Fearless in Philadelphia, charming in Charlottesville and inspiring new artists

(Source: Andrew Shurtleff/The Daily Progress)

In the latest news, Taylor Swift continues her unstoppable march and has now taken over hearts and minds in her home state of Pennsylvania, performing two shows in Philadelphia. She added Virginia to her conquest last night with a show in Charlottesville.

There’s no denying the Fearless One’s appeal, her stage presence, her almost intimate connection to fans to the point in which the media seems to be helpless in shattering. But they try.

This local review from The Philadelphia Enquirer is an overall positive one, if only a bit distant and with some subdued sarcasm. The article seems to give Pennsylvania-born Taylor his props… from his fans. There’s a bit of criticism against Taylor’s way to handle rejection and there’s the tired line of just calling her a pop artist, but this one little line slipped by:

Supported by a slick and subtle seven-piece ensemble, Swift was in fine vocal form.

-David Hiltbrand, The Philadelphia Enquirer

That’s not surprising to any member of the Taylor Nation. That slick and subtle seven-piece ensemble is none other than The Agency, by the way: Al, Amos, Caitlin, Grant, Liz, Mike and Paul.

In Charlottesville, home town for Amos J. Heller and Mike Meadows, there was a little bit of that and more blatant criticism. The article in The Richmond-Times Dispatch went directly to the throat with the affirmation that Taylor Swift is “not even close” to a good singer. However the reviewer was then stunned by actually hearing her sing and had to make the following statement:

Though at last night’s John Paul Jones Arena date, Swift’s reedy voice sounded remarkably tuneful – a bit surprising given those recent cringe-inducing TV awards performances.

-Melissa Ruggieri, The Richmond-Times Dispatch

Sounds really contradictory, right? The media says she’s a bad singer, then they go to her concert and she turns out to be good. Must be a fluke, right? Riiiight. We here at the Swift Agency (all one of us plus a Taylor Swift poster that is looking at me as if she were saying, “you’re not going to use that joke again, are you? It wasn’t funny the first ten times either.”) are not trying to convince anyone anymore. People will believe what they want to believe.

(Source: Andrew Shurtleff/The Daily Progress)

But record labels know better. In a trend inspired by Taylor Swift’s success, music labels in Nashville are signing on a new batch of country singers with an unmistakable common trait: they’re teenagers. As The Washington Post reports, even Swift’s own label, Big Machine Records, is now busy signing younger artists into their ranks. Scott Borchetta believes country radio remains an adult medium so the artists must know how to speak to both younger and older crowds.

“There definitely has to be an adult appeal,” Borchetta says, no matter how old — or young — the artist. “Taylor writes what I call naturally nostalgic [songs],” he says. “She’s talking right to her [peers], but if you’re [older], you say, ‘I remember feeling that way.’ ”

Lyric Street President Randy Goodman agrees. He has signed Tyler Dickerson, who will open for Brooks & Dunn farewell tour, The Last Rodeo. “I call this [threading] the camel through the eye of the needle,” says Goodman. “Country radio is programmed 90 percent by men predominantly in their 40s and 50s. The gatekeepers need to like [the song], then it has to research with women [35-54], but then I want to sell it to girls who are my [12-year-old] daughter’s age.” You can read more about this in The Washington Post.

(Source: Andrew Shurtleff/The Daily Progress)

Taylor Swift is headed for Michigan, where she will play two shows in Detroit on March 26 and 27. March 27 is also the night of the Kids Choice Awards that airs live in Nickelodeon. She’s up for Best Female Singer and Best Song for You Belong With Me and this is the last week you can vote so please make sure you vote for Taylor Swift! Since she’s got a concert that night, she won’t be attending but it could mean a remote acceptance speech from the stage.

I don’t do this often, but I want to send a shout-out to my twitter little sister, @CBM1334, who attended the concert in her native Charlottesville after winning the tickets in a contest. She had a blast and got a meet and greet with ACM’s Top New Vocal Group, Gloriana. She had one unforgettable night and then told us all about it. Congratulations, sis!

Here’s Taylor’s live performance of Today Was A Fairytale in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Thanks to Ckkgirl135 via YouTube for posting!

(Sources: The Philadelphia Enquirer, The Richmond-Times Dispatch, The Washington Post)