tv 60 Minutes CBS December 23, 2012 7:00pm-8:00pm PST
gimmicks, just an amazingly powerful voice. ♪ sometimes, it lasts in love but sometimes it hurts instead... ♪ i wonder how many times ♪ >> simon: in the late '60s, a singer-songwriter named rodriguez cut a couple of records that got great reviews but bombed. well, they didn't sell in america, but in south africa, for some reason, rodriguez was bigger than elvis or the beatles. but rodriguez didn't know a thing about it. unbelievable, right? well, just wait until you hear the rest of his story. >> stahl: you're a role model and you know it. >> i think it's my responsibility to know it. well, good evening, los angeles! ( cheers and applause ) >> stahl: taylor swift is a role model to millions of fans who pack into arenas all over the
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>> stahl: good evening. i'm lesley stahl and welcome to "60 minutes presents." tonight, in this holiday season, "an evening of music" with three of the most talented and distinctive performers we have met in the past year on "60 minutes." all of them have stories to tell, as well as songs to sing. and we begin with adele. the 24-year-old british singer is a music industry phenomenon that happens perhaps only once a generation. adele's sophomore album has sold more than 25 million copies-- ten million in the united states alone-- and spent more weeks at
number one than any album in nearly 20 years. unlike most female singers of today, she is not selling herself with runway model looks or provocative clothes, and has no gimmicks added to her music. her popularity is due simply to the strength of her voice, and the emotional connection so many people have to her music. but at the height of her album's success, vocal cord problems forced her to cancel dozens of concerts and threatened to end her young career. earlier this year, when anderson cooper interviewed adele, she revealed how her voice is doing now, and how she is handling her sudden and very unconventional rise to fame. >> adele: ( singing "rolling in the deep" )
♪ ♪ ♪ >> cooper: adele's music is intensely personal. she sings almost exclusively about love and the men whose love she's lost. she wrote this song, "rolling in the deep," heartbroken and angry the day after breaking up with her boyfriend. the song became the top-selling single of 2011 and catapulted her to global stardom. >> adele: the kind of level of fame that i'm dealing with now, it's obviously gotten bigger over the year, but it was overnight. literally, on a flight to new york. i landed, and i seemed to be the most talked-about artist in the world that day. >> cooper: what's that moment like? >> adele: i thought it was hilarious. ( laughs ) >> cooper: hilarious? >> adele: i thought it was funny. i wanted to be a singer forever. but it's not really my cup of tea, having the whole world know who you are. >> cooper: it's not your cup of tea? >> adele: no. i find it quite difficult to think that there's, you know, about 20 million people listening to my album that i wrote very selfishly to get over a breakup.
i didn't write it being that it's going to be a hit. >> cooper: you really wrote it to... to help you get over something? >> adele: yeah. so the fact that so many people are interested in that, and want to cry to it or want to feel strong to it or whatever, i find really... it's just little old me. >> cooper: there's nothing little about adele's voice or the emotion her songs convey. last year, standing almost motionless center stage, she had london's royal albert hall mesmerized. >> adele: ♪ set fire to the rain... ♪ ♪ ♪ >> cooper: this performance, which she considers one of the best of her career, was also one of her last. when did you first start to notice a problem in your voice? >> adele: a year ago, my voice went live on air, a radio show in paris, and... >> cooper: when you say it "went," what do you mean? >> adele: it was literally like someone switched... like a click
off in my throat. and it just turned off, like someone pulled a curtain over my throat. but i sounded... i'm not a soprano singer, but say if someone's singing soprano. and then listen to a baritone singer. it sounded like that. my voice went... it was so much deeper. it was... >> cooper: and... and did you know something was happening? i mean, you must have known. >> adele: yeah, yeah. and i could feel it. it felt like something popped in my throat. >> cooper: it turned out she had a polyp in her vocal cords that had also hemorrhaged. >> adele: really, i should... i should've stopped singing for six months, really, and properly rested my voice. but it's kind of impossible to do when you're in the eye of the storm. >> cooper: so you had to have surgery? >> adele: yeah. i had laser surgery, yeah. >> cooper: and what do they actually do? >> adele: put a laser down your throat, cut off the polyp, and kind of laser your hemorrhage back together and fix it. >> cooper: to help her heal, she was also ordered not to speak a word for more than a month. that's got to be hard. >> adele: yeah. it was really hard. >> cooper: i sense you like to talk. >> adele: yeah, i love talking. ( laughter ) >> cooper: so how'd you communicate for five weeks? >> adele: by pad. i had a notepad. and i also had an application on my phone, and that you type the
