Taylor Swift illustration by Ashawna Linyard for Kristin Auld's article
After 10 years, the famous pop singer icon has only grown both musically and personally. Here's a summary of everything that happened to Taylor Swift. (Illustration by Ashawna Linyard, Georgia State University)
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Taylor Swift illustration by Ashawna Linyard for Kristin Auld's article

The pop star’s presence was inescapable.

As the sun sets on 2019 and moves toward 2020, individuals are inevitably reminiscing about the decade. What was in fashion, what food was most enjoyed and arguably most important, what music people listened to. Upon looking at the artists, albums and songs that were most popular during the ‘10s, one blonde-haired blue-eyed songstress’s name makes a repeated appearance practically every year of the decade. That’s right, I’m talking about Ms. Taylor Alison Swift.

Swift was presented as the artist of the decade at the American Music Awards this past month, where she gave an unforgettable performance of some of the biggest hits from her catalogue. The performance was followed by the presentation of the award to Swift by previous recipient, Carole King, who said the following, “Her lyrics resonate across the generations, her songs touch everyone and her impact across the world is extraordinary.”

Inspired by Swift and her astonishing ability to continue releasing quality music, I wanted to take a look back at her highlights of each year through the decade. Without further ado, lets dive into a decade of one of the world’s most beloved artists.

2010

We are starting off all the way back in 2010. This was a big year as it marked the beginning of a new decade. However, it was an even bigger year for the then-country star as she released her third album, “Speak Now,” on Oct. 25, 2010, which featured bops like “Mine,” “Speak Now” and “Mean.”

The album was a special one for the singer as she was the sole writer of “Speak Now” and co-produced every single track. The album was an immediate success and became the fastest selling digital album by a female artist with a remarkable 278,000 downloads in the first week of its release, landing Swift an entry into the 2010 Guinness Book of World Records.

2011

The start of the decade was the catalyst for what was to come for Swift in the ‘10s, and the musician undoubtedly carried the same level of dedication to her craft. It paid off as she had an uber successful world tour that raked in over $120 million in profit. Swift also received two American Music Awards; artist of the year and favorite country album.

While she didn’t release an album in 2011, she did give her fans a little something to hold them over with two hauntingly beautiful singles “Safe and Sound” and “Eye’s Open,” both songs that contributed to “The Hunger Games” soundtrack.

2012

Swift finished off her worldwide tour and entered into a new era as she voiced a character named Audrey in the animated film “The Lorax,” had a short-lived romance with political heir Conor Kennedy and, most importantly, released her fourth studio album, “Red.”

The singer-songwriter released “We Are Never Getting Back Together” as her lead single, which accomplished many feats like being in the top slot on iTunes. Swift’s second single, “Begin Again,” was also well-received and was No. 7 on the Billboard Top 100. The album was important to Swift’s career as it showcased her trying different styles of music, from dance-pop to dubstep. Like her previous album, “Red” was met with lots of love and praise from fans and music critics alike.

2013

Swift began her “Red” world tour, which kicked off in March of 2013 with supporting acts including Ed Sheeran and Florida Georgia Line. The musician also found herself dabbling in acting again, this time in the sitcom series “New Girl.”

She provided vocals on two vastly different tunes later that year, the first with her friend and fellow musician Jack Antonoff, who co-wrote and co-produced “Sweeter Than Fiction,” which was featured on the “One Chance” soundtrack. Swift then lent her voice to country singer pal Tim McGraw for his song, “Highway Don’t Care.” The year 2013 was great for Swift award-wise as she was presented with the artist of the year award at The AMA’s, and best music video of the year for “I Knew You Were Trouble” at The MTV Video Music Awards.

2014

There were a few firsts for Swift both professionally and personally, as this was the year that she made the move to The Big Apple. Once again, the singer “stepped out of her music box,” if you will, and into the silver screen as she portrayed Rosemary in the film adaptation of “The Giver.”

