When Will Country Let Go of Taylor Swift?

Country music is part of Taylor Swift’s past. In fact, she transcended the country music genre to become one of pop music’s top stars. However, country music awards continue to eagerly embrace the cultural icon, as demonstrated by her recent participation in the Academy of Country Music Awards.

At the ACMs, Swift received a Milestone Award that recognized her career achievements. To put things into perspective, Garth Brooks, George Strait, Reba McEntire, Brooks & Dunn, Miranda Lambert, and Kenny Chesney also received The Milestone Award. However, those artists sit firmly in the country music genre. Of course, the Academy of Country Music is well justified in maintaining a connection to Swift.

Taylor Swift honors her country music past. In Swift’s acceptance speech of The Milestone Award she thanked Nashville for teaching her how to write songs. Swift performed her first hit “Tim McGraw” on the ACM stage in 2007 when her career was beginning to take off. The next year Swift won the Top New Female Vocalist. After that moment her career accomplishments multiplied.

taylor-swift-acm-awards-2015-01Taylor Swift is a household name. The press follows her fashion, her relationships and her business decisions. Her album sales prove her success. Her new album “1989” spent 24 straight weeks in the top five of the Billboard 200. It was also the first album to sell one million traditional US copies in 2015.

Taylor Swift helps other artists. With the world’s fourth largest Twitter following, when she mentions an artist, her fans respond by buying the album in droves. She also gives singers with their first album a spot on her tours, helping to propel them to success.

Taylor Swift provides a huge ratings boost. Non-country fans likely watch shows just to see her. Now that she’s pop, is it too much of a stretch to see her at a country music award show? When her previous album “Red” came out and the sounds of pop music shined through, country radio still played those songs. However, 1989 is not played on country stations at all.

taylor-swift-acm-awards-20154As Swift accepted the award she said, “Somebody once told me that you truly see who a person is when you tell them something they don’t want to hear…And so to the country music community, when I told you that I had made a pop album and that I wanted to go explore other genres, you showed me who you are with the grace you accepted that with. I will never forget it.”

With these words, it seemed as if Swift said her final farewell to country music. She gave the country audience a bit of closure, but can country music award shows afford to let her go?


Filed under Awards, Country Pop, Movies and TV, Women

3 Responses to When Will Country Let Go of Taylor Swift?

  1. Katie O'Neil

    I really enjoyed this post and the points you made. It also confused me that she won the Milestone award just because her most recent album, which has had the most success, was solely a pop album. Also, her past couple of albums have been a mix of pop songs and country songs since she was trying to cross genres. With all that being said, her music seems to be an anomaly compared to the other winners, as you mentioned. I think that Taylor Swift will always be apart of country music award shows in some ways, whether if it is just being invited to them. However, hopefully the award shows will be able to move away from her music since it is no longer in the country genre.

  2. Emma Morgan

    I think I will always be a Taylor Swift fan whether she stays in the country music industry or leaves it for good. I think she handled her transition into pop very maturely which is why people still respect her as an artist no matter what type of music she releases. You see singers like Miley Cyrus who have abruptly changed their image and music and she is still getting tons of backlash for her decisions. Taylor Swift gracefully moved out of country music and also did so slowly in order to keep her fans happy. I would like to hope that she isn’t done with country music forever but what she said after accepting her award makes me think otherwise. Even though she says she’s done, I think country music and the industry will always be a part of her and therefore they will never completely let her go. I think she will continue to be at award shows, probably not receiving awards, but just for the fact that country is a huge part of her current success.

  3. Daniella

    Even though I am a fan of both Taylor Swift and country music, I agree that it is time for country music to let her go; I mean, her last album was completely country-free. I think it just might be a difficult transition to let her go all at once because of the fact that she got her start in country music and she spent the majority of her career in that genre. I also agree with Emma in the sense that Taylor Swift might be making the transition between genres slowly and gracefully so her fans won’t be upset by such an abrupt change. While I really liked the country version of Taylor Swift I kind of feel that pop is sort of where she belongs, but I secretly hope that she embraces both genres. I guess we’ll see the direction in which Taylor Swift’s music goes next in the near future.

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