Taylor Swift – “Fearless” or tone-less?

November 17, 2009

She made history at the Country Music Awards last week, is the biggest selling female artist in the United States this year, and she comes magically to life in December’s edition of InStyle in the first ever 3D magazine cover.

But how good is teen sensation Taylor Swift at actual singing?swift1

Not so great, if the growing amount of chat on the Web is to be believed. The higher her public profile rises, the louder are the whispers that Swift often sings flat in live performances.

Some country music fans were particularly miffed at Swift’s trophy for female vocalist of the year at the CMA awards in Nashville last week, where the 19-year-old also became the youngest artist ever to win the coveted Entertainer of the Year award.

“Flat, off key, and just really bad! Taylor Swift is no Reba, Martina, or Carrie, these are the real vocalists. TS must have some real geniuses in the studio to fix that crap,” wrote one admitted Rebafan on the Great American Country web site.

And country fans are not alone. Entertainment Weekly’s Ken Tucker wrote in a blog that Swift was a “terrific songwriter” but described her voice as “thin, and sometimes as wobbly as a newborn colt.”

With the American Music Awards coming up this weekend, and Swift’s leading six nominations, all eyes will again be on the young star whose rise to fame has been meteoric over the past two years.

Will the ears of the public also be listening a little bit harder?


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BullI went to the NAshville concert and she was great, go to a Springstein concert and see if you can even guess what song he is singing. Acustics in these large venues stinks.Her talent is multi facitied and thoses that knock her are simply not in her clas and are jelous.

Posted by Frank Johnston | Report as abusive

Taylor has become better at singing live these past past couple of months. She was a amzing on SNL especially Untouchable. I think someone has told her to calm down and not go all out on singing like other artist. However I think her opening act at the CMA’s was pretty bad. She needs to stand and sing and not run around the stage (Taylor your not Britney Spears). Her voice becomes more of a squeal when she is running around stage. Also the song she sang wasn’t very country sounding.

Posted by twinkletoes | Report as abusive

Stop hating on Taylor. Kanye wannabe’s. Get a life and worry about your own damn jobs.

Posted by ashley simpson | Report as abusive

Sometimes her singing is bad, but that’s when she’s doing too much on stage.When I went to her concert in May, she was amazing. She sang everything really well, and there is nothing I can really say that was bad about it,

Posted by Lauren | Report as abusive

You Taylor Swift fanatics need to open your eyes AND ears, she can’t sing. She’s horrible. It’s not “hating”, it’s telling the truth. Now, nobody’s saying she’s talentless, I mean she writes her own songs and plays instruments, as long as she focuses on those strengths, she may very well go on to have a long and successful career. Bob Dylan can’t sing, yet he is one of history’s most successful artists due to his songwriting abilities. People love and respect him, yet they acknowledge that HE CAN’T SING.

Posted by t.rex | Report as abusive

so then how come no one gets on martina, reba or carrie on the fact that they dont write all or probably even half of their own song? taylor doesn’t sing as well as them, they don’t write as much as she does, in my opinion it balances them out

Posted by matt | Report as abusive

its funny how noone ever really wrote anything about her not singing well until she won at the CMAs. sounds like some people are jealous.

Posted by michelle | Report as abusive

I went to her concert last may and she was amazing! It was the bet show ever her voice was great and show was the performance!Plus how would she win awards lice female vocalist if she was that bad or even be nominated????? so Kanye Jr’s shut up

Posted by Sam | Report as abusive

Taylor seems charming and has stage presence alright with that long blonde hair, guitar, cowboy boots and sparkly dresses but GIRL CANNOT SING worth a dime! Are people seriously just starting to notice? How strange that on the studio recorded versions of her songs sound alright and then live, her voice is flat and shreiky….Hmm…wonder why…

Posted by anna | Report as abusive

Okay…to say that Taylor Swift is no Britney Spears is ridiculous!!! You do know that she lip syncs right? Taylor doesn’t. I will admit that the opening of the CMA’s was not fantastic, but when she preformed fifteen, she rocked. Wow…some people are just stupid, i guess.

