Taylor Swift capped off an incredible 2023 by being named Time‘s Person Of The Year.

Upon earning the title, Taylor told Time, “This is the proudest and happiest I’ve ever felt, and the most creatively fulfilled and free I’ve ever been.”

Swift also topped People magazine’s “Most Intriguing People” list.

On December 5, 2023, the publication acknowledged all the feats the singer-songwriter has accomplished to honor her with the title. As we previously reported, Swift’s 3.5-hour-long “Eras Tour” concerts, vinyl record sales, and concert film helped boost Swift to billionaire status.

I’ve had the pleasure of following Taylor in Nashville, doing interviews and covering her since the beginning of her career in 2006 when she released her debut album. I was even backstage in the press room when Swift won her very first award at Nashville’s CMT Music Awards on April 16, 2007. She was nominated for her first award in CMT’s “Breakthrough Video of the Year” category. She was nominated against Jason Aldean’s “Amarillo Sky,” Kellie Pickler’s “Red High Heels,” and the Wreckers’ “Leave The Pieces.”

Big winners at the 2007 CMT Music Awards were Carrie Underwood for Female Video of the Year for “Before He Cheats,” Group Video of the Year went to Rascal Flatts for “What Hurts The Most,” and CMT favorite Kenny Chesney won Male Video of the Year for “You Save Me.”

When Taylor came backstage, she was beside herself with excitement for winning the CMT “Breakthrough Video of the Year” for her music video for “Tim McGraw,” which was her first single on country radio and the song that introduced us all to the megastar.

As we celebrate all things Swift this year going in 2024, where we will probably be celebrating her even more, I thought it would be fun to look back at that first award night for Taylor and share some of the things she said as she embarked on a career that has already amassed over 500 awards.

RELATED: Kenny Chesney: ‘So Proud’ of His Friend Taylor Swift

  • Taylor on being "overwhelmed" with fan response

    2007 CMT Music Awards - Arrivals
    Evan Agostini/Getty Images

    “Every single day, I continue to be completely overwhelmed by how awesome people are — whether it’s people who I look up to who are in the business or the people I’ll find on MySpace.” She added, “I try to spend at least a half hour a day on the Internet and MySpace, tracking down people that are helping me out and saying ‘Thank you’ personally.”

  • Swift on missing her high school prom for the CMT Awards

    2007 CMT Music Awards - Arrivals
    Evan Agostini/Getty Images

    “I am so, so happy about everything that has gone down this past year. I think it’s OK to miss prom for this. I think I’m going to stare at this award every single day and say, ‘I think it’s OK to miss prom.’ I love this.”

  • 17-year-old Taylor on balancing being a junior in high school with country music stardom

    2007 CMT Music Awards - Press Room
    Evan Agostini/Getty Images

    “I’m very, very much into my education and making that work and making that a priority in my life. Yes, it’s interesting to balance two things like that. But if you make it a priority, it’s easy to do both.”

  • Swift on her first CMT nomination and fans voting for her

    2007 CMT Music Awards - Show
    Peter Kramer/Getty Images

    “I’m a junior in high school, y’all, and this is how we campaign: I generally told everybody I could about the awards. I was so grateful to be nominated that I wanted a lot of people to know that the voting was taking place and that it was something I was really excited about. Any chance I really got, I mentioned the CMT Music Awards.”

  • Taylor on taking her mom as her date at the CMT Music Awards that year

    2007 CMT Music Awards - Press Room
    Evan Agostini/Getty Images

    “I’ve always been really, really all about remembering where you came from and remembering who got you to this point. This is my first awards show, and this is my first nomination ever. I wanted my mom right there next to me because she was the one who believed in me when nobody else did. She’s been there since day one. I thought it would be really cool to have her come along and share that moment. I didn’t expect to win at all, but I wanted her to be there whether I won or if I lost.”

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