Swift was born on December 13, 1989 in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania. She is the daughter of Andrea Gardner (née Finlay), a homemaker, and Scott Kingsley Swift, a stockbroker. Her maternal grandmother, Majorie Finlay, was an opera singer. Swift has a younger brother, Austin.
When Swift was in fourth grade, she won a national poetry contest with a three-page poem, "Monster In My Closet". At the age of ten, a computer repairman showed her how to play three chords on a guitar, sparking her interest in learning the instrument. Afterwards, Swift wrote her first song, "Lucky You". When Swift was 12, she devoted an entire summer to writing a 350-page novel, which remains unpublished. She began writing songs regularly and used it as an outlet to help her with her pain from not fitting in at school. Swift was a victim of bullying, and spent her time writing songs to express her emotions. She also started performing at local karaoke contests, festivals, and fairs.
Swift began to regularly visit Nashville, Tennessee and worked with local songwriters. When she was 14, her family relocated to Nashville, Tennessee. Her first major show was a well-received performance at the Bloomsburg Fair. In Tennessee, Swift attended Hendersonville High School, but was subsequently homeschooled for her junior and senior years. In 2008, she earned her high school diploma.
Swift's greatest musical influence is Shania Twain. Her other influences include LeAnn Rimes, Tina Turner, Dolly Parton, and her grandmother. Although her grandmother was a professional opera singer, Swift's tastes always leaned more toward country music. In her younger years, she developed a love for Patsy Cline and Dolly Parton.She also credits the Dixie Chicks for demonstrating the impact you can make by "stretching boundaries"
In 2008, Swift was in a relationship with pop singer Joe Jonas, which ended in October of that year. Swift indicated that her heartbreak song, "Forever & Always", on her album Fearless was inspired by Jonas.
In 2009, she referenced the rumors that she was dating actor Taylor Lautner during her monologue while hosting Saturday Night Live. The song "Back to December" off her album Speak Now, which Swift has described as an apology song, has been widely speculated to be dedicated to Lautner.
In late 2010, Swift briefly dated actor Jake Gyllenhaal. They split in early 2010
After releasing her 2010 album Speak Now, it was alleged that her song "Enchanted" was dedicated to Adam Young of Owl City. Young responded by posting a cover of the song on February 12, 2011 via his website, adding the lines: "I was enchanted to meet you too/I was never in love with someone else, I never had somebody waiting on me/Cause you were all of my dreams come true, And I just wish you knew/Taylor, I was so in love with you.
Swift has also been linked to singer/guitarist John Mayer. There has been speculation that the song "Dear John" from her album Speak Now is about Mayer, calling the latter out for an apparent relationship gone sour.