Posted by megan | Report as abusive

If you’re going to chose to be a singer, you better be able to SING. THAT’S why Taylor’s songwriting skills don’t matter. Brad Paisley, Alan Jackson, and Miranda Lambert write their own songs too and they don’t get half the recognition that Taylor does. Why? BECAUSE THEY CAN ACTUALLY SING THEM! There’s no need for people to always bring up their songwriting because they have already established themselves as good singers. Yet everytime somebody brings up the FACT, not opinion, that Taylor can’t sing, her little fangirls (and boys, apparently) say how Taylor writes all of her songs and that her singing shouldn’t matter.Bull. Since when should singers not be able to sing? Then she should just be a professional songwriter since that’s what she’s being praised for.

Posted by Carine | Report as abusive

I like Taylor Swift! No she doesn’t have the vocals like martina Mcbride, doesn’t mean shes a bad singer.Taylor had a great year and derserves the awards she won. She out sold everyone in record sales and had sold out concerts, i like martina also but i don’t hear her doing that. Atleast she sings live!! i can’t stand watching the vmas and all the singers are lip singing!!

Posted by kristina | Report as abusive

I saw Taylor in concert last year and she was amazing. Her concerts are fantastic and she really goes all out for them. I feel like when she runs around a lot she can sound flat and out of breath. She really is an amazing and talented singer so I suggest you go see a real concert and stop judging her off her CMA performance.

Posted by Allison | Report as abusive

I like Taylor Swift but lets face it. She can’t sing and that’s the truth.

Posted by Genie | Report as abusive

She sings great live, I’ve heard her twice. I am definitely not tone deaf, nor are the thousands (or millions) of Taylor’s fans, we know she is a good singer and entertainer. I agree she has not performed as well in award shows, but many other artists haven’t either.

Posted by Angie | Report as abusive

Taylor doesn’t have the biggest voice, but that doesn’t mean she’s a bad singer. Also, she doesn’t try to pretend she has this big voice either. She writes songs that are appropriate for her voice and sings them well. The music industry isn’t about being the best singer, it’s about being an artist. That’s what Taylor is, no question about it. There are tons of amazing singers out there, but that doesn’t mean they have successful music careers. You have to be unique and create something that people want to listen to. Most of the most successful music acts aren’t the best singers in the world, and I’m sure a lot of really great singers don’t get record contracts. Vocal abilities are just a part of the equation, and Taylor is definitely easy on the ears. Also, I don’t the the CMA female vocalist of the year award is meant to be a singing contest. That just doesn’t make sense…how would they judge someone’s singing ability during a year and why would they even want to? I feel the award title is most likely a misnomer and the award is probably for much more than someone’s vocal tenor.

Posted by Mina | Report as abusive

Taylor is AMAZING live. She puts on THE best live show. Taylor really can sing. I don’t know how people can say that she doesn’t. Reba, Carrie, and all the others that were in the category for “Female Vocalist Of The Year” are great. There is no doubt about it. But come on, this IS Taylor’s year. All the other nominees are happy for her, so why can’t you be? Taylor is awesome. Point stated…

Posted by Brittany | Report as abusive

I like Taylor coz she is a slower singer, easy to pick up words, and as Mr.Hanney (A teacher I know) said wow she is a plain singer. that swhat he sai after I put music of her on in his classroom. LOVE TAYLOR SWIFT!!!!!

Posted by Pip | Report as abusive

no disrespect to anyone here, but to reply to michelle’s comment, there have been plenty of websites regarding the way she sings. Many of them are not fans of her vocals. Her winning the vocalist award may have made more eyebrows rise but this is not where it started. Also, it’s not just her live performances that have problems. In general, her voice is just not mature. Age is no excuse either. She has improved a lot over the past couple years but when you get down to it, her voice is not strong. Whether live or in the studio. And i’m pretty neutral about her. I like her a lot and i truly believe she deserved entertainer of the year and everything else she has won in the past. BUT vocalist? No way.

Posted by chelsea | Report as abusive

There are two situations where I observe Taylor singing off a bit. That is when the audience is extremely loud or when she is singing in front of her heroes or those she looks up to. They both make perfect sense because it’s extremely difficult to annunciate through the crowd blaring over her ear piece. Her voice isn’t exactly the type to go through electrical equipment either. She also becomes very nervous in front of her favorites probably because she has heard the rumors that she is horrible live and that she shouldn’t be on that stage. If you have ever heard her in person or on a quite stage, she is brilliant! She is also wonderful in the studio and she has improved greatly in front of overwhelming audiences. Overall, she’s better than most and she is the Entertainer of the Year because she outsold her competitors. She has the most and greatest fan who don’t mind at all if she sings off a little bit because they know she’s is a terrific songwriter, person, and entertainer, and even singer, just not all the time.

