5 years ago, on this exact day, one of my biggest dreams came true. I've never really talked about this a whole lot because for one thing my 11 year old self is kind of embarrassing haha. But today I'm feel particularly nostalgic so I figured I'd share it with you guys.
The summer of 2009 I had one massive goal. Taylor Swift was coming to Charlotte in September and I had to find a way to meet her. Like I said, I was 11 and at the time she was a big influence to me. So I called in to every radio station I could think of asking if they were giving away back stage passes to meet her. It was at the very beginning of summer and I had a radio DJ (who I will not name) laugh at me and say I was a little early. I remember it made me kind of mad (not to mention hurt my feelings) so I called in to another radio station asking the same question. Let me just say 96.9 The Kat is one of the nicest stations. The DJ that was working at the time told me they were going to have a contest soon and to make sure I kept my ears out for it.
A few weeks later 96.9 The Kat announced they were doing a contest giving away a pink jeep with Taylor Swift's face on it. Not to mention, if you won you also got to meet her. All you had to do was play Kat Fight in the morning or listen to Charlotte's Most Wanted in the evening where they play 8 or 10 songs and you call in to tell them what the song was for whatever number they asked. If you got either of those games right you won a "key" that may be the chance to win the jeep and meet Taylor. I know what the most played country songs were in 2009 like the back of my hand. I listened and called in every morning and evening. Practically the whole summer my parents and I called in every chance we could.
Finally, it was the last week they were doing the contest. I remember I had prayed every night we would win a chance to meet Taylor. I had woken up early every morning over the summer and that last week was brutal. One evening I got to the point where I couldn't listen because I felt so discouraged. I had gone upstairs to watch TV while mom still listened. I remember I walked down stairs and at the same time I heard mom cheering. Apparently my dad had called in to the Charlotte's Most Wanted driving home from work and won a chance to win the jeep and meet Taylor. To this day I'm pretty sure the DJ would remember him because he did the loudest scream 96.9 The Kat has ever heard.
So, here I am freaking out about how we could possibly meet Taylor. The day of the concert, September 5th, we had to go to the jeep dealership at Lake Norman. It felt like the HOTTEST day all summer. Everyone who had qualified had to sign up and get a number for the reverse raffle. Dad ended up getting #25. They had Gloriana there to perform some songs since they opened for Taylor on the Fearless Tour. I got to meet Mike (which is a whole different story for another time).
We were all standing in the hot sun while they started pulling out numbers and eliminating people. I felt like I was either going to get sick or pass out. My dad had always been very positive and confident about it saying that we were going to win it. He even had a tiny cross for good luck. It finally came down to him and another lady. By this point I was sure I was going to die and/or cry. Paul Schadt kept teasing us about the last two numbers. Finally he pulled out #13 (which ironically is Taylor Swift's lucky number). That meant that #25 was still in the box. That also meant that we had won the jeep! Honestly, everything after that is a blur. I remember my dad going crazy and just hugging everyone. I'm pretty sure I just broke down into happy sobs. Best. Feeling. Ever.
Not only had we won the jeep (which my 11 year old brain couldn't care less about) but we were going to meet Taylor. Now, I know some of you are probably not Taylor Swift fans so you don't get why it was such a big deal to me. I want you to think about who was the biggest influence to you when you were 11. Now imagine if you spent the WHOLE summer calling a radio station and praying every night that you would meet them. Then think about how you would've felt if that came true. Pretty freaking awesome right?
Since the concert was later that night we went to my cousin Jan's house to not only tell them about it but to calm down and get some air conditioning. My dad was calling everyone he could think of. The funny thing is that no one believed him (he has a reputation for joking too much). Every person he called asked to speak to my mom to make sure he was telling the truth.
So the time for the concert finally rolled around. I was freaking out. We got there and found out that only two of us could go meet Taylor. I felt like I was going to cry for the thousandth time that day because I wanted my mom and dad to meet her too since they had done so much to help me. When the guys at 96.9 The Kat found out about it they somehow got two more meet & greet tickets. That meant all four of us were going to get to meet her.
Fast forward to standing in line at the meet & greet waiting for her to walk in. We were at the very back of the line. All the sudden she walks in. I will never forget the excitement of seeing someone, that you have wanted to meet for so long, in person. Her mom actually came up and started talking to us while we were standing in line. I told her about how I played guitar and I how I wanted to do this too. She was so nice and offered to take us on a back stage tour.
When everyone else had gotten to meet Taylor and take pictures it was finally my turn. A lot of this is a blur to me too, but one thing I will never forget was how I didn't even wait for the radio station guy to introduce me. I just ran up and hugged her (while crying my eyes out) and she gave me one of the biggest hugs ever. She treated me like I was her favorite person in the world. One of the coolest things was that I gave her a bracelet and she ended up wearing it for the first half of the concert.
After we met her she had to go get ready, so her mom took us backstage. We saw the famous "T-Party Room" and everything that goes on behind the scenes. We got to go on her bus (which was one of my favorite parts). I even saw a few of her band members backstage. It was one of those defining moments in my life where I fell in love with everything that has to do with touring. I had never seen anything like it.
(That's my bracelet that I gave her!)
After all that me and my sister watched the show from front row. That was one of my favorite parts of that night. Just getting to have fun with my sister while dancing and singing to the songs.
On the way home I just remember thinking that everyone should feel like this at least once in their life. Everyone should feel like they've gotten the special treatment. Everyone should get to be that happy.
All I know is if she had never been that nice to me or if her mom hadn't taken us on that backstage tour, I wouldn't have ever fallen in love with all of it. It wouldn't have inspired me to one day get to go on tour like that. It's crazy how things work.
I haven't really shared this story with a lot of people just because when I started performing and pursuing music everyone in the industry kept telling me I was "too much like Taylor". After hearing that about a million times I didn't want people to think I was trying to be her and/or copy her. But honestly, that is a big part of my life and why I'm doing this. One day I hope to be someone's 'Taylor'. One day I want an 11 year old girl to walk away after they've met me and think "Maybe I can really do this."
Wow, this has turned into a long post. Thanks for reading this far. Anyways, I thought I would share with you guys a massive thing that happened to me 5 years ago. Like I said, I'm feeling very nostalgic.
I love you guys!
P.S. I'm still driving my jeep even though it no longer has Taylor on it. (The wrap was starting to peel.)
So to anyone who has any mean jokes about it….. At least my car was free ;)
P.S. Just know I love you guys because some of these pictures of me are SUPER embarrassing. Haha.
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