Taylor Swift sings about failed romances and the struggle for acceptance.
She is tall, lean and blonde. She's been the cover girl for multiple fashion magazines. Her midriff is covered, her style more conservative than flashy.
She is not selling sex appeal. She writes about her life. She records those songs. And she sings them in front of screaming, sell-out crowds nationwide.
Swift, 22, seems like just another young adult trying to find her niche in life. But she's found it already. She is one of the most successful country acts of all time.
The trend-setting, record-breaking singer-songwriter originally from near Reading, Pa., will perform at 7 p.m. May 11 and 12 at the Verizon Center in Washington. Presale tickets for those concerts go on sale Sunday, exactly six months before her concert. They will likely quickly sell out. Swift concerts typically do, often the first day tickets go on sale.
Her target demographic includes teenagers like Ruby Kinstle, of Westminster. Kinstle, a bespectacled blonde, is an eighth-grader at East Middle School. She is involved in theater and is a featured performer in the Carroll County Arts Council's production of the musical "Bugsy Malone Jr." at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Carroll Arts Center in Westminster.
Kinstle fashions Swift to be a role model. When Swift was Kinstle's age, she was already in Nashville attempting to become a breakthrough superstar.
"I have not found a single Taylor Swift song that doesn't relate to my life," she said.
Pick any Swift song. Chances are, the members of Kinstle's "Bugsy Malone" cast knows the lyrics, Kinstle said. Swift's had 56 singles reach Billboard Magazine's Hot 100 songs chart, which is based on radio plays and sales. Aretha Franklin is the only female artist with more Hot 100 hits than Swift since the chart's inception in 1958.
Swift's latest album "Red," released last month, sold more 1.2 million copies in its first week, the greatest number for any album since Eminem's "The Eminem Show" in 2002.
"We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together," the debut release from "Red," has become a crossover pop hit.
Kinstle's friend Stephanie Eckard first heard the song on the radio with her friends while they were traveling to Baltimore.
"We all just started singing along," she said.
While winning the approval of teens everywhere is pivotal, Swift's managed to do more than that. She has won Entertainer of the Year at the Country Music Association and Academy of Country Music Awards in a category where males almost always triumph.
Swift is one of just two female country artists to win multiple Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year Awards. She's won twice. So did Barbara Mandrell.
And her career is still just getting started. It's been just seven years since her debut album was released. During her meteoric rise, she's become a concert headliner and an artist capable of having multiple singles atop the iTunes Most Downloaded Songs chart.
And that's just fine with Kinstle and her friends. Next year, Kinstle will arrive at Winters Mill High School. And she'll no doubt be listening to Swift. She's not alone.
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"She is someone I feel like I can look up to," she said.