago, where the love birds were caught enjoying each other's company on the dance floor after the game and ringing in New Year with a sweet kiss.

Taylor Swift and Joe Jonas.

Taylor Swift and Joe Jonas.

Taylor Swift and Taylor Lautner.

Taylor Swift and Taylor Lautner.

Taylor Swift and John Mayer.

Taylor Swift and John Mayer.

Taylor Swift and Harry Styles.

Taylor Swift and Harry Styles.

Taylor Swift and Calvin Harris.

Taylor Swift and Calvin Harris.

Taylor Swift and Tom Hiddleston.

Taylor Swift and Tom Hiddleston.

Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn.

Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn.

Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce.

Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce.