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Seeing Taylor Swift, 16, at a North Texas gym turned an Arlington woman into a lifelong fan – Yahoo Canada Finance

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Seeing Taylor Swift, 16, at a North Texas gym turned an Arlington woman into a lifelong fan – Yahoo Canada Finance

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Kelly Morris didn’t want to go to an early morning concert at Arlington High School in 2006.

Morris describes himself as “not a morning person,” but decided to watch the free show anyway. Little did Morris know she was about to witness a debut performance by one of the greatest musical artists of her generation.

A 16 year old Taylor Swift.

“I was like, ‘I guess I’ll go see this girl,’” Morris jokes. “Which is hilarious to me now, because I’m still a really big fan and I would do anything I could to see her.

It’s been over a year since Swift performed three sold-out concerts at AT&T Stadium during “The Eras Tour.” The singer-songwriter is still on “The Eras Tour” and is also gearing up to release her latest album on April 19, “The Tortured Poets Department.” When Swift visited North Texas last year, the Arlington Museum of Art designed an exhibit devoted entirely to her career.

Morris, a freshman in 2006, didn’t know much about Swift before the Arlington high school concert. This changed shortly after.

“I wouldn’t say I was a fan until she came to school,” Morris said. “I knew who she was and that was about it.”


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The Debut of a Global Superstar Performing in North Texas

Swift’s Arlington performance came just weeks after her self-titled debut album hit the airwaves in the fall of 2006.

In fact, the Arlington show was sponsored by 99.5 The Wolf and, as Morris remembers, the high school texted the radio station to secure the performance. Morris said she remembers doubting it would happen.

But Arlington did, and Morris, then 14, quickly found himself in the presence of a future global megastar.

“She was really friendly,” Morris said. “She’s just open like she’s always been and that’s what endeared her to me.”

Morris remembers Swift playing a few songs from her first album, including “Teardrops On My Guitar” and “Tim McGraw.”

The younger Swift told the young Arlington audience that even though the song is called “Tim McGraw,” it was about something else.

“[Swift] “I was like, ‘This song isn’t really about Tim McGraw and I’m not a stalker either,'” Morris said. “Which I found hilarious, because I had no idea what was going on.”

Taylor Swift performs Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince during her sold-out debut three-night concert at AT&T Stadium in Arlington on Friday, March 31, 2023.

Taylor Swift performs Miss Americana & the Heartbreak Prince during her sold-out debut three-night concert at AT&T Stadium in Arlington on Friday, March 31, 2023.

A Swiftie now and forever

Morris, now 32 and living in North Carolina, said the Arlington show was a catalyst on her road to becoming a Swift fan or as she’s called — Swiftie.

In the more than 17 years since the Arlington pep rally, Morris has seen Swift on every one of her solo tours — 14 times in all. During last year’s “The Eras Tour,” Morris traveled to all three shows at AT&T Stadium.

Wherever Swift goes, Morris said she will likely travel.

“I’ll probably always be in it with her,” Morris said. “I’m just obsessed with everything she posts.”

During Morris’ fandom journey, she remembers telling her fellow Swifties about the Arlington pep rally show.

The account is less of a boast and more of Morris simply getting excited about the experience. Few people saw Swift perform at the time, especially in high school.

This connection and Swift’s inherent relatability is what made Morris a fan. Swift is only two years older than Morris, and as she says, that small gap means they likely experienced similar circumstances.

“Every time she puts out an album, I’m like, oh, this is my life too,” Morris said. “That’s what makes it so universal.”

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