words into it and then it speaks it. but the great thing is i love to swear. most of them, you can't swear on, but i found this one app where you can swear. so i'm still really getting my point across. the guy that this next song's about, not enough time has gone by since he was a ( bleep ) ( bleep ) to me. >> cooper: the swearing is back; so, too, the thick cockney accent. and her confidence in her singing voice has never been higher. >> adele: i can't remember a time where it felt so smooth to sing and not be paranoid on stage, you know. >> cooper: what do you mean? >> adele: i used to always wonder, "will i hit that note?" even when i wasn't ill. it's basically a clean slate in my throat. and it's just clear. doesn't mean it would never happen again. if i decide to go on a 200-date world tour, it would happen again. >> cooper: really? >> adele: yeah, it will. you know, just the exhaustion. >> cooper: hardly anyone has heard adele sing since the surgery, so sitting with her in a small london recording studio in january, we just couldn't resist. can you sing a little "someone like you" or...? >> adele: i can do it a cappella. >> cooper: yeah? sure. >> adele: i'm fine doing that, yeah.
♪ never mind, i'll find someone like you ♪ i wish nothin' but the best for you, too ♪ "don't forget me," i beg "i'll remember," you said ♪ sometimes, it lasts in love but sometimes, it hurts instead ♪ sometimes, it lasts in love but sometimes it hurts instead... >> cooper: "someone like you" has become another adele anthem, written about that same boyfriend who broke her heart. >> adele: ♪ never mind i'll find someone like you ♪ i wish nothin' but the best for you, too ♪ "don't forget me," i beg "i'll remember," you said
♪ sometimes, it lasts in love but sometimes, it hurts instead ♪ sometimes, it lasts in love but sometimes it hurts instead... >> cooper: the song is incredibly sad, and her fans cry right along to it, so much so it became a running gag on "saturday night live." >> and... play... ♪ ♪ ( laughter ) ( laughter ) >> adele: that's what i was doing when i was writing it. ( laughter ) >> cooper: she can laugh about it now. she says she no longer feels the same way about the song or the guy she once did. >> adele: "someone like you" was about him getting engaged really quickly after we broke up. and... and i wrote that to feel better about myself, really, and it was about trying to convince myself that, "oh, we will meet someone else and i will be
happy." >> cooper: and you have met someone else? >> adele: yeah. who is much better than him. ( laughter ) in fact, next time i sing "someone like you," i'm going to be, like, "never mind, i found someone, like you. please forget me." >> cooper: she found simon konecki, a british entrepreneur who also runs a charitable foundation. so you're in love now? >> adele: yeah. love it. it's great. >> cooper: your face lights up when you talk about it. >> adele: yeah. ( laughter ) >> cooper: do you think you could write without having your heart broken? >> adele: well, i hope so, because i'm madly in love and i don't want to... i don't want to be like, "babe, i'm sorry, we've got to break up. i've got a new album to deliver." ( laughs ) he'd ( bleep ) hate that. also, i can't write another breakup record. that would be a real cliché. it would really be... it would be just like a boring running theme. i think people would be like, "no, that's enough now. cheer up." ( laughter ) for you too ♪ from my hometown from my hometown ♪ >> cooper: she was born adele
adkins in a working class section of north london. an only child raised by a single mom, she attended a high school for the performing arts and, just three days after graduating, was offered a recording contract. she was 18 years old. >> cooper: her debut album came out in 2008, and earned her two grammys, including best new artist. ♪ should i give up or should i just keep chaseing pavements ♪ even if they lead nowhere >> cooper: despite her success, she was concerned about losing touch with new music, so she did something unusual for a grammy winning artist. she got a part-time job sorting and labeling cds in the back of a record store. you started working here after your first album? >> adele: yeah, after the grammys. >> cooper: ( laughs ) after you'd done the grammys? >> adele: yeah, yeah, i came and worked here for a little while. no one knows i did it here, no one knows. i just did it for myself.
