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COVER FEATURE


“I WANTED TO BE SOMEWHERE WHERE THE SONGWRITING WAS AT THE FORE- FRONT... I WANTED TO BE SOMEWHERE WHERE I KNEW I WOULD GET TO WRITE EVERY SONG ON MY ALBUM.”


Taylor’s relationship with RCA Records broke down a year


or two later after the company wanted to stifle her growth as a singer-songwriter, to continue recording covers and to wait until she reached the age of eighteen before releasing her debut or any original material: “I wanted to be somewhere where the songwriting was at the forefront,” she explained. “I wanted to be somewhere where I knew I would get to write every song on my album. I realised that was where I wanted to place my priority. I wanted a publishing deal. So, one day, I walked into Sony/ATV and it was clear to me that they were really passionate about artists and about developing artists who were writers.” Taylor became the youngest singer- songwriter ever to be taken on by Sony/ATV Publishing House, leading her to a great many Music Row songwriters, including Liz Rose who edited several of her future tracks in the making, including Tim McGraw, Teardrops On My Guitar and Picture To Burn. “We fit really well together as a writing team, because she doesn’t sing or play guitar,” Taylor explained one time when asked about her relationship with Liz. “She just lets me take the idea where I want to go, as far as the melody and the tone of what I would like to say to someone. Then she takes her life experience and her knowl- edge and her intuition and adds to it. It’s just a really great collaboration.” Around this time, she also parted company with her


manager, Dan Dymtrow which sparked off legal proceedings against Taylor and her parents. “I genuinely felt that I was running out of time,” she later recalled. “I wanted to capture these [teenage years] of my life on an album while they still represented what I was going through.” At long last, Taylor received the breakthrough she had


always been searching for, when she caught the eye of Dreamworks Records executive, Scott Borchetta (Toby Keith, Randy Travis) whilst performing at The Bluebird Café in Nashville. Preparing to branch out and form his own independent label in the form of Big Machine Records, he signed Taylor and set about making her the star she was always born to be. Persuading Big Machine Records to hire her former demo


producer, Nathan Chapman with whom she’d worked with whilst at RCA, Taylor set to work on her self-titled debut—a collection of seemingly self-penned and co-written diary- entried songs inspired by her experiences as a teenager. The long-awaited debut of this fresh-faced singer-songwriter in 2006 proved to be highly successful and hugely popular, selling over 5.5 million copies worldwide by March 2011 and spawning several consecutive top 10 hits for the then sixteen-year-old, including no.1 Our Song, Teardrops On My Guitar, Picture To Burn, Should’ve Said No and her first top 10 single Tim McGraw—an oft-visited theme by Taylor of a


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