On December 13, 1989, the number-one song topping the charts was Billy Joel’s babyboomer anthem “We Didn’t Start the Fire.” Little did anyone know, in the small borough
of Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, a spark was being born in the form of Taylor Alison Swift, who would burn up the charts less than two decades later.Taylor’s savvy parents — Andrea Swift, a successful businesswoman, and Scott Swift, a stockbroker — wanted to make sure their daughter would have every advantage possible, and named her appropriately. Andrea reasoned that future employers wouldn’t know if Taylor was a boy or a girl if they saw
her name on a business card or résumé. Taylor explained to Rolling Stone, “She wanted me to be a business person in a business world.” The platinum-selling singer-songwriter may not work in a boardroom, but there’s no doubt Andrea Swift is anything but disappointed.In Wyomissing, Taylor grew up on an 11-acre Christmas tree farm, which was the family’s secondary business. The farm was also home to several cats and seven horses. Taylor was a young equestrian, and rode horses competitively as a child. Taylor remembers, “I was raised on a little farm and for me when I was little, it was the biggest place in the world. And it was the most magical, wonderful place in the world.” She spent her time “running free and going anywhere I wanted in my head.” When she was two she got a partner to play with when Andrea and Scott brought brother Austin home to join the Swift family. When Taylor was four, Andrea decided to set her career aside and focus on her family.As Taylor shared in “The Best Day,” her love song for her family, the Swifts are a closeknit bunch. Telling Girls’ Life about her mom, Taylor explained, “She’s one of my best friends. She’s always, always around. She’s the person in my life who will just literally look me in the eye and say, ‘Look, snap out of it.’ You know? And I need that person.” Taylor also recognizes that her mother’s influence was a major factor in achieving her astonishing success: “She totally raised me to be logical and practical. I was brought up with such a strong woman in my life and I think that had a lot to do with me not wanting to do anything halfway.”The special bond between mother and daughter doesn’t go unnoticed by Scott Swift, who told the Tennessean: “People keep saying to me, ‘The relationship between Andrea and Taylor is something pretty special.’ That is amazing. There aren’t too many mother and
daughters who work together as a business unit the way those two do.” And while Scott may not be constantly by Taylor’s side now that she’s often away from home, he still plays a major role in his daughter’s life. Andrea’s
approach is firm though loving, realistic, and honest, while Scott is a softie. “My dad is just a big teddy bear who tells me that everything I do is perfect,” said Taylor. Like his wife, Scott passes on his wisdom to his daughter, helping her make sound financial decisions about her career independently. “Business-wise, he’s brilliant,” says Taylor. “I’m constantly getting business advice and what to invest in. I think you should be in charge of every single aspect of your career.”
Liv Spencer (Author)
Liv Spencer is the author of Love Bites: The Unofficial Saga of Twilight and Taylor Swift: The Unofficial Story. She lives in Toronto, Ontario.