>> cooper: did they think it was odd that you... >> adele: yeah. >> cooper: ...came here to volunteer to work? >> adele: yeah, absolutely. very much so. they were baffled by it. >> cooper: the other baffling thing about adele is that, despite being known for the power of her live concerts, in front of audiences, she experiences near crippling stage fright. so, how does it manifest itself? >> adele: it starts from the minute i wake up. if i know i've got a show, it starts... i mean, i just try and putter around and keep myself busy and stuff like that. and then i got to go down and sit in the chair for a couple hours, have my hair and makeup done. but it has gotten worse as i'm becoming more successful, my nerves, just because there's a bit more pressure and people are expecting a lot more from me. >> cooper: so what's that fear? >> adele: that i'm not going to deliver. i'm not going to deliver. that i'm not going to... people aren't going to enjoy it. they're... they're going to... that i'll ruin their love for my songs by doing them live. i feel sick. i get a bit panicky. >> cooper: have you ever thrown up? >> adele: yeah. oh, yeah. yeah. a few times. >> cooper: really? >> adele: yeah. projectile. yeah. because it just comes... it just comes out.
it does. >> cooper: that kind of candid talk is typical adele. she is naturally generous with the details of her life. but her success is changing that. fed up with paparazzi staking out her home in london, she rented this very large but very private home in the english countryside >> adele: this here, this is just safety, this house. come on, louie. >> cooper: that's why you're out here? just because... for privacy? >> adele: yeah. >> cooper: she's learned about fame the hard way. in the past, too many personal details of her life ended up in the tabloid press. so she set traps to catch the sources. >> adele: i plant stories and see who leaks them, and then i get rid of them, yeah. >> cooper: really? so you would... you would tell them something that... >> adele: i'd tell, like, a group of people who i was suspicious of... ( laughs ) i'd tell them all a different story with different details in it, but all roughly the same story, so i could keep my eye on it. and then, when i knew it would come out, yeah, i knew who it was. >> cooper: that's kind of depressing. >> adele: yeah, it was still... it's quite fun, as well. ( laughter ) not firing people that you love, but yeah, it's necessary.
>> cooper: inside the rented mansion, there are ten bedrooms- - nine more than she needs-- and almost no furniture. >> adele: this is... this house is a bit of a cliché, really. this bit's all quite scary, really. it was a convent for a little while. >> cooper: ever seen "the shining"? >> adele: "all work and no play." and then, this is the pool. >> cooper: wow. >> adele: do you have a pool? >> cooper: uh... no. >> adele: so these wings... ( laughs ) these wings that way and that way is empty, really. there a couple of spare bedrooms around there, and this is my suite. >> cooper: i love what you've done with the place. >> adele: i've been busy. >> cooper: she's about to get a lot busier. now that her voice has healed, demand for her to tour has never been higher. did you ever feel pressure to, "well, i got to look a certain way, i have to... >> adele: no, never. i've never seen magazine covers and seen music videos and been, like, "i need to look like that if i want to be a success." never. i don't want to be some skinny mini with my ( bleep ) out. i really don't want to do it. ( laughs ) and i don't want people confusing what it is that i'm about.
