Celebs » Taylor Swift » Biography
Taylor Swift was born on December 13, 1989, in Reading, Pennsylvania. She was named after singer James Taylor. Her father, Scott Kingsley Swift, is a Merrill Lynch financial adviser; he was raised in Pennsylvania, and is the descendant of three generations of bank presidents. Her mother, Andrea Gardner (Finlay) Swift, is a homemaker who previously worked as a mutual fund marketing executive. Swift's mother, though American, spent the first 10 years of her life in Singapore, before returning to the U.S. and settling in Texas; her own father was an engineer who worked throughout southeast Asia. Swift has a younger brother named Austin.

Swift spent the early years of her life on a Christmas-tree farm in Cumru Township, Pennsylvania. She attended preschool and kindergarten at the Alvernia Montessori School, run by Franciscan nuns, before moving to the Wyndcroft School, a co-ed private school. Swift and her brother were raised in the Presbyterian faith, and attended vacation bible school every summer. When Swift was nine years old, the family moved to a rented house in the suburban town of Wyomissing, Pennsylvania. She attended West Reading Elementary Center and Wyomissing Area Junior/Senior High School there. Swift summered at her parents' waterfront vacation home in Stone Harbor, New Jersey, and described it as the place "where most of my childhood memories were formed."

At the age of nine, Swift became interested in musical theatre and performed in numerous Berks Youth Theatre Academy productions. She also traveled regularly to Broadway for vocal and acting lessons. Swift later turned her attention to country music—Shania Twain's songs made her "want to just run around the block four times and daydream about everything." She spent her weekends performing at local festivals, coffeehouses, fairs, karaoke contests, garden clubs, Boy Scout meetings and sporting events. At the age of eleven, after many failed attempts, Swift won a local talent competition and was given the opportunity to appear as the opening act for Charlie Daniels at a Strausstown amphitheater.

After watching a Behind the Music episode about Faith Hill, Swift felt sure that she needed to go to Nashville, Tennessee, to pursue a music career. At the age of eleven, she traveled with her mother to Nashville to submit a demo, of Dolly Parton and Dixie Chicks karaoke covers, with record labels along Music Row. She received label rejections and realized that "everyone in that town wanted to do what I wanted to do. So, I kept thinking to myself, I need to figure out a way to be different."

When Swift was 12 years old, she was taught how to play three chords on a guitar, inspiring her to write her first song, "Lucky You." She had previously won a national poetry contest with a poem titled "Monster in My Closet," but now began to focus on songwriting. In 2003, Swift and her parents started working with New York-based music manager Dan Dymtrow. With Dymtrow's help, Swift modelled for Abercrombie & Fitch as part of their "Rising Stars" campaign, had an original song included on a Maybelline compilation CD, and attended meetings with major record labels. After performing original songs at an RCA Records showcase, the eighth-grader was given an artist development deal and began making frequent trips to Nashville with her mother. To help Swift break into country music her father transferred to the Nashville office of Merrill Lynch when she was 14, and the family relocated to a lakefront house in Hendersonville, Tennessee
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