Category: Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift pledges $4 million for Country Hall's education center

Taylor Swift is pledging $4 million for new education center at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
Taylor Swift, the country superstar who became a professional songwriter at 14, scored a record deal at 15 and released her first album at 16, is kicking in $4 million toward the creation of an education center that will bear her name at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, part of the museum’s $75-million expansion.

The Taylor Swift Educational Center will increase the museum’s educational facilities seven-fold, officials said in announcing her pledge Thursday.

“Taylor Swift represents country music’s best traditions,” museum Director Kyle Young said in a statement. “By stepping forward to fund our education center, she has once again demonstrated that she has an eye on our industry’s future. …It is not an overstatement to say that the Taylor Swift Education Center will have a profound impact on our museum, our new campus, our city and even our country.  It will truly be the heart of our living museum, educating and inspiring young people and families, teaching them country music history and helping them to make meaningful connections between the music and their own lives.”

It is being designed to include three classrooms and a children’s exhibition gallery. The museum’s capital campaign has raised $56.8 million to date. The expansion is scheduled to be completed early in 2014.

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-- Randy Lewis

Photo: Taylor Swift receives Nickelodeon's Big Help Award in March from First Lady Michelle Obama. Swift was honored for her philanthropic work. Credit: Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images.

 

Taylor Swift's absentee awards show date is cancer patient

Taylor Swift won entertainer of the year at the 2012 Academy of Country Music Awards
While accepting her second consecutive entertainer of the year award to cap Sunday’s Academy of Country Music Awards ceremony, Taylor Swift probably left more than a few viewers scratching their heads at her remark from the stage about her date who couldn’t join her.

After thanking fans whose votes landed her the ACM’s top honor, she said, “We work hard and we try to give back. Recently, I have been aware of a different struggle that is going on. My date tonight was supposed to be a high school football player named Kevin McGuire, and he is not here. But I promised him I’d give him a shout-out. So Kevin and all your family and friends, thank you for wanting to take me to the ACMs.”

She was talking about McGuire, a Somerdale, N.J., 18-year-old who has leukemia. His sister, Victoria, had launched a Facebook page in February hoping to persuade Taylor to attend his high school prom.

Swift responded with a post that said, "Kevin, I'm so sorry but I won't be able to make it to your prom. But I was wondering, the ACM Awards are coming up. Would you be my date? Love, Taylor."

On Saturday, his sister posted an update that her brother was too ill to attend.

"I am so sorry to announce this devastating news, but Kevin was admitted to the hospital last night, and is unable to attend the Academy of Country Music Awards with Taylor Swift,” she wrote. “As we should all live by the motto 'live for today,' a cancer patient feels the impact of these words far too hard. We appreciate everything you have done for us, and we know you are all hurt from this too. ... As for Taylor, she is just as depressed as all of us to miss out on this date, and we are so thankful for the opportunity she has given us."

Following that announcement, Swift tweeted, "Just talked to Kevin McGuire. He's not well enough to join me at the ACMs. Please keep him in your thoughts. I'll make it up to you, Kevin!"

McGuire, who was out of the hospital by Sunday and watched the show with family members at an Applebee's restaurant, told the Cherry Hill, N.J. Courier-Post, "I was perfectly fine the last two months. I didn't [get] sick or even sneeze. Before my flight I got sick. Someone out there, somehow, didn't want me going." Following a week of chemotherapy, he explained, "I had a fever and low blood counts. They're still pretty low. I'm trying to stay away from people."

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Swift, Lambert big winners at Academy of Country Music Awards

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-- Randy Lewis

Photo: Taylor Swift with her second consecutive entertainer of the year award from the Academy of Country Music. Credit: Isaac Brekken / Associated Press.

Swift, Lambert big winners at Academy of Country Music Awards

Taylor Swift

The 47th Academy of Country Music Awards became a mini-reality show of its own on Sunday in Las Vegas: There was a bona fide onstage wedding, the surreal meeting of cartoonish hard rock band KISS and country trio Lady Antebellum, and Toby Keith singing a loopy love song to a plastic beverage container with help from Wayne Newton and Carrot Top.

The offbeat moments shared the stage with multiple award-winners Miranda Lambert, Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson and the announcement of the night's top honor, entertainer of the year, which went to Taylor Swift.

“Thank you so much to the fans who voted for this, I am so happy about this,” said Swift, who also received the award last year. “I want to say to my fellow nominees: I respect you so much. I love you.”

PHOTOS: The 47th Academy of Country Music Awards

Texas-bred singer and one-time “Nashville Star” contestant Lambert added two more ACM Awards to her mantel, taking female vocalist and album of the year honors.

After her fourth album, “Four the Record,” was selected over efforts by Kenny Chesney, Aldean, Lady Antebellum and Eric Church, Lambert came to the stage in a floor-length gold lame dress and asked, “Seriously? I own every record in this category and I've been thinking ‘Man, I'm not going to get it.' … I am so thrilled, I will never take this trophy for granted. My albums are my babies.”