( singing "rumor has it" ) ♪ ♪ i'm not shocking. i just stand there and sing. and i don't do stunts or anything. >> cooper: but i think that's one of the... the things that is so remarkable about your success, and is that you're kind of the anti-pop star. i mean, you're not... >> adele: no, i am. >> cooper: you know what i mean. i mean, there... there aren't any gimmicks. it's basically the power of... of your voice and... and what you're singing. >> adele: if i wanted to do all that, i don't think i'd get away with it. i... i just... i don't think people would believe me. >> cooper: but in your songs, i think people believe that you have experienced what you're singing about. i think that comes through. >> adele: i'm just writing love songs. i'm not trying to be pop. i'm not trying to be jazz. i'm not trying to be anything. i'm just writing love songs. and everyone loves a love song. rolling in the deep ♪ you had my heart inside of
your hand ♪ but you played it you played it ♪ you played me to the deep >> cbs money watch update sponsored by: >> good evening. in the midst of more gun control talks, gun dealer brownell says it sold three and a half years' worth of ar-15 magazines in just three days. a poll finds two-thirds of americans making more than $450,000 a year support raising their taxes. gas fell. i'm jeff glor, cbs news. [ elizabeth ] i like to drink orange juice
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>> stahl: like so many musicians before him, the singer/ songwriter named rodriguez came from nowhere. he was born poor in detroit and spent his life poor in detroit. in the late '60s, he cut a couple of records, and they got great reviews but went nowhere. what he didn't know, what no one in america knew, was that halfway around the world in south africa, he was more popular than elvis or the beatles. he'd never been there, and no one there knew anything about him. even when word spread that he had died, his records continued to sell. then, four years ago, a young swedish filmmaker heard about rodriguez, and decided to shoot a documentary about him. as bob simon discovered, the film is now captivating audiences across the country, and has been short-listed for an academy award. it's released by sony pictures classics and it's called "searching for sugar man."
♪ ♪ ♪ sugar man won't you help me ♪ because i'm tired of these scenes ♪ >> simon: the film shows rodriguez's old neighborhood in downtown detroit and the smoky bar where, back in the late '60s, he was discovered by dennis coffey, a legendary motown producer. >> dennis coffey: we thought he was like the inner city poet, you know, putting his poems to music of what he saw. and it was definitely a very gritty look at what he saw on the streets of detroit. the only writer that i had heard of of that time period was maybe bob dylan, that was writing that well. ♪ ♪ ♪ lost my heart when i found it ♪ >> simon: coffey co-produced his first album, "cold fact." critics liked it, but it bombed. steve rowland was responsible for his second. it did no better. >> steve rowland: nobody in
america had even heard of him. nobody... nobody even was interested in listening to him. how can that be? how can that be? ♪ ♪ >> simon: and how could it be that no one in america knew that rodriguez had become an icon in south africa? steve segerman owns a record store in cape town. >> steve segerman: to many of us south africans, he was the soundtrack to our lives. if you walked into a random white, liberal, middle-class household that had a turntable and a pile of pop records, you would always see "cold fact" by rodriguez. to us, it was one of the most famous records of all time. >> simon: it was the 1970s, and under apartheid, political repression was at its height. rodriguez's lyrics resonated with people who'd had it with the system.
>> rodriguez: ♪ the mayor hides the crime rate ♪ councilwoman hesitates ♪ public gets irate, but forgets the vote date ♪ this system's going to fall soon ♪ to an angry young tune ♪ and that's a concrete cold fact... ♪ >> segerman: we didn't know what the word "anti-establishment" was until it cropped up on a rodriguez song. and then, we found out it's okay to protest against your society, to be angry with your society. >> simon: south africans were buying half a million of his records, and were astonished to learn that no one else in the world had ever heard of him. he was the ultimate enigma. >> segerman: then we found out that he had committed suicide. he set himself alight on stage and burnt to death in front of the audience. it was probably the most grotesque suicide in rock history. >> simon: but there was no proof, so record store owner segerman and his friends started investigating. 25 years after hearing those
records, they spotted the word "dearborn" in one of his songs. dearborn is near detroit. and, as the film shows, that's where they found rodriguez's house. ♪ ♪ and there he was, very much alive. ♪ ♪ his neighbors knew him as an odd character who walked around with a guitar. >> he was this wandering spirit around... around the city. you know, detroit's got its share of burned-out, desolate areas, and i would... i would occasionally see him... i thought he was just a... i... just not much more than a kind of a homeless person. >> simon: but he wasn't homeless. he was the son of an immigrant worker from mexico. he'd lived in this house with a wood burning stove for 40 years. and all this time, he had been
working as a day laborer-- demolition, roofing, heavy construction. he also managed to get a degree in philosophy. rodriguez didn't know his records had been selling like wildfire in south africa. he'd never seen a penny. then, in 1998, his fans invited him to tour south africa. he and his three daughters had no idea limos would be waiting for them at the airport. regan is his youngest daughter. >> regan rodriguez: i only assumed the limousines were for some dignitary or celebrity, someone that we should stay out of the way of. but instead, they were for my father. ( cheers and applause ) >> simon: regan said she expected 20, maybe 30 people to show up at his concert. there were 5,000. and when rodriguez stepped out onto the stage, they wouldn't let him start singing, not for ten minutes.
