The Life and Legacy of Taylor Swift


Fan rendering from every episode of the Tik Tok series, Midnights Mayhem with Me

When you are young, they assume you know nothing. But, there is one group of fans who feel they know all about one thing; Taylor Swift. Taylor Swift is inarguably one of the biggest names in the music industry. Born in Reading, Pennsylvania in 1989, Swift rose to big heights very early on in her life. At just 16, she released her first song, Tim Mcgraw, which landed her on the Billboard Hot 100 for the first time. Fast forward 16 years later, and she´s occupied all 10 spots on the Billboard Top 10. To understand such a musically historic record, let’s dive further into how she got here.

On the evening of August 28, 2022, fans sat glued to the tv to see if Taylor was going to show up to the MTV Music Awards. With 6 nominations, the singer shows up on the red carpet. Almost immediately, fans started speculating that her outfit was an easter egg, a hidden meaning behind an object, for something soon to come. Her fan base, called Swifties, noticed her dress resembled that of the one she wore in the music video for ¨Look What You Made Me Do” off her 6th studio album, Reputation. A song that was rumored to be about Kanye West, with whom Swift had beef with since 2009. 

With said easter egg currently being investigated, two options were on the table; A rerecording or a new album. Only two rerecordings have been made public. Those being Fearless (Taylor´s Version) and Red (Taylor´s Version). The re recordings come after Scooter Braun, a big name in the industry, bought the masters to her music from her record label, Big Machine Records, for $300 million. Exerting ¨tyrannical control¨ over her music, Swift decided to cut ties and rerecord her 6 previous stolen albums. Her albums have changed and affected the lives of millions of people around the world. One Swiftie, Paige Watson, said, ¨Taylor Swift has greatly impacted my life. I grew up watching her grow, not only as an artist and performer, but a person.¨ When she released her album, Lover, and took a political stance for the first time in her career, my admiration for her grew significantly.  Taylor Swift, to me, is not only the music industry, but a role model whom i´ll follow for the rest of my life.¨ Lover, being her first album that she owned, had many tracks that talked about the current political climate. One being LGBTQ+ rights with the lyric, ¨Why are you mad when you can be GLAAD?” in which Tay seems to be urging the haters to literally become the LGBTQ media-watchdog organization. Celsey Johnson, another major Swiftie, said this about the singer, ¨I’ve been a fan of Taylor Swift for as long as I can remember. Some of my favorite moments are of me going to her concerts with my best friends or just singing her songs in the car with my mom and friends. Her music has always been my favorite. A time she has specifically impacted my life was in 2020 and she released her albums, Folklore and Evermore.” These albums released in the height of the Covid pandemic, soared on the charts, and Folklore landed Taylor her third win for Album of the Year at the Grammys. Johnson went on to say, ¨That was a rough time in my life and I lost a loved one that was very close to me. Folklore and Evermore helped me through a hard time and made me feel better and less alone. Ever since then, Taylor and her music has helped me through so much and brought so much joy to my life. My friends and I love to listen to her music and obsess over her together!¨ 

All of this landed her the nomination for her song, All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor´s Version) (From the Vault), in the category for Best Longform Video at the award show. There to present the award, a lifelong friend of Taylor´s, Nicki Minaj. Ecstatically, Minaj opened the enveloped, and just as every Swiftie held their breath, she screams ¨TAYLOR SWIFT.¨ With a smile from ear to ear, Taylor humbly accepted her award. Since the award is voted on by the fans, Taylor announced that since the fans were kind enough to gift her the award, she would gift back the announcement everyone was waiting for; her 10th studio album would be out October 21, 2022. She later posted and said ¨Meet Me at Midnight¨, a phrase that would become a motto for the entire album. As the clock struck 12, every fan rushed to Taylor´s instagram page. There, they would see a picture of Taylor holding a lighter, and in the caption, the announcement. The title of the album, Midnights, hinted at in the bio section of her page, and a quick insight into how the album came together. There, fans learned that the songs written for the album would each reflect 13 (a common number for Taylor) sleepless nights throughout her life.

Almost immediately after the announcement, fans began to dissect the short description for easter eggs. Speculation that the names of the songs were hidden within the statement began to grow, and fans began to give lists of what they thought the tracklist was. With these predictions, came rumored leaked tracklists. Swift, a cryptic and machiavellian artist, posted on the famous app Tik Tok and released her new series, Midnights Mayhem with Me, where she would spin an old fashioned bingo cage, and out would pop a ball with a number that related to the track numbers. With each episode, came a new title, and disproved fan leaks of the names. The first title, track 13, Mastermind, was announced exactly a month before the album would be released, September 21, 2022. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, a new title would be made public. As release date approached, leaks of the remaining tracks were being made public, and some were correct. To combat this, Swift released the remaining few tracks, one every hour, starting at midnight on October 7th. Fans were up until 5am to get every title as soon as it hit the internet. The last, and most anticipated track was track 4, Snow on the Beach. As Taylor took a brief breath, she put the phone back to her face, and announced that the track would feature one of Taylor’s favorite artists ever and a heavily favorited artist, Lana Del Rey. With this, fans went crazy and both fan bases were ecstatic that they got to see their favorite artists collaborate. 

As release day loomed, fans grew nervous for one of the biggest release days in 2022. When the clock struck 12 on October 21st, every fan ran to their respective streaming app and began listening. Spotify couldn’t handle the demand and ended up crashing within minutes of the release. When the problem was resolved, the album soon garnered millions of streams. A mere 18 hours later, the streaming site revealed the album would beat the record for most streamed album in a single day, beating Bad Bunny´s ¨Un Verano Sin Ti,¨ with 183 million streams, and the day wasn’t even over. As the days passed, the album beat the record for the second day too. The next week, fans were eager to see the Billboard charts to see if Taylor could make history by occupying every spot in the top 10. On Halloween, we learned that history was in fact made. Taylor Swift became the first artist to ever hold every single spot on the chart, beating out Drake, who previously held the record with nine. Leading the pack was the lead single, Anti-Hero, which claimed the #1 spot for two weeks. 

Now, almost a month after release date, the album is still garnering millions of streams daily. Swift soon announced her Eras Tour, a tour that would take us on a journey throughout her discography. With her fame and success, it was almost certain the tour was going to be one of the biggest. 

As we creep up on the present, she still is widely recognized as the music industry by millions. At the young age of 32, Swift has a long road of success ahead of her. Being known as one of the biggest stars of all time comes with its rewards. With rumors of her 13th album, a rerecording of Speak Now, being in the works, it´ll leave fan speculation for weeks for what’s to come.