By: Jason Lipshutz for Billboard Magazine
Date: December 14th issue
In the 2010s, she went from country superstar to pop titan and broke records with chart-topping albums and blockbuster tours. Now Swift is using her industry clout to fight for artists’ rights and foster the musical community she wished she had coming up.
One evening in late October, before she performed at a benefit concert at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, Taylor Swift’s dressing room became - as it often does - an impromptu summit of music’s biggest names. Swift was there to take part in the American Cancer Society’s annual We Can Survive concert alongside Billie Eilish, Lizzo, Camila Cabello and others, and a few of the artists on the lineup came by to visit.
Eilish, along with her mother and her brother/collaborator, Finneas O’Connell, popped in to say hello - the first time she and Swift had met. Later, Swift joined the exclusive club of people who have seen Marshmello without his signature helmet when the EDM star and his manager stopped by.
“Two dudes walked in - I didn’t know which one was him,” recalls Swift a few weeks later, sitting on a lounge chair in the backyard of a private Beverly Hills residence following a photo shoot. Her momentary confusion turned into a pang of envy. “It’s really smart! Because he’s got a life, and he can get a house that doesn’t have to have a paparazzi-proof entrance.” She stops to adjust her gray sweatshirt dress and lets out a clipped laugh.
Swift, who will celebrate her 30th birthday on Dec. 13, has been impossibly famous for nearly half of her lifetime. She was 16 when she released her self-titled debut album in 2006, and 20 when her second album, Fearless, won the Grammy Award for album of the year in 2010, making her the youngest artist to ever receive the honor. As the decade comes to a close, Swift is one of the most accomplished musical acts of all time: 37.3 million albums sold, according to Nielsen Music; 95 entries on the Billboard Hot 100 (including five No. 1s); 23 Billboard Music Awards; 12 Country Music Association Awards; 10 Grammys; and five world tours.