Posted by Prodigal Accompaniment | Report as abusive

obviously she has some talent since she sells plenty of albums and wins a surplus of awards.

Posted by km | Report as abusive

taylor swift can so sing. i mean sure she doesnt have a strong voice like beyonce’s or alicia keys’ but she has a soft voice that is just sweeet. Stop hating taylor swift she can so sing, check out some of her live performance on youtube. really, she wouldnt have gone this far if she couldnt. And besides, she isnt like Britney Spears who not only lip sync but cant sing at all. Taylor swift does not lip sync she sings live. and she even writes her own songs.

Posted by sharleen | Report as abusive

Although Taylor Swift’s voice is small, I still think that she is a wonderful singer, the best of the best I have heard. And don’t think that she has done something to change her voice much in the studio because I have been to a Fearless Tour 2009 and her sound is still the same, perfectly “sweet”!

Posted by Peter | Report as abusive

Taylor is an amazing person, and she is also a great singer. She has become a very good singer in the past few months. Her performance opening the CMAs was great. If you would have gotten anyone besides an American Idol winner to do the exact same routine, they would have been just as bad. Taylor can actually convey emotion in her songs, unlike other nominees.

Posted by rachel | Report as abusive

Taylor is a great ENTERTAINER. You know who else writes songs and isn’t that wonderful a singer? Sheryl Crow. And she gets a lot of respect and deserves it. Taylor deserves the same respect. She works her butt off. And at least she sings her songs instead of using backing tracks.

Posted by Anne | Report as abusive

Taylor Swift is new to the Industry. She writes her own songs, and I think she sounds fine. It comes down to opinion either way. I don’t care if you don’t like her, because you’re entitled to think whatever you like about it. It’s not cause for debate. But here’s a link to one of her live shows… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=myl1oNgvZ Fg

Posted by Judd | Report as abusive

I am sorry but Taylot Swift cannot sing worth a darn ! Ithink she is adorable and she can write very sweet songsand that is indeed a talent, however someone else needs to sing them for her. If you are saying she can even comeclose to Carrie Underwood or Reba or Martina and I couldkeep naming them , then you really are tone deft. I hateto seem mean, because I really think she is quite cute,but she cannot carry a tune in a basket !She sales plentyof albums because all the little school girls love her !She is a good entertainer but she just cannot sing !She also is so young and that is exactly how she acts on stage while we call that entertaining. Now watch a CarrieUnderwood concert and that is entertaining and her voiceis strong, loud and beautiful and she never misses a note! That is talent !

Posted by Terri | Report as abusive

Taylor can sing… ON HER ALBUMS!!! she should be grateful she lives in the digital age, becasue the analog age would have heard her REAL voice which is not good at all. I majored in voice and I can tell you that her voice is FLAT, MONOTONE and SUCKS in real life when you hear her perform. Cheer up Taylor, maybe in this digital age, they will eventually figure out a way for you to sound good when you are performing live too. SHE DOES NOT DESERVE THAT AWARD. get some voice lessons.. then we’ll talk.

Posted by Jennifer | Report as abusive

America does NOT know talent… obviously. It is a shame that people like Taylor are only popular and famous because of what they look like and all the little teeny boppers who like them and they have NO TALENT WHATSOEVER.

Posted by Shelly | Report as abusive

Check out the article, “Swift launches a new career,” to learn about Taylor Swift’s newest project at the Country Standard Time website: www.countrystandardtime.com

Posted by countryst | Report as abusive

taylor is an amazing singer i saw her live and she is good…

Posted by you dont need to know | Report as abusive

I am really surprised that Taylor has won any awards. I spent all day searching the web as to why. I guess all those other, much more talented female artists just weren’t cute enough.

