She holds the record for the most Top 10 debuts in the history of its Hot 100.At a time when the music industry is notoriously in disarray, Swift is selling albums like it’s 1979. She’s been called “America’s Sweetheart”: she rarely drinks, doesn’t smoke, go clubbing, or get arrested—she’s the anti-Lohan, and this squeaky-clean image has made her an attractive advertising partner for Target, Sony, Cover Girl, Keds, Elizabeth Arden, and, recently, Diet Coke.“I have to work really hard to get the record deal—I have to spend years at it to get good. I have to write 100 songs before you write the first good one.”Her determination has paid off.
The bio Swift’s publicist had sent me was adorkable too: “Hi, I’m Taylor. I was born in December on a Christmas tree farm”—actually a hospital, in Reading, Pennsylvania, in 1989.Swift spent her early childhood on a Christmas-tree farm in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, in a picturesque house owned by her parents, Andrea, who had worked in finance, and Scott, then a stockbroker with Merrill Lynch.“It just looked so grown-up.”Her bodyguard, a stalwart Tennessean, rode up with us in the elevator; he’d been following us in his car. “It’s because of the guys who write and say they want to chain me up in their basements,” she said. Her foyer is covered with frames of brightly colored paper flowers; inside, you’re greeted by a six-foot topiary rabbit.“One was in California and drove all the way to Nashville and tried to get into this building.”The moment you walk into Swift’s giant penthouse, you know she isn’t faking it with all those love songs about high-school heartbreak and dreaming of the perfect guy. There are antique birdcages everywhere and mobs of crocheted throw pillows.Swift, who had also lost that night, for best original song (she was nominated along with John Paul White, Joy Williams, and T Bone Burnett for “Safe and Sound,” from ), to Adele (who won for “Skyfall,” from the James Bond film), was in the ladies’ room at the time. Down a long hallway decorated with hanging guitars and a neon picture of Dolly Parton was the large garage-like space where Swift was practicing the song “I Knew You Were Trouble”—No.
So she didn’t hear the sound of everybody who was anybody in Hollywood laughing at her for allegedly having her heart broken all over again. 2 that week on the Billboard Hot 100—with her six-piece band.She was wearing salmon corduroys, a pale-pink button-down, black socks, and frumpy lace-up shoes.Swift cultivates a gawky adorkability in her music videos, in which she often plays the unloved girl alone in her room pining over the cute guy.There’s a koi pond in the middle of the living room, whose 20-foot windows look to the Great Smoky Mountains beyond Nashville.“Meredith is scared of the fish,” Swift said.Meredith was the little Scottish Fold (named after Meredith Grey on (2005), by Elizabeth Lesser.“I have no social life,” she told me as she gave the tour. Along the stairwell leading up to her apartment’s second level, where she keeps her gleaming 1913 Steinway piano, were framed photographs of Swift with her inner circle: actresses Emma Stone and Selena Gomez; Caitlin Evanson, the fiddle player in her band; Hayley Williams, of the indie band Paramore.“Everyone’s getting a little loose now that we’re all losers,” Poehler joked. “I’m glad we got you through middle school.” The camera cut to Dunham shaking with laughter and clutching her gold statuette.