NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — This weekend, Taylor Swift is performing in the city where she moved to chase her music dreams nearly two decades ago.
However, the now-global superstar was nowhere near a household name when she made her way into the News 2 studios in 2006 to share the story behind her debut song, “Tim McGraw”, during one of her first TV appearances.
“First thing I tell people who haven’t heard this song is that it’s not about Tim McGraw and I’m not a stalker,” then-16-year-old Swift said.
It was Aug. 31, 2006 when the teenage singer sat down with News 2’s Stephanie Langston. Swift’s mother was by her side, eager to take photos of her little girl’s opportunity.
“It feels really good to be doing what I’m doing,” Swift explained.
That was two months before the release of her debut album. Swift, a junior, had left Hendersonville High School, where she found inspiration to write about teenage love and heartbreak.
Swift took that music to 2nd Avenue’s Wildhorse Saloon in December 2006, which News 2 was able to witness. By then, not only was the song “Tim McGraw” in the top 10 on the music charts, but Swift had even chatted on the phone with the song’s namesake.
“He was, like, ‘Well, to be honest, I felt really old,” Taylor recalled with a laugh. “He goes, ‘But I like the song and Faith likes it a lot,’ and I was, like, ‘Yes! Yes, that’s exciting.'”
By the end of the year, Swift had evolved from hyped teen newcomer to bona fide country artist.
News 2 aired more than 100 stories about Swift in the year after that first August interview, covering a slew of accolades that quickly followed her, such as hitting the road with George Strait, celebrating a gold album, and filming the music video for her single “Our Song”.
“My ideal day is getting my hair and makeup done all day, so basically my ideal day is today,” Swift told News 2 from the set of the music video, saying she was trying out some new looks for the shoot.
Nearly 17 years later, one might wonder if her tune has changed, as what was once a dream has been a whirlwind of reality.
Although Swift hung up her hat with country music, she dominates the air waves as one of the best-selling musicians in history.
“I give myself, like, five seconds a day to be a complete cheerleader and be, like, ‘Oh my God, this is happening,’ and then the rest of the day, I think about what I’m going to do to make it last and make it keep happening,” she explained backstage at the Wildhorse Saloon in 2006.
Now, roughly 180,000 fans are heading to Nissan Stadium for Swift’s three sold-out shows this weekend, according to the Nashville International Airport.