There’s no denying it: in her short 31-years living on this Earth, Taylor Swift has led quite a remarkable life. The singer-songwriter’s impressive laundry list of accomplishments gives many reasons for celebration on her 31st birthday. As a way to say Happy Birthday to the superstar, we’re looking back at some of her best moments throughout her career.
At 16, Taylor Swift Releases ‘Tim McGraw’
Before Swift graduated high school, she released her debut single “Tim McGraw.” Swift has previously said she wrote the song during her high school math class. Little did Swift know, the wildly successful track would be the catalyst to kick start her worldwide fame. In an interview about the track, Swift described her process of creating the tune. “The song means so much to me and that’s why we wanted it to be the first track on the album.”
Teenage girls and many others around the country would quickly take note of the catchy song. The song’s theme of a girl’s broken heart paired with a summer romance makes the record entirely relatable for any high school girl.
After Swift finished school for the day, she recorded a voice memo about the song. That same day Swift sat down with her co-writer, and together, they finished the song in 15 minutes.
“I wrote the song in my freshman year of high school. I was dating a guy who was about to go off to college and I knew we were going to break up so I started thinking of all the things that I knew would remind him of me. Surprisingly, the first thing that came to mind was that my favorite country artist is Tim McGraw.”
Taylor Swift makes her Saturday Night Live Debut
Less than a year before hosting the popular sketch-comedy show for the first time, 19-year-old Taylor Swift appeared on Saturday Night Live for the first time as the musical guest. She performed her hit “Love Story,” as well as “Forever & Always.”
In Jan 2009, Swift made her first appearance as an SNL host. She was also the first host to write their own monologue. Entertainment Weekly described Swift as “this season’s best Saturday Night Live host so far,” noting she “was always up for the challenge, seemed to be having fun, and helped the rest of the cast nail the punchlines.”
You might also remember the hilarious sketch she shared with Jimmy Fallon when Swift returned to the SNL stage in 2014. Both Fallon and Swift play teenage girls and crack us up by saying, “Ew!”
Swift takes home ACM’s Milestone Award
In 2015, the Academy of Country Music awarded Taylor Swift with their 50th-anniversary Milestone Award for being the youngest ACM entertainer of the year. To add to the emotion of the moment, her mom got to present Swift with the award.
Before that night, Swift recently revealed that her mom was diagnosed with cancer. The moment shared between Swift, and her mom was powerful as well as bittersweet.
However, before the ACM awarded Swift with the Milestone Award, Swift had already taken home several ACM awards in the years leading up to that night. Even though she was making her departure from country music with the release of her pop album 1989, the country music community continued to embrace Swift.
Taylor Swift Voices her Political Opinion
In her early career, Taylor Swift refrained from revealing her opinion on politics. During the 2018 midterm elections, Swift took a public political stance when she endorsed Phil Bredesen, the Democratic candidate for Senate in Swift’s home state of Tennessee. Swift took to Instagram to announce who she would support, making this her first official endorsement.
“In the past I’ve been reluctant to publicly voice my political opinions, but due to several events in my life and in the world in the past two years, I feel very differently about that now,” she wrote.
Since then, Swift’s been more active in the political world.
“I believe in the fight for LGBTQ rights, and that any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender is WRONG. I believe that the systemic racism we still see in this country towards people of color is terrifying, sickening and prevalent,” she continued.
During her Netflix documentary Miss Americana, Swift described her decision not to support her home state’s Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn. “I can’t see another commercial with her disguising these policies behind the words’ Tennessee Christian values.’ I live in Tennessee. I am Christian. That’s not what we stand for.”
Following Bredesen’s loss in the 2018 midterms, Swift put her political frustration to good use when she released her anthem, “Only The Young.” In an interview, Swift said, “I wrote it after the midterm elections, when there were so many young people who rallied for their candidate, whether it was a senator or congressman or congresswoman…. I was really upset about Tennessee going the way that it did, obviously. And so I just wanted to write a song about it.”
Taylor Swift’s Speech at the 2016 Grammys
At the 2016 Grammy Awards, Taylor Swift was the first woman ever to win album of the year two times. During her acceptance speech, she used the moment to make a powerful statement.
“As the first woman to win album of the year twice, I want to say to all the young women out there, there are going to be people along the way who will try to undercut your success or take credit for your accomplishments or you fame,” she said.
“But if you just focus on the work, and you don’t let those people sidetrack you, someday when you get where you are going, you will look around and you will know that it was you and the people who love you that put you there and that will be the greatest feeling in the world.”
Speaking directly to women, Swift took a moment to remind women that they should never let another person take credit for their hard work. Many theorize this speech was a not so nice nod to the ongoing feud between Swift and Kanye West. West had a song called “Famous” on his album The Life of Pablo where he raps that he “made Swift famous.”