"I figured out at a young age that when you control what music you put out by writing it, then you get to control your own sound."
Taylor Swift said that, but here's the thing: She said it in 2006, as her debut album was coming out. Which proves that Taylor, who turns 30 today, has been remarkably consistent about what's important to her since the day she became famous.
As a teen, Taylor realized the only way to make herself stand out was to write her own material. "That way, I wouldn't have to depend on anybody creatively," she said in 2006. And as she begins her third decade, what continues to set her apart is how she shares her life -- the good and the bad -- through her songs. It's what's allowed her to build one of the most loyal fan bases in music.
"I've been very honest about the fact that I entrust my fans, and also the rest of the world who don't understand, with the insight into what I'm actually going through," she told ABC's Amy Robach in 2014 on Good Morning America. "And somehow to me, having the people who get me -- really get me -- makes it easier to take when other people don't, because I don't really care about them. Because I have [my fans]."
"I think that you have to not only live your life in spite of people who don't understand you: You have to have more fun than they do," Taylor told Robach about the haters.
While her critics are numerous -- from music journalists, to Kanye West, to Scooter Braun, to trolls who tried to "cancel" her back in 2017 -- Taylor survived and thrived. After switching from country to pop with her smash album 1989, she became an even bigger star, and her latest album, Lover, has earned her some of the best reviews of her career.
"I really want to keep evolving sonically and keep growing up year by year, one year at a time," Taylor told Robach.
In 2020, the 30-year old star will bring her fans her first music festival, Lover Fest, and she may win a Golden Globe -- or even an Oscar -- for her CATS song, "Beautiful Ghosts." And while we'll see what the future holds for Taylor and her longtime boyfriend, Joe Alwyn, she seems to be in a very good place indeed.
As Taylor told Billboard, which recently named her its Woman of the Decade, "I’ve got my friends, who like me for the right reasons. I’ve got my family. I’ve got my boyfriend. I’ve got my fans. I’ve got my cats."
Here are just a few stats from Taylor's amazing career:
-- 37.3 million albums sold, according to Nielsen Music.
-- 95 songs on the Billboard Hot 100, including five number ones.
-- 10 Grammys, including two for Album of the Year; she was the first female solo artist to win that category twice.
-- 29 American Music Awards, more than any other artist.
-- 23 Billboard Music Awards.
-- 12 Country Music Association Awards.
-- Five world tours, including the Reputation Stadium Tour, the highest-grossing trek in U.S. history.
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