Why I Love Taylor Swift
I never thought that I'd be blogging about why I like Taylor Swift. It's not her music; although, she does have some catchy pop tunes. I'm not really her audience. But, in the popular culture world, Taylor Swift seems like a young woman that any parent of pre-pubescent girls could love.
Admittedly, I didn't know much about Taylor Swift the person until I saw her interviewed by Leslie Stahl on "60 Minutes" last night -- a totally appropriate show for someone in my age-group. Now, I've heard many of Taylor Swift's songs and I can see why young girls flock to her performances -- she's channeling the angst of unrequited love, pre-teen crushes, mean people and all things romantic. While Katy Perry is singing pop anthems to a parent's worst nightmare -- doing shots on Friday night until you're so drunk that you don't remember what you did, but you can't wait to do it again -- Taylor, bless her heart, is writing songs about the smart girl who is pining for the guy who likes the hot cheerleader. (Although I think Katy Perry's latest hit "The One That Got Away" is channeling her inner Taylor Swift.)
Which brings me to one of the things that I like about Taylor. She writes her own songs and, despite pressure to do otherwise, stays true to what she wants to write about -- those things that are simple yet universal truths about being a young teen, which is the age she was when she started making it big. While Taylor is following in the footsteps of those who went before (remember Avril Lavigne's "Sk8er Boi"?), she's doing it her own way. Apparently, according to the interview, she's had opportunities to sleaze up her clean-girl image, but hasn't caved so far.
Kudos to her for not selling out and going the skank route. There's plenty of that to go around. Just look at all the "celebrities" who use their unappetizing behavior to get attention. Talk about peer pressure! We should all have kids who are so true to themselves.
I also admire Taylor for grace under pressure. I mean, what do you say to Kanye West when he gets up and disses you in front of millions of people? How old was Taylor then? 17? And remember the flak she got when she sang out of tune with Stevie Nicks? Ouch. How embarrassing must that have been? But Taylor's still here, writing her songs, singing to her millions of fans. Resilience is a wonderful thing. She's a terrific role model for getting back up after she's knocked down, either by someone else, or from her own mistakes.
Which brings me to the next quality that makes her such a good role model for girls. Not only is she resilient, she's humble, and she actually recognizes that she IS a role model for young girls. It was so refreshing to hear her say that she takes that role seriously. I wonder if she could go have a talk with Lindsey Lohan in jail. Maybe Taylor could tell her a thing or two about humility and how to handle a career.
Speaking of her career, Taylor is only 21 years old and is her own manager. She's hands-on with all of her marketing and merchandising. And she's appreciative of it all. She actually has someone pick out her most enthusiastic fans at each of her concerts and invites them to come hang out with her after the show. And, she spends an hour before the show shaking hands and interacting with fans.
Humility, talent, good business sense, resilience and professional integrity -- a lot of adults could learn something from Taylor, too.