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Second Cup Cafe: Taylor Swift

Everything seems to have "swiftly" fallen into place for country music star Taylor Swift, who was featured in The Early Show's Second Cup Cafe Saturday.

With her Taylor Grand Auditorium acoustic guitar in hand and her knack for singing and songwriting, Swift has reached tremendous heights for her age - and is still climbing.

The 18-year-old Pennsylvania native, who grew up on a Christmas tree farm, started singing at the age of 10 at karoke contests, fairs and festivals in her hometown of Reading.

With the support of her family, she headed to Nashville at age 11 to pursue her dream.

By age 12, she was already writing songs with local songwriters in Nashville. Back in Pennsylvania, she landed an important gig singing the National Anthem at the U.S. Open tennis tournament, which got a lot of buzz.

By age 13, she was asked to sign a record deal, but turned it down.

After performing at Nashville's premier songwriters' café, The Bluebird Café, she was noticed by Scott Borchetta, who signed her onto Big Machine Records.

It turned out to be a smart move for Swift.

In 2006, Swift's self-titled debut album went triple-platinum and produced four Top Ten singles on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs, including the Number One single, "Our Song."

In addition, all four singles also reached Top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100. The album did so well that it was re-issued in late 2007 with a set of bonus tracks.

She says she's inspired by her grandmother, who was an opera singer, and by country singers LeAnn Rimes, Shania Twain and the Dixie Chicks.

Swift, who won last year's Breakthrough Video Award, won Female Video of the Year and Video of the Year for "Our Song" at the 2008 CMT (Country Music Television) Awards.

"I wrote that song in the ninth grade for a talent show," said Swift, who won the night's top honor over Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley and Sugarland.

"I never thought it would be on an album, never thought I'd record it, never thought it would be a single, never thought it would be No. 1, and certainly never thought it would win Video and Female Video of the Year."

Photos: On The Purple Carpet At The CMT Awards
Swift's hit songs "Tim McGraw," "Teardrops On My Guitar" and "Picture to Burn" have also helped her reach superstardom.

Her song "Tim McGraw" lead her to become the opening act for Tim McGraw and Faith Hill on their Soul2Soul 2007 tour.

In the past, Swift has also opened for country greats George Strait, Brad Paisley and Rascal Flatts.

On August 21, 2007, Swift performed live on the season finale of America's Got Talent.

The gifted singer, who was featured on Rolling Stone's "The Best of Rock 2008" issue, was nominated for a 2008 Grammy Award in the category of Best New Artist, but lost out to Amy Winehouse.
By Melissa Castellanos

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