Last night, Toby Keith passed away after an ongoing battle with stomach cancer. Since the news broke this morning, fans from all around the world are taking the time to share cherished memories of the country music legend. Taylor Swift’s very first TV-interview is also making the rounds because, in it, she discusses Keith and his impact on her career.
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Swift first broke into country music when she was only 15 years old — but making that happen wasn’t easy. She’d go door to door at Nashville record labels trying to get them to listen to her CDs. Eventually, she learned to play the guitar and wrote her own songs. She’d perform them at local venues, like the Bluebird Cafe, where she got the attention of Scott Borchetta.
15-Year-Old Taylor Swift Raves Over Toby Keith in Her First Interview
Although Borchetta wanted to sign Swift, his record label wasn’t up and running yet — that’s where Keith comes in to the story. Both Borchetta and Keith left DreamWorks Records at the same time, both with the goal of starting their own label.
At first, Keith’s lebel was called Show Dog Nashville. But soon enough, the two of them joined forces to cerate Big Machine Label Group. Swift was the first artist signed to the label in 2005.
“You’re in the room with him and you can feel it — there’s a power there,” a then 15-year-old Swift shares. “… I don’t think I’ll ever get to a point where I don’t see him and are just like ‘oh my God that’s Toby Keith.”
Although the group went on to split in 2006, that doesn’t change the impact Keith had on the trajectory of Swift’s career. It goes to show that the impact this country star had expanded far beyond his own music.
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