Artist of the Decade: A Celebration of Taylor’s Swift’s Career


Olivia Naum, Staff Writer

The world has watched as Taylor Swift has evolved from a naive, yet “Fearless,” young breakout star into a woman who has built an enduring music empire. There is no denying the fact that Taylor Swift not only possesses musical and lyrical genius, but also an incredible work ethic. Writing most of her own music and meticulously crafting her brand’s image, she has orchestrated a career completely from her youthful ambitions and talent.

Taylor Swift, who holds over twenty awards, ten of which are Grammy’s, is a testament to her widespread allure and popularity. One of the most fascinating aspects about her career is the recreation of her identity with every album and her refusal to be defined by one genre. With her ever changing music she has maintained intrigue and long lasting appeal, allowing people to feel a connection to her. With the culmination of these qualities, she has received Artist of the Decade at the American Music Awards. Yet, what should be a momentous occasion, glittering with joy for Taylor Swift and her dedicated fans, has come with a dark overcast. 

In the summer of 2019, Taylor Swift reluctantly sold her past music to the Big Machine Records, in order to continue creating art in her own vision. Although she expected that her albums would be sold, she never anticipated Scooter Braun would acquire the rights to them. He was able to do so in a multi-million dollar purchase of the label, Big Machine Records. Taylor Swift has announced plans to re-record her previous albums and therefore earn the rights to all of her original music.  

Getty Images

With the immense excitement over the announcement that Taylor Swift was to receive Artist of the Decade, anticipation increased with the promised performance of a medley of her greatest hits. However, in the days leading up to her performance at the AMAs complications arose in relation to the events which occurred during the summer. Taylor Swift took to social media to uncover the situation in a heartbreaking post, where she stated that Big Machine Records “have said that I’m not allowed to perform my old songs on television because they claim that would be re-recording my music before I’m allowed to next year.” In her eloquent statement, she continued to advocate for the artists’ right of complete ownership and control over their work. During these events, she has begun a meaningful and needed conversation about manipulation in the entertainment industry, which has lead to artists losing jurisdiction of their craft. A multitude of noteworthy individuals such as, Selena Gomez, Cher, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez,  have reached out and showed support for Taylor Swift and the pressing issue at hand. As the impending drama of the situation began to tone down, Big Machine Record Label revealed that Taylor Swift is, in fact, allowed to perform her past songs. 

Approaching the 2019 AMA performance, speculations circulated on how she would show her enmity for the industry through her performance. In her usual fashion, no one was able to predict the monumental show she would give.

Taylor performing onstage at the AMA’s / Getty Images

At the commencement of the performance, Taylor Swift stood alone, at the center of everyone’s screen. She wore a plain top with stark black letters marching across, with the titles of the albums that she no longer legally owns; yet, with the powerful statement she unveiled that they will always be her creation. As the backup dancers, who were young girls, bounced onto the stage to join Swift, she continued signing her most recent hit, “The Man.” Taylor Swift’s choice to include young girls in her performance showcases her belief in supporting women and proving to them at a young age how invaluable their talents are. Therefore, she acts as a welcoming beacon and inspiration for teenagers to work toward their most ambitious aspirations. Taylor Swift then flowed into her ethereal and original major hit “Love Story.” In a quick transition to “I Knew You Were Trouble” with a fiery red backdrop and then “Blank Space,” the audience recalls the significance of these songs, as they catapulted her career into the pop music realm. With a burst of vibrant colors, she was joined by two other superstars, Camilla Cabello and Halsey, to sing the upbeat anthem, “Shake It Off.” Although Swift is the artist who was honored at the AMAs, she includes these artists to celebrate their accomplishments as well. Taylor Swift has continuously supported other women and even continued to do so on what is her career defining night. Concluding her performance, she played her recent ballad, “Lover” on the piano, reminiscent of her early years. In Swift’s detail oriented manner, intertwined with the swirling decorations on the piano, are written her albums, and a few chosen songs. To encompass her girl power theme of the night, famed ballerina, Misty Copeland gives an exquisite performance to the song. In her monumental AMA Artist of the Decade Performance, Taylor Swift highlights her achievements by paying tribute to her past and the people who have guided her while hinting at the path her career will soon take.