How Taylor Swift Shot to the Top

Teen a strong contender for country music's biggest prize
By Emily Rauhala,  Newser User
Posted Nov 11, 2009 12:28 PM CST
Recording artist Taylor Swift attends the 57th Annual BMI Country Awards in Nashville, Tenn. Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2009.   (AP Photo/Peter Kramer)
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(Newser) – Barring interference from Kanye West, Taylor Swift heads to Nashville to fight for country music's top prize tonight: Entertainer of the Year. The 19-year-old singer is up against the old boys of the industry, but Randy Lewis of the LA Times thinks she's got a shot. If the Pennsylvania-born Nashville transplant wins, she'll be the first woman to win the title since 2000, and the youngest recipient ever.

But she's used to breaking records. Her self-titled debut album set the 21st-century record for longevity on the Billboard 200 (three years); she sold more albums last year than anyone; and last week's SNL appearance helped deliver the show its highest ratings this season. What's her secret? "She's done it by cannily employing the four T's of pop music: talent, tenacity, technology, and teens," writes Lewis. All that blogging, emailing, and tweeting has built a powerful fan base, which she works hard to maintain. Case in point: Swift got an email praising her performance on a CBS special—and shot back a thank you via the show was still taping.