“Don't You Want to Stay,” the hit duet by Aldean and the first “American Idol” winner, Clarkson, won for single record and vocal event of the year. Aldean said Clarkson had been his first choice as a duet partner: “She made a great song and took it to a new place.”

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Grammys 2012: Taylor Swift can get 'Mean' too

Taylor Swift performing at the 2012 Grammys

Noted music-industry gadfly Bob Lefsetz is rumored to have been the subject of Taylor Swift’s single “Mean.” But despite an ostensibly Lefsetz-friendly crowd of music biz veterans at Staples for the 2012 Grammy Awards, Swift seemed to make several thousand allies when she took the writer to task in her lyrics.

Swift, looking especially radiant in a gold gown and straightened hair, directed the lyrics of "Mean" to implicitly rebut Lefsetz's charges that “she can’t sing,” calling the tune’s subject “a liar” and “pathetic.”

Plenty of audience members at Staples clutched their proverbial pearls in recognition that one of their own was in the song's cross-hairs.

PHOTOS: Best and worst at the Grammys

But Swift has a way of elevating sly in-song gossip to something like myth, and the massive Grammy platform only made her riposte feel more charged.

"Mean" won two Grammys for country solo performance and country song (a relatively small haul given her dominant 2010 Grammys), and Swift's wink-nudge reference -- OK, more like a cannon-sized warning shot -- got the crowd to its feet.

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PHOTOS: Grammy Awards red carpet

Adele's magnificent return to the stage

Lady Antebellum wins for country album

The most bloated Grammys show ever?

Adele is affirmed, Whitney Houston is grieved

 --August Brown

Taylor Swift, center, performs during the 54th annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 12, 2012, in Los Angeles. Credit: Matt Sayles / Associated Press

Kenny Chesney, Jason Aldean lead country music awards nominations

Kenny Chesney and Grace Potter are nominated for multiple Academy of Country Music Awards
Kenny Chesney has come roaring back in terms of industry recognition with a field-dominating nine nominations for this year's Academy of Country Music Awards.

The runner-up for most nods was Jason Aldean, who collected six, ahead of Lady Antebellum with five, Brad Paisley with four and Taylor Swift, Toby Keith, Grace Potter and the Eli Young Band with three apiece, academy officials announced Thursday.

Newer-vintage performers such as Miranda Lambert and Zac Brown scored the most nominations last year, but Chesney this year is up for entertainer of the year, male vocalist and song of the year, plus double dips under the ACM's rules recognizing performers who also are producers, for his album "Hemingway’s Whiskey," his hit single (with Grace Potter) "You and Tequila" and vocal event for the same song.

Chesney, Swift, Aldean and Paisley are joined by Blake Shelton vying for the ACM's top trophy, entertainer of the year, which went to Swift last year.

Swift also is in the running again in the female vocalist category, along with repeat nominees Sara Evans, Lambert, Martina McBride and Carrie Underwood, while Aldean, Chesney, Paisley, Shelton and Chris Young are up for male vocalist honors.

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Taylor Swift, Foo Fighters to perform at Grammys, but WWKWD?

Taylor Swift in SHOCK mode

Producers for the Grammy Awards have begun unveiling performers for its Feb. 12 telecast, starting with a pair of album of the year nominees -- rock act the Foo Fighters and R&B chameleon Bruno Mars. Also named among the initial crop of performers were country star Jason Aldean, former "American Idol" winner Kelly Clarkson, rapper Nicki Minaj and country-influenced pop star Taylor Swift, who no doubt acted with wide-eyed surprise at merely being asked to appear at the ceremony. 

To maximize media attention, the Recording Academy will roll out the Grammy performing litter throughout the weeks leading up to the ceremony. It is typical for all album of the year nominees to perform, so it's all but guaranteed that future news releases will announce performances from Rihanna and Lady Gaga. The only question mark among this year's top nominees is whether or not soul singer Adele will be cleared by doctors to perform. 

When it comes to who will or won't perform, perhaps the most tantalizing questions remain not in whether reunited acts such as the Beach Boys or Van Halen will appear -- likely with younger acts with whom they have little in common (ahem, Swift and Stevie Nicks) -- but is once again WWKWD (What Will Kanye West Do?).

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U2 is tops again in concert and music-sales revenue

The Irish band tops Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga for concert and music-sales revenues.

Bono-U2
Demonstrating that there's no substitute for the live concert experience, U2 has once again taken the crown in Calendar's annual Ultimate Top 10, a ranking that combines concert revenue with sales of recorded music.

U2 amassed $160.8 million for 2011, well ahead of runner-up Taylor Swift, whose combined earnings came to $126.8 million. Lady Gaga was the only other act to top $100 million, posting $109.4 million to place third. Country music road warrior Kenny Chesney landed in fourth place with $98.5 million. The year's blockbuster album and singles sales champ, Adele, pulled in at fifth place with $92.8 million, a figure that certainly would have been higher if vocal cord problems hadn't forced her to cancel big chunks of her 2011 tour itinerary.

