Music Article

Swift Kicks

Four stages of Taylor Swift's career -- The pop singer's beginning, breakthrough, and future in the business

Four stages of Taylor Swift's career

The Beginning
''I took my demo CDs of karaoke songs, where I sound like a chipmunk — it's pretty awesome — to Nashville, and my mom waited in the car while I knocked on doors up and down Music Row. I would say, 'Hi, I'm Taylor. I'm 11. I want a record deal. Call me.'''

The Setup
After losing the chipmunk vibe, Swift signed a development deal with RCA Records at 13 — but got out of it a year later, wary of being encouraged to record other writers' material. At 14, she became the youngest person to ever sign a songwriting deal with powerhouse Sony ATV Publishing.

The Breakthrough
Her first hit, 2006's ''Tim McGraw,'' memorialized a sweet romance with a senior who was going off to college. Fun fact: Their song (never actually named in Swift's lyrics) was McGraw's ''Can't Tell Me Nothin'.''

The Future
A recent co-write with Colbie Caillat, ''Breathe,'' will appear on Swift's sophomore album, due in late '08. A song she co-wrote with Kellie Pickler, ''The Best Days of Your Life,'' is set for Pickler's next effort.

Originally posted Feb 01, 2008 Published in issue #977 Feb 08, 2008 Order article reprints