”I love turning on pop radio and hearing my song,” allows Taylor Swift, the 18-year-old country music sensation. ”But,” she adds, mindful of her base, ”I don’t look at it as crossover as much as spillover.”
Her cup definitely runneth over. In 2007, Swift’s debut album was one of the top 10 all-genre SoundScan sellers. And all those sales came in while a lot of non-country-lovers had yet to hear of her…or, if they had, were still asking, ”Taylor Swift? Who’s he?” She’s harder to escape now: Besides several smash hits at country radio, she’s moved into the upper levels of the Top 40 format with a remix of her heartbreak ballad ”Teardrops on My Guitar.” (In recent years, only Carrie Underwood, with ”Before He Cheats,” has successfully managed that leap.) MTV is even playing it. And since the album has such legs, it’s a good bet to cross the triple-platinum mark, almost unheard of in this era of plunging record sales. She’s got to be the most popular high school senior in America right now. So: teardrops, schmeardrops… Did being 18 ever suck any less?
But she wasn’t always the belle of the ball, personally or professionally; those rejection anthems she’s so adept at writing weren’t penned purely as fiction. We profiled the rising siren in this week’s issue of EW. But for this exclusive EW.com bonus feature, we also talked with some of the people who were with her on the way up, including her mother, manager, and label president, to find out some of the strategizing that went into achieving one of the last year’s few true musical success stories.
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