"Taylor Swift" is the debut studio album by Taylor, released on October 24, 2006, by Big Machine Records. Taylor was 16 years old at the time of the album's release and wrote
its songs during her freshman year of high school. She has writing credits on all of the album's songs, including those co-written with Liz Rose. Taylor experimented with
several producers, ultimately choosing Nathan Chapman, who had produced her demo album. Musically, the album is country music styled, and lyrically it speaks of romantic
relationships, a couple of which Taylor wrote from observing relationships before being in one. The lyrics also touch on her personal struggles in high school.
Five singles were released from the album, all of which have been certified platinum by the RIAA. "Tim McGraw" was
released as the lead single and reached the top ten on Billboard's Hot Country Songs. "Teardrops on My Guitar" was released as the second single and was the album's
best-charting song on the Billboard Hot 100. "Our Song" was released as the third single from the album and was Swift's first number one on Billboard's Hot Country Songs
chart. It made her the youngest person to single-handedly write and perform a number one song on the Hot Country Songs chart. "Picture to Burn" and 'Should've Said No' were released as the fourth
single and fifth singles from the album, respectively, and both were successful on the country charts in the United States. Swift promoted the album by performing on tour as the opening act for artists such as Rascal Flatts, George Strait, Brad Paisley, and Tim
McGraw and Faith Hill.
"Taylor Swift" was received positively by contemporary critics, who praised Swift's talent at such a young age. The album enjoyed commercial success and launched Swift's career in country music.
In the United States, it topped the Top Country Albums Chart for 24 non-consecutive weeks, and was certified five times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of
America (RIAA) for sales of over 5 million copies. "Taylor Swift" has logged 275 weeks on the Billboard Top 200 chart as of early 2013. The album was also successful outside
of Swift's native country, especially in Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom.
The album has sold over 9,3 million copies worldwide as of December 2018.
Swift is from Wyomissing, Pennsylvania and developed an early interest in country music and songwriting. When she was eleven, she and her family made their first visit to Nashville, Tennessee in
peruse of a record deal, though nothing came out of it. Swift was often judged and neglected by record labels for being too young. In regards to the labels which rejected her, she said: "I can
understand. They were afraid to put out a 13-year-old. They were afraid to put out a 14-year-old. Then they were afraid to put out a 15-year-old. Then they were nervous about putting out a
16-year-old. And I'm sure if I hadn't signed with Scott Borchetta [head of Big Machine Records], everybody would be afraid to put out a 17-year-old."
Two years later, her family moved to Nashville; in the same year, Swift development deal with RCA Records, which she ultimately rejected because she refused to be on an artist development deal.
At the age of fourteen, she received a publishing contract with Sony/ATV Music. In 2005, while performing at The Bluebird Café, Swift caught the attention of Scott Borchetta, CEO of Big Machine
Records; she eventually signed with the label.
THEMES AND INSPIRATION
Swift began working on her debut album in the same year she was signed to Big Machine Records. Swift describes "Taylor Swift" as "[her] diary from [her] early teens" and says she wrote the songs
featured on the album "in real time", as she was experiencing them. As a result, the songs on "Taylor Swift" describe coming of age experiences such as insecurity, young love, and teenage angst.
Most songs on the album were written during Swift's freshman year of high school.
"You listen to my album and it sounds like I've had 500 boyfriends. But that's really not the case. I found that you don't have to date someone to write a song about them [...] I was going
through a really tough time in school and facing a lot of rejection among my peers. I found that I was alone a lot of the time, kind of on the outside looking into their discussions and the
things they were saying to each other. They really didn't talk to me. In the process of coming to that realization, I started developing this really keen sense of observation - of how to watch
people and see what they did. From that sense, I was able to write songs about relationships when I was thirteen but not in relationships."
- Taylor Swift