Taylor Swift takes over the world
Willie Grace | 11/14/2014, 6:32 p.m. | Updated on 11/14/2014, 6:32 p.m.
(CNN) -- It didn't seem like Taylor Swift could get any bigger.
She's got massive success in the music industry, millions of devoted fans and a permanent place in pop culture history, the latter thanks to an incident that the world will never, ever allow Kanye West to forget.
But clearly, that wasn't enough for the (literally) towering singer.
In one week, she became the second-biggest selling act of 2014 and the only solo platinum-selling artist of the year -- all with the debut of her new album, "1989." She pulled her music off Spotify, the most popular streaming site in the world, and managed to get pulled into a political controversy thanks to a remark during the U.S. Senate race in Iowa.
You just couldn't get away from her. Morning shows? There was Swift performing on "Good Morning America." Prime time? Look, it's Swift on "The Voice." Online? Between her tweets, "1989"-related photos and a countdown clock, she was ubiquitous.
For all we know, she's even boosted the sales of tap shorts.
"Taylor Swift is basically the biggest musician in the world this week, and that means she's in the rare position of being able to do whatever she wants," wrote Jacob Kastrenakes of The Verge.
It's the next step in the evolution of the singer who launched her career in country music at the age of 16. Now 24, she has weathered critics who have kept a tally of some of her alleged celebrity sins: Her music wasn't country enough, her wide-eyed "Gosh, I really won" awards acceptance speeches weren't genuine, and her relationships were mostly fodder for publicity and potential song material.
So what does Swift do? She releases her first fully pop album, designates "Shake It Off" -- an ode to her haters -- as the first single and declares herself happily single.
"I really like my life right now," Swift recently told Rolling Stone. "I have friends around me all the time. I've started painting more. I've been working out a lot. I've started to really take pride in being strong. I love the album I made. I love that I moved to New York. So in terms of being happy, I've never been closer to that."
It would seem Swift has long been on the path to world domination. Big Kenny of the country duo "Big and Rich" said the singer displayed that she had what it took even as a teen at the annual Country Radio Seminar held in Nashville.
"She just had a charge in her that was twice her age really," he said of the then-15-year-old. "From the get-go."
Singer-songwriter Frankie Ballard toured with her and said Swift isn't one of those stars who mails it in.
"She was plugged in. She was there every day," he said of his tour mate. "She was the captain of the ship."
Protected by 'Swifties'
Swift gets that if this were high school, she would be the annoying straight-A student who is gorgeous, is friends with the other cool kids (Swift is BFFs with the likes of actress Selena Gomez and singer Lorde), volunteers after school and dates the cutest boys. But she's running for homecoming queen and is courting your vote -- hard.