Taylor Swift has been singing all her life, motivated by her grandmother, who was a professional opera singer. She began performing locally around her town and county at the age of ten, and at age 11 sang the national anthem before a Philadelphia 76ers game.

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By the time she was 12, she had picked up the guitar and began practicing four hours each day, until her fingers started to bleed. Swift’s parents began to support her music, and recognized her talent, perseverance, and budding future as a professional musician. The family began making regular visits to Nashville, TN, where Swift would perform casually and meet with songwriters in the area. The family decided to move to an outlying Nashville suburb, which accelerated Swift’s career. While performing at a showcase at Nashville’s Bluebird Café, Swift caught the eye of music industry veteran Scott Borchetta. He had plans to create a new label and decided Swift was one of the first acts he wanted to sign. Still a high school student fascinated by love (which she uses as her muse), she released her debut single, “Tim McGraw,” in August 2006, followed by a self-titled album that October.

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