Daughter's talent takes family to Nashville
ALUMNI | To any of the more than 4 million owners of Fearless, country pop star Taylor Swift’s newest album, the song “The Best Day” is just a heartfelt track, but to one UD alumnus, it holds special meaning.
Scott Swift, a 1974 business graduate and father of the singer-songwriter who turns 20 this December, remembers the first time he heard the song—on Christmas Eve. Written to his wife, Andrea, as a Christmas gift, “The Best Day” also mentions Scott and Taylor’s 17-year-old brother, Austin.
“It was a complete surprise, and we didn’t realize it was her song at first,” Scott says. Although the song is dedicated to Andrea, who accompanies Taylor on tour, her dad does get an honorable mention.
“I have an excellent father; his strength is making me stronger,” Taylor sings on the track, which reminisces about her childhood and time spent with her mother. Fearless won Album of the Year honors from the Academy of Country Music, making Taylor the youngest artist in history to win the award.
Her success, including her recent performance at the Video Music Awards and total album sales topping 10 million, has shown the world how talented she is, but Scott says he and his family have known about her musical gifts since his daughter was a toddler.
“She was always singing music when she was 3, 5, 6, 7 years old,” he says.
The family first realized her talent for writing when Taylor received an assignment in elementary school to write a two-sentence essay. Instead, she handed in a two- page composition, Scott says, and her teacher told the Swifts there was something different about Taylor that she had never seen before.
“We had a kid that was really passionate about it, and when she was 13 she got a development deal at RCA,” he says. “Her writing is why she got it.”
The family then moved from Pennsylvania to Nashville, Tenn., with Scott relocating his business, the Swift Group at Merrill Lynch, where he has worked for 30 years and is now a first vice president. He stays home with Austin, who he says is also a huge success as a photographer for Getty Images with photos in Rolling Stone and People magazines, while Andrea tours with Taylor.
Scott says Taylor’s success has brought him word from many other UD alumni. To get back in touch with old friends, he says jokingly, “You can either go on classmates.com or have a daughter who sells 10 million CDs.”
And, he has stayed in contact over the years with a group of his fellow Brown residence hall alumni, who still meet up once a year for a reunion. One of them, Michael DiMuzio, BE ’76, facilities manager for the Philadelphia Phillies, remains a close friend. It was DiMuzio who gave Taylor the opportunity to sing the national anthem at the 2008 World Series.
Scott says his ties to UD remain as close as ever.
“I’ve heard from a lot of great alumni, and I’m convinced they live in every city, because whenever Taylor’s rolling into wherever she is, we’ll hear from them,” he says. “It’s really powerful.”
Article by Erica Cohen, AS ’11