Taylor Swift & Her Greatest Musical Influences

Taylor Swift is undoubtedly one of the most successful and recognizable figures in contemporary music. With over 114 million records sold worldwide and numerous awards and accolades, including 12 Grammy Awards (and 46 nominations), she has achieved immense commercial success and critical acclaim. Her music has a wide appeal, spanning genres such as country, pop, and folk. Oh, and if you’re trying to get tickets to the latest Taylor Swift tour – good luck! Despite the astronomical prices of concert tickets these days, Taylor manages to practically sell out the biggest stadiums in the world.

In addition to her musical achievements, Taylor Swift has also been recognized for her activism and philanthropy, particularly in areas such as education, disaster relief, and LGBTQ+ rights.

So, it is safe to say that Taylor Swift has made a significant impact on the music industry and popular culture in general, and she remains a prominent figure in contemporary music.


Who inspires Taylor Swift to create?

In this blog, we’ll be examining some of the artists that Taylor, herself, has credited as sources of her inspiration. The truth of the matter is, whether you’re a beginner or a musical legend, you’ve got a list of artists whose work lights a fire inside you. So, you might be surprised by some of Taylor’s! Let’s take a look at some songs you can learn from some of her favorite creators.

Note: These artists are in no particular order!

1. The Chicks (previously known as Dixie Chicks)

Taylor Swift hasn’t been shy about crediting The Chicks as one of her biggest musical and character influences. She states that The Chicks were exemplary in demonstrating how powerful feminism could be in a musical context. In an interview Taylor did with Billboard, she singled out the song, “Goodbye Earl” as one song that brought her an important revelation: that “female rage” can be a potent bonding factor between women.

In this lesson from D.J. Phillips, you’ll learn how to play “Goodbye Earl” note-for-note. For the breakdown with tab & notation, check out the full lesson on JamPlay!

2. Paul McCartney – A Taylor Swift Top 2

Paul McCartney is the No. 1 musical influence for countless guitarists, bassists, and songwriters alike. Well, Paul almost made the cut as Taylor Swift’s top pick; apparently he is second in line to cats as her all-time greatest influence. In more than one interview, Taylor has talked about her admiration for Paul’s music and lifelong musical career. Fortunately for her, Paul is also a Taylor Swift fan! The two even posed together for the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine in 2020.

In this lesson from Dennis Hodges, you’ll learn how to play one of Paul McCartney’s most famous songs: “Yesterday.” Although the song was published as a Beatles single in 1965 and credit was given to Lennon-McCartney, Paul was the primary songwriter on this timeless tune. For the breakdown with tab & notation, check out the full lesson on JamPlay!

3. Joni Mitchell – A Feminist Hero

Dubbed one of the greatest songwriters of all time, Joni Mitchell is a beloved icon of the folk music genre. Her lyrical honesty is enough to make you fall in love with her unorthodox compositions. As Taylor Swift aspired for lyrical greatness and a sense of feminist empowerment, Joni Mitchell was a source of inspiration. Taylor has not only covered Joni Mitchell’s music before, but she was even rumored to prospectively portray the 70s songwriter in a biopic (though some sources say this casting idea was scrapped).

In this lesson, Mark Brennan teaches you how to play one of Joni Mitchell’s hits, “Big Yellow Taxi” on guitar. For the note-for-note breakdown of this lesson, check out Mark’s full song lesson on JamPlay.

4. Fall Out Boy – An All-Time Taylor Swift Favorite

Early in the age of Taylor Swift, a band called Fall Out Boy emerged as an outlier in the emo/alternative rock scene. Though from very different musical worlds, Taylor has noted that Fall Out Boy (sometimes shortened to “FOB”) has had a massive influence on her lyric writing. In 2013, T-Swift and FOB joined forces to perform at the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.

Ready to learn an alternative classic? Follow along with Allen Van Wert as he demonstrates how to play “Dance, Dance” by Fall Out Boy. For the full lesson, check out Allen’s course on JamPlay.

5. John Mayer – The Ex Who Inspired Greatness

This last one may be a bit controversial for some obvious reasons. In the event you aren’t in-the-know, John Mayer is an ex-boyfriend of Taylor Swift. The relationship, which took place between 2009-2010, was very high profile and short-lived. However, things became contentious after both Taylor and John released their own diss tracks about each other and their perceived failures in the relationship. Nevertheless, before the all of the drama unfolded, John had an influence on Taylor’s writing, and she had an influence on his. In fact, they released a song together, “Half Of My Heart,” which aptly describes a couple with commitment issues.

In this lesson, Nick Greathouse shows you how to play John Mayer’s 2003 hit, “Daughters.” For the note-for-note breakdown of the song’s parts with tab, check out Nick’s full lesson on JamPlay.

For more Song Lessons, check out JamPlay.com! JamPlay has over 450 guitar courses from 120+ instructors, and online guitar lessons tailored to every skill level, music genre, and playing style. Click here to learn more.

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