( cheers and applause ) ♪ ♪ >> regan rodriguez: for them to see him, when they thought he had died, it was like they had a chance to see some type of resurrection. ( cheers and applause ) >> rodriguez: thanks for keeping me alive. >> simon: the beatles and the stones had played to crazed houses, too. but to these people, rodriguez was like lazarus-- he had risen from the dead. the concert wasn't just a success, it was a miracle. >> regan rodriguez: looking out in the crowd, people were singing every note, every song, every word. ♪ ♪ i wonder ♪ wonder i do
>> simon: in south africa, rodriguez finally got the adulation he'd never received at home. ( cheers and applause ) but when he got home to detroit, it was as if none of it had ever happened. he went back to doing what he'd been doing all his life. when we met him in september, he was unlike any rock star we'd ever met-- humble, unassuming, okay with working for a living. when... when both of your records bombed commercially, how shaken were you? >> rodriguez: oh, i was... bob simon, i was too disappointed to be disappointed. >> simon: people in south africa said that your music was the soundtrack of their youth. >> rodriguez: oh, yeah. ah, well, the... well, that was... obviously, it... they picked up on my stuff, yeah, yeah. >> simon: they "picked up" on your stuff. come on, it's a lot more than that. >> rodriguez: jeez, listen to this guy. ( laughs )
go ahead, i'm listening. >> simon: i mean, that's a remarkable thing to say, that your music was the soundtrack of their youth. >> rodriguez: oh, i... it's... it's quite an honor that they picked my stuff up, yeah. i owe south africa, for sure. >> simon: and what about all those years of backbreaking labor? was that hard on you? >> rodriguez: did... well, physically, it's hard, but it's... there's no shame in hard work. >> simon: you say there's... you say there's no shame in hard work. >> rodriguez: yes, sir. >> simon: i think you also said there's no shame in being poor. >> rodriguez: that's right. and poor doesn't mean dirty and poor doesn't mean stupid and poor does not mean mean. >> simon: poverty and dignity. that was the end of his story... except it wasn't. another twist of fate was coming his way. first-time swedish filmmaker malik bendjelloul was travelling around the world looking for a story to film. when he got to cape town, he heard about rodriguez. >> malik bendjelloul: this might be one of the best stories i ever heard. it was like cinderella or... or sleeping beauty or something
like that. i... i never heard a story in my life that was so close to one of those classic fairytales, and had such a wonderful soundtrack, too. you know, it was just... i was just... i just fell in love with this story. >> simon: he then edited the film himself, composed the soundtrack himself, drew the animation himself. and then, after four years, he gave up. >> bendjelloul: i was 90% finished. i... i realized, i can't continue because i need food. my clothes had, like, holes under the arms, and i couldn't afford to buy new ones. i... i needed work. >> simon: while you were making a film about a poor man, you became poor? >> bendjelloul: i became one myself. i did, yeah. i did, that's true. >> simon: eventually, he found producers who submitted his unfinished film to the sundance film festival in utah. they not only accepted it, they decided to open the festival with it.
