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Flashback: Taylor Swift Makes her Grand Ole Opry Debut at 16 Years Old


On September 1, 2006, a 16-year-old named Taylor Swift stepped on stage at the Grand Ole Opry for the first time to play her debut single "Tim McGraw." The songwriter's self-titled album wouldn't be released until October 2006, but this performance kick-started her long career of success in the country-pop world.

You can watch behind-the-scenes footage of Swift's Opry debut above.

The thought of a teenage singer-songwriter seemed a bit ludicrous, but Big Machine, her label, knew she was the next big thing. Her first single, "Tim McGraw," shot to the No. 6 spot on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. Her next single "Teardrops on My Guitar" peaked at No. 2, but her third single "Our Song" gave the teen her first No. 1 hit. The album went on to sell over 5 million copies.


Swift continued to perform on the Opry stage until the release of her 2014 album 1989 that made her an international pop star. After a 7 year break from Nashville, the artist made a return to the most famous stage in country music for the 55th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards ceremony. With just her guitar in hand, Swift performed a flawless rendition of her song "betty" from her album folklore.

Swift performed alongside some of country music's biggest superstars: Kane Brown, Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Luke Combs, Dan + Shay, Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood,  Maren Morris and more.

In 2013, Swift performed at the ACM Awards with Tim McGraw and Keith Urban to perform the hit single "Highway Don't Care." Her most recent project, the recording of her country album Fearless (Taylor's Version), put her name back on the country charts. It became the first of its kind to ever top the Billboard Hot 200 chart.


The Grammy Award-winning artist isn't slowing down. In 2021, she released Red (Taylor's Version), a re-recording of her acclaimed 2012 country album, featuring "All Too Well," "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together," "I Bet You Think About Me" (featuring Chris Stapleton) and more.


Editor's Note: This article was originally published in July of 2021. 

READ MORE: 'I Bet You Think About Me': The Story Behind Taylor Swift's Cheeky 'Drinking Song'

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