One of the world's biggest musical acts launched her first single ten years ago this weekend
On June 19th 2006, Taylor Swift released her first single "Tim McGraw", from her self-titled first album which wouldn't arrive for another four months.
Prior to the release of the single, Swift had been signed by RCA Records as a song-writer at the age of 14, but fearful that the company wouldn't let her perform her own material and give her songs to other artists, she soon jumped ship to Sony/ATV Publishing house.
Having worked with fellow songwriter Liz Rose and recording demos with Nathan Chapman, Swift was then lined-up with a series of high-end Nashville producers, but she convinced her executives at Sony and the newly created Big Machine Records to continue working with Chapman as the producer on her debut album.
From those album sessions, 'Tim McGraw' was chosen as the first single, having performed it solely on a ukulele to the executive of Big Machine Records, who said then and there to Swift "That's your first single." Swift placed the song at the top of her album, wanting listeners to instantly recognise the relatable emotion of "thinking about a relationship you had and then lost. I think one of the most powerful human emotions is what should have been and wasn't... That was a really good song to start out on, because a lot of people can relate to wanting something you can't have."
The song reached No.6 on the Country Charts and No.40 in the Billboard charts, while the album went on to sell over 5,000,000 copies in the USA alone, but it wouldn't be until February 2007 that Swift will follow up with the album's next single, "Teardrops From My Guitar". This was followed up by "Our Song", which topped the Billboard Country Charts, and at the age of 18, this made Swift the first and youngest sole writer and singer of a number one country song.
The fifth and final single - "Should've Said No" - was released in May 2008, and just four months later, Swift released the first single - "Love Story" - from her second album Fearless. Keeping with producer Chapman and the same co-writers from her debut album, the building success and popularity from the first album meant that "Love Story" would go on to sell over 8 million copies, becoming one of the best-selling country singles of all time.
The album topped the US charts, eventually selling over 7 million copies there alone, and became the best selling album on 2009, which meant that Swift had broken yet another record, by being the youngest artist in history to have the year's best-selling album. Fearless would go on to spawn another four hit singles, and at the Grammy's that year, it won Country Album Of The Year, as well as the top award, Album Of The Year. At the age of 20, Swift had become the youngest person to ever win the award, beating previous record holder Alanis Morissette, who had won for Jagged Little Pill at the age of 21.
Again, Swift spread out the singles releases from Fearless, resulting in the fifth single - "Fearless" - hitting the charts in January 2010, and then in August that same year came the first single - "Mine" - from album number three, Speak Now. The album sold over 1 million copies in it's first week of release, becoming only the 16th album to ever manage the feat. All fourteen songs from the album charted in the Billboard charts, with eleven of them chart simultaneously, making her the first female artist in history to have over ten songs on the Hot 100 chart at once.
Seven official singles and a Grammy nomination later, and it appeared that Swift wanted to swap things up. The gap between singles - "Ours" in November 2011 and "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" in August 2012 - was the longest time between singles since her career had started, and album number four, Red, represented a change in her career direction.
While Chapman and Rose were still present, Swift had now enlisted a series of new collaborators for the project, including Jeff Bhasker (Kanye West, Alicia Keys), Jacknife Lee (U2, Snow Patrol), Butch Walker (Fall Out Boy, Pink) and, most importantly, Max Martin. The pop uber-producer was behind Red's first single, as well as it's follow-ups "I Knew You Were Trouble" and "22". There were another four singles from the album, but none as popular as those Swift worked with on with Martin, and this would dictate the next step in her career path.
Red sold over one million copies in it's first week (a trend now beginning in Swift's career), and received another set of nominations for Best Album and Best Country Album at the Grammys, but she was already looking forward to the next project. "Shake It Off" arrived in August 2014, the first single from 1989, and the most recent step in Swift's designs towards world-conquering.
Continuing to expand her collaborators list, 1989's writers and producers now included Jack Antonoff (Carly Rae Jepsen, Tegan and Sara), Ryan Tedder (Beyonce, OneRepublic), Greg Kurstin (Adele, Kelly Clarkson), but front and centre was Max Martin, who was involved with eight of the album's thirteen tracks. Another six singles followed "Shake It Off", and the album once again sold over 1 million copies in it's first week, making Swift the first artist in history to sell over a million copies of three consecutive albums within their first weeks of release, and is one of only five albums in all of history to remain within the Top 200 Albums Chart within the first year of it's release. The album would go on to win Best Album of the Year at the Grammys, making Swift the only female artist to win the award twice.
As is the case with her work to date, "New Romantics" was the seventh and final single released from the album, and that was back in February of this year. If her work ethic remains steady, we should be getting a new Taylor Swift album a few months before the year is out. Considering that previous albums have reportedly had songs tied to break-ups with her famous ex's including Jon Mayer, Jake Gyllenhaal and Harry Styles amongst others, and the recent stories involving both Calvin Harris and Tom Hiddleston, not to mention that "Bad Blood" was reportedly in response to her soured friendship with Katy Perry, album number six might arrive even sooner, considering the amount of material she now has to write about.