Crossover pop and country music superstar Taylor Swift, 22, ended 2011 with overwhelming accomplishments in her field: She had sold 22 million albums, wrapped up a sold-out tour playing to more than 1.6 million fans and won many top music awards, including four Grammy Awards. How would Swift top that in 2012? By branching out. She made her animated film debut when she voiced a character in the hit film The Lorax. She performed at the Grammy Awards and picked up two more awards for her song “Mean.” She collaborated with the Civil Wars for a song on the Hunger Games movie soundtrack.
Swift also branched out while working on her new album, Red. She collaborated with several producers, songwriters and artists. “For my last album, I wrote every song by myself and used the same producer,” Swift told TIME. “Writing by myself became a comfort zone. So with this one, I really wanted to push myself.” The risk paid off. Red, which features the chart topping single “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” was released on October 22, 2012. Red sold more than 1.2 million copies in the first week—the biggest sales week for any album since 2002.
Swift was born on December 13, 1989, in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania. She released her first album in 2006 and her second in 2008. Throughout her career, Swift has left room in her busy schedule to give back. She has partnered with charities including St. Jude Medical Center, Habitat for Humanity and the Make-a-Wish Foundation. Earlier this year, First Lady Michelle Obama presented Swift with the Big Help Award at the 2012 Kids’ Choice Awards in recognition of her charity work, including raising money for flood and tornado survivors in the U.S.
For her award-winning accomplishments as a musician and her dedicated efforts to give back, Taylor Swift is a nominee for TFK’s 2012 Person of the Year.