since hitting the theaters, it has become something of a phenomenon. and rodriguez has been resurrected once again. one of his first miraculous appearances, the david letterman show. ( playing "crucify your mind" ) ♪ it made you pay the cost and there's a big loss ♪ >> simon: and now, a sold-out tour across america. here he is at the highline ballroom in new york city. it was as if he'd never left the stage. ( cheers and applause ) >> rodriguez: i love when they scream. is there anybody here from detroit? ( applause )
my deepest condolences. ( laughter ) >> simon: he didn't mean it, of course. and his real homecoming happened at the kind of detroit joint which was in his genes. >> rodriguez: hey, youngbloods. >> i want to say hello, man. >> you're very inspiring. >> rodriguez: what's your name? >> charlie. >> i'm so excited to see you. >> awesome to meet you, man. thrilling. yes. >> a picture, too... >> rodriguez: you better hurry. >> ...because we're so excited. >> rodriguez: me, too. >> simon: and he'd been in their midst all the time. but it took 40 years for them to discover who he really was. rodriguez is 70 now and needs a little help walking. he can barely see. the world can see and hear him today as the great songwriter he's always been. but there's still one abiding mystery. why do you think it's taken 40 years? >> rodriguez: well, i... i just wasn't meant to be so lucky then, you know. i think maybe that's it.
>> simon: you know, when you left here before the film was made, you were rodriguez living in downtown detroit. now, you're "rodriguez, superstar." >> rodriguez: oh. >> simon: it has a ring to it, "rodriguez superstar." >> rodriguez: oh, no. this... well, that's nice of you to say that. it's superlatives they use. but i... we're having a good year, of course. >> simon: a good year and, at last, some money. >> regan rodriguez: he's a giving person with money. he's not a selfish person. and in fact, i think it could benefit him in a way of just being able to give it away. that alone will make him feel so good. >> simon: you don't think he's going to go out there and buy a ferrari? >> regan rodriguez: ( laughs ) i don't see him buying a ferrari. i think... if anything, i'm hoping he'll get a new pair of glasses. ♪ ♪
♪ wonder i do [cheering and applause] >> hello and welcome to the cbs sports update presented by e.trade. i'm james brown in new york. cincinnati beat pittsburgh. the bengals make the post season. indy makes the playoffs. andrew luck has another game-winning drive. new england improves to 11-4. the ravens win the a.f.c. north. the redskins still win the n.f.c. east. gals loses in o.t. green bay has won four straight. the vikings and the bears reminute in the postseason hunt. denver has won ten in a row. for more sports news and information, go to cbssports.com. vestor.
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>> stahl: six years ago this fall, a 16-year-old girl released her debut country music album and dreamed of making it big. well, today, that girl is as big as it gets. she has sold more albums in the u.s. over those six years than any other artist in any genre. her latest album, "red," sold more copies in its first week than any album in more than a decade. taylor swift's has been a meteoric rise. she seems to know, even at a young age, just the right notes to hit-- in her songwriting, and in her business. in an era of declining record sales, taylor swift appeals to people who still pay a lot for music, girls and their moms. she's held onto her country fans even as she's gotten huge in pop. and then there's her image-- lots of publicity about her short-lived, high-profile romances, but never a drunken rampage, a public outburst, or a
scandalous photo. we caught up with her late last year on the road for her "speak now" tour. ( cheers and applause ) take a look at the crowd at the staples center in los angeles, where taylor swift sold out four shows within minutes. >> taylor swift: well, good evening, los angeles! ( fans screaming ) >> stahl: the decibel level here reminds you of the beatles. it's almost as if she's their spiritual leader, with her message that you can be a good girl, a nice person, and still have fun. taylor swift writes her own songs, about love and heartbreak and being the ordinary girl next door. she's been called "the poet laureate of puberty."