As mentioned previously, this year was significant in Swift’s professional life as she released “1989” in October 2014, which marked her move from country to her first pop-only album. Like previous years, 2014 was quite literally an award-winning year for Swift, as she was named Billboard’s artist of the year, making her the first woman to win the award twice. Swift was awarded again at the American Music Awards. This time she was the recipient of the Dick Clark Award for Excellence.

In November of 2014, Swift pulled her entire catalog of music from Spotify due to her frustration with artists not getting paid as much for streams by non-subscribers versus those with the premium subscription.

2015

Early in the year, Swift began dating Scottish DJ Calvin Harris. The pair was announced as the highest-paid celebrity couple of the year in June 2015 by Forbes. The album “1989” was still gaining quite a bit of traction as Swift began her world tour in May, which ran until December.

Swift again had an issue with a streaming platform, this time with Apple Music. The singer threatened to pull “1989” from the platform unless Apple did something to give artists royalties during the free three-month trial period. Apple heard Swift loud and clear and agreed.

2016

Things sadly ended for dynamic duo Swift and Calvin Harris in June of 2016, but quickly turned around as she began her relationship with her current boyfriend, Joe Alwyn, in September.

Swift continued winning awards this year and took home three Grammys for “1989.” While she did not release an album during this year, she kept busy by working on songs for other projects and groups. The singer-songwriter lent her talents to country group Little Big Town, writing a song called “Better Man” for them. Swift also sang on the track “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever” with Zayn Malik as part of the “Fifty Shades Freed” soundtrack.

2017

After a very eventful summer, Swift and Zayn Malik took home the award for best collaboration at the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards. The musician also spent part of the summer in court as she had sued radio personality David Mueller for sexually assaulting her at an event in 2013. The trial became buzzed about in the media as the court ruled in favor of Swift and she acquired a symbolic one dollar bill in turn.

After three long years of making her fans wait, Swift finally released a new record with a sound that had never been heard from her before. Swift had been through some things in her personal and professional life that had caused her to be labelled a snake, and so she took that concept and completely ran with it on her sixth studio album, “Reputation.”

2018

A very typical year for Swift, she provided vocals on country group Sugarland’s song “Babe.” Swift also went on another worldwide tour for “Reputation,” which broke many records from ticket sales, selling over 2 million tickets.

Like in years past, Swift cleaned house at the AMA’s as she took home awards for tour of the year, artist of the year, favorite pop/rock female artist and favorite pop/rock album. Swift finished the year out by signing a deal with Universal Music Group and releasing a concert film for Netflix called “Reputation Stadium Tour.”

2019

Finally, we have made it to 2019 and what a year it has been for Swift. The singer teased fans on her Instagram with cryptic posts of pastel objects counting down until the day when she released the first single from her soon-to-be album. The music video for the single “Me!” which featured Brendon Urie from Panic At The Disco, broke Vevo’s record for most views within the day of its release.

The singer-songwriter also became outspoken on LGBTQ+ issues and argued for equality by writing a letter to her senator encouraging them to sign the Equality Act. The singer made her message even louder and clearer with the release of her second single and accompanying music video, “You Need To Calm Down,” which featured several notable LGBTQ+ celebrities and icons.

On Aug. 26, Swift released her new album titled “Lover.” The album quickly grew to become a favorite amongst fans both old and new, and broke many records as she became the first female artist in history to have six albums sell more than 500,000 copies in one week’s time.

Swift has spoken out about her disappointment and frustration with the fact that music manager Scooter Braun bought Big Machine Records, Swift’s former label, resulting in him owning all six of her masters.

Although the year is dying down, Swift is determined to go out with a bang. On Dec. 6, she released a Christmas tune called “Christmas Tree Farm.” The singer is also set to star in the film adaptation of “Cats” and, as per usual, wrote a song for the film called “Beautiful Ghosts.”

Swift has continued to make a lasting impact on those who listen and enjoy her music, and it will be quite interesting to see what the artist has in store for her fans in the upcoming decade.

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