Taylor  Swift




Swift may be only a teenager, but she already has the nerves and determination of a steely veteran.

Her first hit single, "Tim McGraw," came off her self-titled debut album last month, and she's just been chosen as the opening act for a George Strait tour beginning in January.

Other kids her age are sitting in the audience at country shows; Swift was on stage recently as the opening act for Rascal Flatts, singing for more than 10,000 people in Moline, Illinois.


"Not by any measure," she says. "I'm intimidated by the fear of being average."

Average, she's not.

She grew up on a farm in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Reading, and was inspired to sing by her maternal grandmother, an opera singer.

At 11 she performed the national anthem at a Philadelphia 76ers NBA game, and then began showing up at record company offices telling anyone who would listen, "I'm Taylor, I'm 11 and I want a record deal."

She began writing songs a year later. Now she's got her first record deal at 16, drawing comparisons with LeeAnn Rimes and Tanya Tucker, who both broke through at 13.

However, neither Rimes nor Tucker were known for their songwriting. Swift wrote or co-wrote every song on her 11-track CD.