We should have seen it coming. Isn’t that always how it goes? You’re in this “relationship” with someone, and just when things get comfy and you’re in a groove…BAM! POW! (Or in this case Boom Boom Pow…)
Taylor Swift could probably say that she just wasn’t feelin’ the love…and she’d be right. And as with all relationships and jilted exes lying in the rubble…they’d most likely disagree. Most of my fellow country radio program directors would argue that they’ve given her airplay and exposure. They’d probably protest that they did their best to support ol’ T Swizzle and that would be true to some great extent.
She wasn’t like “all those other country artists” and that wasn’t a bad thing. She did so much to breathe life into the format and introduce those wandering P3’s to what we were all about. She was the impetus for change in country music. One girl with dreams and the ambition to be a star.
People like Taylor Swift aren’t churned out on the regular. She is a very special creature. From her very demeanor to the way she has developed as a songwriter and performer…movie star…social media maven…and cat lover. She was born to be the super star she is today.
We were very fortunate to have had Taylor first on her radio tour. We were the first station that she visited…and the first to turn on the mic, let her say “hello” to country radio listeners and share her talent. It was purely the luck of the draw. 103.3. Her favorite numbers were in our frequency. She loves cats…we’re KAT Country. Looking back it all seemed so predestined. *sigh*
Talk about a plan coming together: Scott Borchetta (seriously…this man has the Midas Touch)…Toby Keith (yes…you didn’t know he was part of this?)..Taylor’s dad…and the beautiful and talented Liz Rose were all key players in channeling Taylor’s talent and helping her to create her own opportunities. There are many others who were a part of the “Big Machine”…and they all worked together to make Taylor happen. Country radio embraced her and the rest is history.
Everyone where I work is incredibly proud of her. We’re all quick to defend or counter anti-Taylor sentiment. Believe me…we hear it all the time. People rip her for her: music, boyfriend collection, quirkiness, etc. That’s what happens when people are larger than life…people stop remembering that they’re human.
What we know about her is that she walked into our studio and that was where country music began to change. We saw around 19,000 people show up to see her play at our Listener Appreciation Concert in 2007. It was literally 107 degrees in the California sun and even in that oppressive heat…no one moved away from the stage…not for water…not for shade…forget it. They were there to see this girl named Taylor.
We thought she was special when she came in for her visit…we KNEW she was a superstar when she climbed up on stage that day in Turlock and blew the crowd away with her songs and her cover of Eminem’s “Lose Yourself”.
I hate to admit this…but I’ve judged other new artists by Taylor’s standard. I’ve even judged established artists based on my experiences with Taylor Swift. She has played to win from Day One.
When other artists were too cool to sign autographs at Meet and Greets or neglected to have fan interaction at all…Taylor always over-delivered.
That kid has put in her work.
If you stand back and take note…this girl managed to have top grossing tours…win almost every major industry award..star in television shows and major motion pictures…write albums…make videos…take time out for her fans…live her life…and after she met you backstage…STILL took the time to write a personal note to each radio person that came to the show.
Our overnight jock begged to meet her in Sacramento once and a few days after the show, he called me up freaking out because she’d sent him a note and mentioned the shirt he was wearing and thanked him for coming to meet her.
Who does that? Taylor Swift does that.
This past year I went to one of her shows and got caught in traffic on the way. I missed out on the regular pre-show radio hang and ended up propped against a wall in the concourse area charging my cell phone (my norm). While sitting there people watching…I noticed a very familiar face almost running with a security guard up into the nosebleed section…Taylor’s mom.
Not one person recognized them as they ran up into the upper deck. When they returned moments later…there was a gang of excited ‘tweens with them. Taylor’s mom had gathered up the fans from the worst seats in the house and gave them pit passes. They were all Taylored-out head to toe…and Mama Swift was almost giddy and loving every minute of bringing those girls down to the stage to see their hero.
While everyone is so swept away by who she’s dating or what she’s wearing or which person this or that song was written about…the fact remains that she is sweet, talented girl, with a wonderful group of people that have guided and nurtured her into the person she has become.
She has a very strong support system that has led her to this place and will continue to be there on her ride to wherever she decides to go in this life. We should all be so lucky.
This week she left us for a relationship with pop radio.
I wonder if she’ll write a song about us? Considering that she kicked us to the curb and all. Now…I’m going to feel all “stalkery” watching her Twitter and Instagram to see how she’s doing. I hope she kinda misses us. They say if you love someone…set them free…and if they come back…uh..er…(Sting sorta ruined that for me…when I think of that saying now…all I can hear in my head…is him singing Free Free…Set them free..) The point is…
I can’t blame her for moving on. She’s growing up. Her priorities are changing. That’s how relationships are. And just with any situation where you’re saying goodbye to someone you really like as a person…I really hope they treat her well and appreciate her “magic”.
Good for you, Taylor. We’re going to miss you.