I started performing, going to festivals and fairs, bars and karaoke contests ever since I was about 9 or 10. I came to Nashville with my little demo/karaoke CD and walked into every major record label and was like, ‘Hey! I’m Taylor. I’m 11. I want a record deal.’
At that point I realized that there are girls in Nashville, thousands of them, that are gorgeous, have amazing voices and could pretty much sing me off a cliff. I had to figure out a way to stand out. I picked up a guitar and started to write songs and play my own music. I figured, if I could walk into a room and play my own guitar and sing songs that I’ve written, they can’t touch that. I can literally not depend on anyone, creatively. That’s exactly what I did.
Nobody makes it the same way. There are hundreds of country artists and I can pretty much vouch for the fact that nobody “makes it” the same way. It’s always different. The way that I made it was that I was a songwriter first. I moved to Nashville and got a publishing deal with Sony, so I was a paid songwriter before I was a singer with a record deal. My advice is to just figure out who you are as an artist and what you bring. If you sound just like another artist, that’s not what you are looking for. You need to sound exactly like you.
-Taylor’s advice to an aspiring singer