Posted by PSB | Report as abusive

[…] Fan Fare » Blog Archive » Taylor Swift – “Fearless” or tone-less … […]

Posted by The Taylor Swift Shambles | Summer Music Festivals | Report as abusive

Umm, I don’t understand this at all. Taylor Swift may not be the world’s strongest live vocalist, but she certainly isn’t a terrible singer with no talent. She is only 19 years old and is writing amazing songs by herself!! She never tries to fake her way through a performance and she never lip syncs the way so many other singers in her position do. That in itself is a feat that people should praise her for. Stop bashing her–she’s 100 percent real and I think that in itself is more beautiful than any amount of vocal training.

Posted by MJ | Report as abusive

she is bad at singing…. she doesnt deserve to win all those awards… she never worked har enough for them…. i mean, she isn’t even country, yet she classifies herself as a country artist… shes an embarassment 2 country music

Posted by Libby | Report as abusive

Her whole being revolves around being young. Writing the generic songs she writes and singing as weakly as she does at 26 won’t be nearly as cutesy. She clearly got too much too soon and will follow in the path of countless singers who can never match the sales of awards acclaim in the future.

Posted by jamie | Report as abusive

Taylor Swift cannot sing live, which basically means she cannot sing. Sure she can write, she’s beautiful, young, but there are a lot of people who can do that. A person who can do all that AND sing deserves to be called an actual singer and win awards. At least that’s how I thought it used to be.

Posted by Cindy Bai | Report as abusive

taylor is terrible she cant sing for her dare life. she needs to stop cause she’s hurting my ears. Ho did she even get a recording contract with her terrible voice

Posted by taylor | Report as abusive

[…] Fan Fare » Blog Archive » Taylor Swift – â??Fearlessâ? or tone-less … Taylor Swift made history last night at the Country Music Awards, becoming the youngest artist ever to win the coveted entertainer of the year award. The 19- year -old singer also took home awards for best female vocalist, … […]

Posted by YourSoil — Blog — Taylor Swift Entertainer of the Year | Report as abusive

Hate to tell you but Reba just like Taylor uses a auto tuner when she sings so technically they both cant sing! But there are several singers who refuse to use the auto tuner Vince Gill, Garth, Patty Loveless, Loretta Lynn, Allison Moorer, Trisha Yearwood, and Martina McBride are all wonderful singers and they don’t have to trick anyone.

Posted by jack | Report as abusive

Seriously, i am not sure how she even gets nominated much less win an award. She is unable to carry a tune outside a recording studio. She is by far one of the worst live singers out there. She actually hurts my ears and i have given her several oppurtunities to redeem herself and she just sucks!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by jimmy | Report as abusive

CAN’T HIT A NOTE!!! Darling girl… But… a wee bit too full of herself for the while “Miss Taylor”. Most definitely TONELESS. Good Powers Around Us!! Maybe she has future potential… maybe! If she hires a voice coach; still maybe. Meanwhile, she makes my ears hurt. Yeah, yeah, she’s hot on the awards chart. Bring back some serious vocalists, let go of the Cotton Candy Shop. Pop fuzz here for now!

Posted by Lynn | Report as abusive

I have seen Taylor live and at her shows her voice sounds great. She may not have the biggest voice but the tone and innocence of it reflects alot of her songs. I think that knowing that even she isn’t perfect inspires a lot of fans.

Posted by katharine | Report as abusive

Taylor Swift -Big supporter of Rodeos, Which are torture stops before the slaughter house… Do You Have a Heart???http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i qWCkUsWn5Y

Posted by julie Schloss | Report as abusive

Taylor Swift,the greatest singer of all…

Posted by Cutelin | Report as abusive


Posted by ILUVTAYLORSWIFT | Report as abusive


Posted by ILUVTAYLORSWIFT | Report as abusive

I am a big fan of Taylor Swift. I would just like for everyone to be open minded about what i am going to say for a minute. I think Taylor Swift can sing live. She does not lip sync either. The reason i think many people think she can sing live is because so many people in today’s society are used to having that perfect smooth voice you get when you lip sync. People are so paranoid that if its not auto – tuned or lip synced it doesn’t sound right. Taylor Swift can sing. If she couldn’t she wouldn’t have sold out concerts, cds, and she wouldn’t be winning the awards shes winning. She wouldn’t be who she is today.

Posted by MEDIA101 | Report as abusive