Figures are drawn from Pollstar's recently published tallies of North American box office revenues and Nielsen SoundScan's tracking of retail music sales in the U.S. The Ultimate Top 10 uses figures from North America because they are tracked more reliably than in many other parts of the world. But most of these musicians pulled in even more than these totals with ever-expanding ancillary income sources such as tour merchandise, product endorsements, video game sales, ring tones and clothing and jewelry lines.

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U2, Taylor Swift have highest-grossing concert tours of 2011

U2 has highest-grossing concert tour of 2011. In North America, Taylor Swift is second, followed by Kenny Chesney, Lady Gaga and Bon Jovi.

Taylor Swift, Bono
U2's final spate of shows on its massive “360 Tour” lands as the top-grossing tour of 2011 across North America and throughout the world, according to Pollstar, the concert-industry tracking magazine.

The Irish quartet, which had to postpone a significant chunk of shows that had been scheduled in 2010 when singer Bono injured his back, roared back in 2011, pulling in $156 million from 25 shows in 21 cities in North America. Worldwide the group logged $231.9 million from 34 shows in 26 cities.

U2 was the only act to cross the $100-million mark in North America, but pop-country princess Taylor Swift came close with$97.7 million for her “Speak Now” tour, which visited 59 cities for 80 performances.

PHOTOS: Top 10 concert tours of 2011

The rest of the Top 5 for the continent are country superstar Kenny Chesney, who grossed $84.6 million, Lady Gaga ($63.7 million) and the previous year's touring crown winner Bon Jovi. The New Jersey rock band registered $57.1 million during 34 shows in 27 cities, down from $108.2 million in 2010 racked up during a more intensive year of touring that logged 51 shows in 38 cities.

Rounding out the Top 10 are Elton John ($51.8 million), Sade ($48.6 million), Kanye West and Jay-Z's “The Throne” tour ($48.3 million), Lil Wayne ($44.4 million) and Celine Dion ($41.2 million).
Overall Pollstar's preliminary figures for the Top 25 tours showed total gross ticket revenue of $1.19 billion, down about 4% from the $1.24 billion tallied in 2010 in North America. Worldwide, the figures were nearly identical year to year at $2.1 billion.

“Although the overall dollar volume was down in 2011, the industry fared much better doing fewer shows and taking a more cautious approach in its objectives,” Pollstar editor Gary Bongiovanni said in a statement issued along with the revenue figures. Pollstar's complete report on the Top 200 tours of the year is scheduled to be released Jan. 5.

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CMA Awards: Taylor Swift, Jason Aldean, Band Perry win top honors

Taylor Swift at the CMAs
Nashville’s Country Music Assn. has a well-deserved reputation for déjà vu, having doled out the same awards to the same performers year after year across much of its nearly half-century history. But this year the CMA apparently decided that it’s time to bring some new blood into its ranks, heaping multiple awards on relative newcomers Jason Aldean and the Band Perry, yet saving its top award for Taylor Swift, naming the 21-year-old singer and songwriter entertainer of the year.

Aldean, country music’s unrequited best man for several years -- he's had just one previous CMA nomination -- finally made it to the altar himself as his “My Kinda Party” was named album of the year Wednesday at the 45th CMA Awards. It was a decisive vote of confidence for the Macon, Ga., singer, who got the nod over Swift and her blockbuster “Speak Now” album, which last fall became the first collection in 5½ years in any genre to sell more than 1 million copies during its first week of release. 

“My Kinda Party,” however, is the top-selling country album of 2011 with sales of more than 2 million copies to date; Swift’s album, which has logged nearly double that figure at 3.8 million, was released at the end of 2010.  Aldean, whose four studio albums have sold more than 5 million copies collectively, also received the trophy for musical event for his duet “Don’t You Wanna Stay” with the first “American Idol” winner, Kelly Clarkson.

PHOTOS: CMA Awards 2011 | Red carpet arrivals

The Band Perry won for new artist, and its hit single “If I Die Young” picked up single and song of the year honors for its heart-tugging exploration of youths who feel overlooked or taken for granted, something the young sibling trio doesn’t have to worry about now.

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Taylor Swift, Brad Paisley are among top CMA Award nominees

Brad Paisley will host the CMA Awards
Brad Paisley, Taylor Swift, Blake Shelton and Jason Aldean top the roster of nominees for the 45th Country Music Assn. Awards with five apiece. Right behind them with four nominations each are Kimberly Perry of the Band Perry and Zac Brown Band members Brown and Coy Bowles.

The CMA’s top award -- for entertainer of the year -- will have Swift, Shelton, Paisley and Aldean vying with Keith Urban. Album of the year nominees are Swift’s “Speak Now,” Shelton’s  “All About Tonight,” Paisley’s “This Is Country Music,” Zac Brown Band’s “You Get What You Give” and Aldean’s “My Kinda Party.”

The awards will be handed out Nov. 9 in a ceremony that ABC-TV will broadcast from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena. The show will be hosted for the fourth time by Paisley and Carrie Underwood.

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-- Randy Lewis

Photo: Brad Paisley, who will co-host the 45th Country Music Assn. Awards in Nashville in October and is up for five awards, is shown during a 2010 concert at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times.

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