The legendary Carole King presents the award for Artist of the Decade to Taylor Swift at ‘The 2019 American Music Awards.’ Watch performances and highlights from the 2019 AMAs on ABC.com and in the ABC app!
Taylor Swift is an American singer-songwriter. She is known for narrative songs about her personal life, which have received widespread media coverage. Born and raised in Reading, Pennsylvania, Swift moved to Nashville, Tennessee at the age of 14 to pursue a career in country music.
She signed with label Big Machine Records and became the youngest artist signed by the Sony/ATV Music publishing house. Her 2006 eponymous debut album was the longest-charting album of the 2000s in the U.S., where it peaked at number five. The album’s third single, “Our Song”, made her the youngest person to single-handedly write and perform a number-one song on the Hot Country Songs chart. Swift’s second album, Fearless, was released in 2008. Buoyed by the success of pop crossover singles “Love Story” and “You Belong with Me”, Fearless became the best-selling album of 2009 in the U.S. The album won four Grammy Awards, and Swift became the youngest Album of the Year winner.
Swift was the sole writer of her 2010 album Speak Now. It debuted at number one in the U.S., and the single “Mean” won two Grammy Awards. Her fourth album, Red (2012), yielded the singles “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” and “I Knew You Were Trouble”. For her fifth album, the pop-focused 1989 (2014), she received three Grammys and became the first woman and fifth act overall to win Album of the Year twice.
Its singles “Shake It Off”, “Blank Space”, and “Bad Blood” reached number one in the U.S., Australia, and Canada. The first two made Swift the first woman in the Billboard Hot 100’s history to succeed herself at the top spot. Her sixth album, Reputation (2017), and its lead single, “Look What You Made Me Do”, topped the UK and U.S. charts; with the release of Reputation, Swift became the first act to have four albums sell one million copies within one week in the U.S. Her seventh album, Lover (2019), spawned two U.S. number-two singles, “Me!” and “You Need to Calm Down”.
Having sold more than 50 million albums—including 32 million in the U.S.—and 150 million singles, Swift is one of the best-selling music artists of all time. As a songwriter, she has received awards from the Nashville Songwriters Association and the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and was included in Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time in 2015.
Her other accolades include 10 Grammy Awards, one Emmy, 24 American Music Awards, 23 Billboard Music Awards, six Guinness world records, and appearances in Time’s 100 most influential people in the world (2010, 2015, 2019). She also ranked first in the Forbes Celebrity 100 (2016 and 2019), and was the youngest to be featured in the magazine’s listing of the 100 most powerful women (2015). In 2019, Billboard placed Swift on number 8 of its list of Greatest of All Time Artists, the highest for an artist that started in the 21st century.
Meanwhile, Carole King is an American singer-songwriter who has been active since 1958, initially as one of the staff songwriters at the Brill Building and later as a solo artist. She is the most successful female songwriter of the latter half of the 20th century in the US, having written or co-written 118 pop hits on the Billboard Hot 100. King also wrote 61 hits that charted in the UK, making her the most successful female songwriter on the UK singles charts between 1952 and 2005.
King’s major success began in the 1960s when she and her first husband, Gerry Goffin, wrote more than two dozen chart hits, many of which have become standards, for numerous artists. She has continued writing for other artists since then. King’s success as a performer in her own right did not come until the 1970s, when she sang her own songs, accompanying herself on the piano, in a series of albums and concerts. After experiencing commercial disappointment with her debut album Writer, King scored her breakthrough with the album Tapestry, which topped the U.S. album chart for 15 weeks in 1971 and remained on the charts for more than six years.
King has made 25 solo albums, the most successful being Tapestry, which held the record for most weeks at No. 1 by a female artist for more than 20 years. Her record sales were estimated at more than 75 million copies worldwide. She has won four Grammy Awards and was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for her songwriting. She is the recipient of the 2013 Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, the first woman to be so honored. She is also a 2015 Kennedy Center Honoree.
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