Taylor Swift is a household name, but it wasn’t always that way. Every pop star has to start somewhere, even Swift. The 28-year-old has been in the spotlight for over 10 years thanks to one fateful impromptu gig at the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, Tennesee.
Swift’s come to fame story is pretty well known. The Pennsylvania native moved to Nashville at 14 to pursue music. The former country singer started seriously writing music and performing with her guitar in tow. She was in the eighth grade when she was discovered at the Bluebird Cafe and the rest is history.
She returned to the cafe that changed her life on Saturday. Her performance was a secret but was filmed for Bluebird Cafe’s 35th-anniversary documentary. She crashed famous country music writer and her good friend Craig Wiseman’s set. Wiseman knew Swift was going to come and perform, but the audience did not.
“I wanted to say a big thank you to the Bluebird Cafe,” Swift said, according to the Tennessean. “I think any songwriter in town would echo my sentiments and say that this is kind of the only place where this exists – this particular place where you get to come and hear the writer’s take on the songs they’ve put out into the world.”
She sang “Shake It Off,” “Love Story” and Little Big Town’s hit song that she wrote for them, “Better Man.” An intimate concert with Swift, where she’s performing her old hits is rare enough. But to see her sing “Better Man” is on another level.
“When I would play writers nights … I didn’t have the experience of a writer writing something and then it going out into the world and you earing it from someone else’s perspective until recently,” Swift said about “Better Man.” “Little Big Town gave me the opportunity to feel that way … to be at the Bluebird and play a song you’ve maybe heard on the radio. I will always be forever grateful to them for that.”
The night wasn’t all about singing though. Wiseman and Swift shared some hilarious memories. One was about Swift getting drunk off of Fireball at his CMT afterparty. The story ended with them doing shots of Fireball on stage.
Swift also embarrassed Wiseman for not co-writing one of her biggest songs ever. She told the story about how she went to go meet with him when she was 17. She played for him a couple of verses and a chorus of a song she was working on along with a few backups. He didn’t “get” the fragmented song she came with so they wrote something else. But Swift on her own went on to finish the song on her own, she ended up writing “Love Story.”
It doesn’t matter if Swift is playing for a small cafe in Nashville that sits 40 or a sold-out stop at one of her worldwide stadium tours, she always delivers.