It's no exaggeration to say that Taylor Swift has taken the world by storm since she landed her record deal with Big Machine Label Group and released her self-titled debut album back in 2006: The country-turned-pop superstar has earned award after award, racked up countless platinum album certifications and No. 1 songs and become one of music's biggest superstars. Still, even Swift had to start somewhere -- and, below, she remembers being a brand-new artist waiting to hear herself on the radio.

I was 16, and the Big 98 [WSIX] in Nashville played "Tim McGraw" in a song challenge one evening. My high school friends and I all sat in my convertible with the top down in my driveway and blasted it. Then, listeners called in and said whether they liked it or not, and I remember being more nervous than I'd ever been. Thankfully, they said nice things. I'll never forget that feeling!

I moved [to Nashville] when I was in the end of my eighth grade year. I remember, back in Pennsylvania, it was kind of an oddity that I loved music and I was really trying to pursue it ... almost to the point where it set me apart from other kids, and I spent a lot of time alone. But when I moved to Hendersonville, [Tenn.], they didn't think it was a weird thing at all that I loved music that much. Their neighbors were producers, and their dad was a songwriter, so it wasn't such a big deal to them that I was so immersed in music. I loved that.

This story was originally written by Pat Gallagher, and revised by Angela Stefano.

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