Skip to main content

Taylor Swift is one of the most famous singer-songwriters in the world. The 32-year-old has found major success by writing or co-writing every single song she’s ever released. Though the lion’s share of Swift’s musical catalog takes inspiration from her real-life experiences, some of her most recent work deviates from that formula. Swift’s albums folklore and evermore also feature songs about other characters, real and imagined. But why did Swift start writing songs to begin with?

singer songwriter Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift | Terry Wyatt/Getty Images

Taylor Swift felt confident that she would find success as a singer in Nashville

Swift knew that music was her path from a young age. Named after James Taylor, music was always an integral part of the Midnights artist’s life. At just 11, she convinced her parents to travel from her hometown in Pennslyvania to Nashville. Swift had learned that Faith Hill got her start in Music City and thought it would be a great way to launch her own career. So, for spring break, Swift traveled to Nashville with her big dreams and a demo CD.

The ‘Midnights’ artist pitched herself to record labels with a demo CD

“My mom and my little brother all went to Nashville and drove up and down Music Row,” Swift shared with Dateline. “My mom would stop in front of a record label. And I’d run in and hand my CD to the receptionist. And I’d be like, ‘Hi. I’m Taylor. I want a record deal. Call me.'”

Fortunately for Swift, most of the receptionists thought she was endearing because she was so young. In fact, her pluck eventually landed her a phone call from a record label. The “Blank Space” singer was told to keep at it. It was then that Swift decided to broaden her skill set and become more than just a singer.

Why Swift became a songwriter and musician in addition to a singer

“I think I got a call from someone, and they were like, ‘Just wanted to let you know we got your CD, and we wanted to say keep trying,’ Swift revealed. “That’s when I learned how to play guitar. And I started writing my own songs.”


Taylor Swift Designs Every Element of Her Tours

Once Swift began writing songs, she simply couldn’t stop. In fact, lyrics for songs like “Teardrops On My Guitar” would occasionally end up on her homework or in notebooks for school. “I would find time to write either in class, which you know, when the teachers would conduct random notebook checks, you can imagine their surprise when it’s algebra on this side of the page and ‘Drew looks at me’ on the other side of the page,” Swift added.

How did Swift get her big break?

Eventually, Swift was able to record a new demo CD filled with songs that she, herself, had written. This got the attention of RCA records, who offered Swift a developmental deal. However, after working with them for a year, Swift decided to walk away because the record label wanted to keep her in development. Not too long after, Swift would find the ticket to her success after doing a showcase at Bluebird Cafe in Nashville. Clearly, the advice given to her to keep going was not in vain. And Swift’s decision to learn guitar and start penning her own songs is likely one of the major reasons for her success.