Ten years ago today, a fresh-faced young artist sent her debut single out into the world. Taylor Swift was a curly-haired 16-year-old when she released "Tim McGraw," a twangy, 100% country song about what remains after a relationship fades. Now, Taylor Swift is one of the most powerful, most influential contemporary pop artists in the world.
In those 10 years, she's officially released 35 singles, and all but three of them have made it into the Top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 Charts. To say Taylor Swift is a powerhouse would be a massive understatement. But being a powerhouse isn't what makes a pop star interesting. Pop stars build a career from scraps into an empire. There's a process, a method to the apparent madness.
When we look at the 35 singles Taylor Swift has released, we see how carefully her reign has been built: the almost seamless transition from country twang to glittering pop, the carefully written songs, the fondness for bridges and G major. But it also screams of intentionality, something Taylor Swift—and almost every female pop star—is far too often accused of not having.
In honor of the first decade of Taylor Swift's career, we made seven charts that explain just what makes her so popular:
Kelsey McKinney is a culture staff writer for Fusion.