In 2023, it was an incredibly radiant year for Taylor Swift. She stood out among nine finalists, surpassing figures such as OpenAI CEO Altman and several world leaders, to be named Time magazine’s Person of the Year for 2023. She also made history as the first solo artist to be chosen as Time magazine’s Person of the Year in the 96 years of the publication’s tradition.
In a lengthy essay introducing Taylor Swift, Time magazine’s editor-in-chief, Sam Jacobs, delved into the reasons behind her selection. She stated, “Taylor Swift has the ability to bring hope to people around the world even in very dark times. Taylor Swift finds a way to transcend boundaries and become a source of light. There is no one else on Earth today who can touch as many people as she does.”
Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour, launched in 2023, shattered attendance and revenue records for concert tours. Every city she visited experienced an economic boost due to her presence, single-handedly driving the U.S. economy. This tour propelled her into the realm of billionaires, making her the first musician in history to achieve this status solely through music.
Not only did she amass considerable wealth, but she also generously shared it with her team. When the tour’s revenue surpassed the billion-dollar mark, she personally wrote a letter and handed out $100,000 bonuses to everyone who worked tirelessly for her concerts, distributing a total of $55 million.
Beyond the economic impact and job creation, Taylor Swift’s music itself has influenced and inspired countless individuals. Her songs resonate and provide comfort to people going through specific stages in life.
Why Taylor Swift? Why has she not only remained popular since 2006 but continued to rise to greater heights? Yes, her talent is dazzling. She is one of the world’s best-selling musicians, with record sales exceeding 200 million. She boasts more chart-topping albums than any other female artist and has garnered numerous music awards. She is also one of the few artists who write all of their own songs, having only covered one song in her extensive catalog of work.
Her life experiences are truly inspiring. Despite numerous high-profile individuals attempting to bring her and her career down, she paid them no mind. In an interview with Time magazine, she said, “Trash takes itself out every single time.” She wasn’t always this sharp. She used to be a people-pleasing good girl, careful with her words. After hitting rock bottom, she underwent a phoenix-like rebirth, no longer seeking approval, and lived authentically.
Furthermore, if you closely analyze her lyrics, you’ll find that she excels at storytelling. The most influential people are often the best storytellers. Taylor Swift’s songs tell the stories of her own growth and thoughts, including tales of a girl secretly in love, confronting news of her mother’s cancer, standing up and fighting back after being hurt by others, and the stories of love and heartbreak.
This is why her fan base is so extensive, and their loyalty is incredibly strong. Through her songs, she showcases her vulnerability, struggles, and how she rises from the ashes time and time again. When she tells her own story, she is, in fact, telling the stories of countless others. It is these authentic stories that create a unique connection between her and her fans. Although she may not know every fan personally, over the past 17 years, they seem to have experienced life’s ups and downs together through her music.
In 2023, a challenging year with the world continuing to divide, wars escalating, and concerns about the rapid development of artificial intelligence, Taylor Swift became a beacon transcending borders. Through her stories, she connects hearts and influences the world with her voice.
No matter where you are or what you’re doing, you can live your story well and tell it effectively. At the very least, you have the power to influence those around you, spreading love, goodness, and hope.