We’ve seen Taylor Swift grow up right before our eyes. And we’ve all grown up along with her. As she evolved from the bright-eyed, curly-haired teenager singing her country tunes in Bluebird Café to one of the biggest pop stars on the planet, we’ve gone through our adolescence with her discography as the soundtracks of our lives.
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I remember listening to “Fearless” and “Love Story” and instantly becoming a hopeless romantic as an eight-year-old. I remember my middle school guidance counselor handing us the lyrics to “Mean” as an anti-bullying brochure. I remember making a parody and filming a music video to “22” for my seventh-grade health class. I remember listening to the entirety of Lover for the first time with my best friend, just driving around aimlessly until the album ended.
I could go on and list hundreds of accolades of why, statistically, Taylor Swift is the artist of the decade – but that’s not what’s important. Taylor Swift is the artist of the decade because her music will never go out of style. Like she said in her speech, all anyone wants to do in life is create something that lasts. Swift was amazed by Carole King, who presented her with the award, as an artist who could “transcend so many different phases and changes in peoples’ lives.” That’s what makes a great artist. And that’s exactly what Taylor Swift does.
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Besides her music, Taylor is a true artist because she cares about people. She credits her career to her fans, the ones who have supported her from the beginning. Never once does she claim that she has gotten where she is by herself, even though she should give herself some credit. During her speech, she spent the first half praising Carole King, and the second half praising the fans. And every other moment she was onstage to accept her five other awards, becoming the most awarded artist in AMA’s history, she thanked the fans and counted her blessings.
Amidst the toughest time in her career where her life’s catalog is owned by two men (who did not contribute to the making of the art at all), she holds herself with such poise and grace. After departing from Big Machine Records, founder Scott Borchetta sold Taylor’s life catalog to Scooter Braun, who is known for managing artists such as Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande. Last week, Taylor asked the public for help to gain the rights to perform the songs that she wrote during her AMA’s performance. Rather than call them out on national television, she said everything she needed to say without actually saying it.
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Taylor began her medley of her greatest hits with a snippet of “The Man,” one of my personal favorites off of Lover. While singing about how different the narrative would be if she was a man, Taylor donned a white button-up shirt with her first six albums written across it like a mugshot as Big Machine holds them hostage. If a man talks shit, you really owe him nothing.
A career like Taylor Swift’s is unprecedented. She has created seven studio albums spanning over a decade… and she’s not even thirty. You may love her or you may hate her, but there’s no denying Taylor Swift’s powerful impact in the music industry.