Those young fans called their local country radio stations demanding to hear “Tim Mc Graw” until handfuls of them finally realized it might be worth alienating a few older listeners to win the hearts of a few younger ones.That slow radio climb beget a first wave of adoring press. And the rest is history, give or take a whiz-bang blizzard of MTV -- which cautiously began testing a remix of “Teardrops on My Guitar” toward the end of 2007 -- and Perez Hilton and arena multi-nighters and Grammys and Kanye and #squads and world domination.Taylor Swift's Career Timeline: From ' Tim Mc Graw' to '1989' What it comes back to is the thing that it’s always been hardest for her detractors to believe: that Swift is the architect and auteur of her own career… It didn’t matter that she wasn’t old enough to vote; she was old enough to drive pop culture, and do it her way. I remember talking with Andrea Swift early on, who struck me as not exactly Teri Shields when she assured me Taylor was self-driven: “Music was never my dream (for her).
If my dream had gone well, she’d be in a horse show right now.” I talked with Liz Rose, everyone’s best guess at the time for the real brains behind the songwriter operation.
But she seemed perfectly happy to declare that her function as Taylor’s co-writer was mainly to be her editor and sounding board.
Big Machine had a lot going on, but the label was too nascent to be a Machiavellian machine. 6 on the Country Songs chart, but had little pop crossover. It wasn’t until “Our Song” that she had a country chart-topper, but that particular track had too much twang to cement the deal on the pop side.
There was no managerial maestro pulling the strings. The second single, “Teardrops on My Guitar,” made it to No. There was still a lot of uncertainty about whether her modicum of success at Top 40 was a fluke.
She sold her first million albums without making too much of a dent on the pop consciousness.
Some of us wondered aloud whether she could really break through without embracing someone else’s inner skank, if not her own, at least a little.
Toward the end of 2007 I sat down with Swift at an In-N-Out on Ventura Blvd. Besides the fact that Swift actually likes hamburgers, I think part of the idea was that my editors at and I hoped that we’d prove she was crossing over to pop by portraying her as besieged by new fans at the busy burger joint.
But during an hour of sitting there, only one young boy came up, meekly addressing her as “miss.” Yes, I wish I had some video to prove that even after she had a platinum record Taylor Swift sat in an In-N-Out for an hour, unmolested as she worked on a No.
Imagine a world in which Taylor Swift is the very opposite of clickbait. well, no, it’s pretty much unfathomable even if you try, though those reading technically lived through that Paleolithic period -- that is to say, the proto-Swift years.
It was exactly 10 years ago this week that era ended and a new one began as Swift made her first Billboard chart appearance: July 1, 2006, when debut single “Tim Mc Graw” inauspiciously bowed at No. At that point, country radio, much less pop, couldn’t be bothered to care. Her inability to get arrested by the media didn’t quite end overnight, as evidenced by the six months it took “Tim Mc Graw” to crack the country top 10.
Those of us who were covering country as journalists at the time remember the calls from an independent publicist begging -- no, really, begging! But she really didn’t look like anything other than a promising novelty, since the history of young girls making it in country began and ended eons earlier with Le Ann Rimes.