♪ what you're looking for has been here the whole time ♪ if you could see that i'm the one who understands you ♪ are they great songs, in your opinion? we spoke to bill werde, editorial director of "billboard." >> bill werde: maybe if she looked different, like, let's say she wasn't young and cute. i think people would be talking about her as a great songwriter. >> stahl: so, you think that the persona and the fan base and all that almost diminishes... >> werde: yeah, i definitely think it does. you know, i think that it's hard for critics to look at an arena full of screaming 12-year-old girls and say, "this is really credible songwriting." >> stahl: but you say it? >> werde: oh, absolutely. yeah, no doubt. ♪ ♪ >> stahl: all taylor swift's songs are autobiographical. "love story" grew out of a teenage argument she had with her parents over a boy. they thought he was a creep. >> swift: and he was, but i, at the time, just thought he was amazing. >> stahl: she started thinking "shakespeare." >> swift: and i got this pre- chorus in my head that said, "you were romeo, you were
throwing pebbles, and my daddy said 'stay away from juliet.'" ♪ ♪ >> stahl: she raced in to work out the chords on her bedroom floor. >> swift: maybe it's... ♪ you were romeo, and you're just like, "oh, okay, well, that's that." ♪ you were romeo, you were throwing pebbles, ♪ and my daddy said 'stay away from juliet'... i had to fight for that song, because when i first played it for, you know, my family, a few people, they were just sort of like, "eh." >> stahl: but you believed in it. you trust yourself. >> swift: yeah, it's almost more fun that way when... when you have something to prove. >> stahl: "love story" went to number one on both "billboard's" country and pop songs charts, the first song ever to do that. proving doubters wrong is a big theme in the tale of taylor swift. she started singing when she was still a toddler.
♪ ♪ she fell in love with country music, and not as a coal miner's daughter from kentucky. she's a stockbroker's daughter from wyamissing, pennsylvania, who, at age ten, began nagging her parents to take her to the mecca of country music. >> swift: it was just on repeat, just like a loop, constantly. like, "how about we go to nashville? can we go to nashville? can i take a trip to nashville? hey, so i looked up this tourist brochure about nashville. can we go see nashville?" >> stahl: spring break 2001, they finally gave in and headed to mecca, says her mother andrea. >> andrea swift: we started driving up and down music row. and at that point, she would say, "mom, mom, pull over. that's mercury records. let me out." >> stahl: she was 11, toting cds of herself singing karoake songs. and she'd run in? >> andrea swift: she would walk up to the receptionist and hand them a demo cd, and say, "hi, i'm taylor. i'm 11. i want a record deal. call me." >> stahl: anyone call? >> andrea swift: no. sadly, no.
( laughter ) >> stahl: she spent the next few years performing every chance she got, even in a bar when she was 13. >> taylor swift: i remember there was all these, like, rock- n-roll dudes and, like, biker guys. and i'm like, "this is a song that i wrote about the guy who sits next to me in class." and it was just like... ( laughs ) you know, sometimes i ended up in the wrong venue. but it was still... it was learning to talk to a crowd, regardless of whether it was the crowd that's going to be most susceptible to liking your music. >> stahl: somebody at rca records liked her music and offered her a one-year development deal. that's when the swifts moved to nashville. taylor was finally where she belonged. or so she thought. >> taylor swift: i would go and turn in songs, and more and more, i would just get suggestions that i write... that i sing other people's songs. and, you know, i just didn't want to. >> andrea swift: and at that point, she said, "my contract's coming up, mom. i need to just walk."
and i thought, "you're kidding." >> stahl: how gutsy was that for a 14-year-old? >> scott borchetta: gutsy? no. how about unheard of? >> stahl: scott borchetta was an executive at another label. >> borchetta: you don't have artists walking out of one of the biggest record companies and saying, "you know what? i don't think i need another year of development. i'm going to go." all right. >> stahl: she did it, though. >> borchetta: she absolutely did it, at 14. >> stahl: borchetta heard taylor, liked her songs, and offered to sign her as his first artist on a new label he was starting. she took the risk and it paid off. >> borchetta: as of this week, "speak now" has sold five million copies worldwide. ( cheers and applause ) >> stahl: "speak now" is her third multi-platinum album, and she's been on a worldwide 76- city tour to promote it. the show is an extravaganza, with aerialists and fireworks on
stage... and frantic darting about below, as taylor runs in and out of quick-change rooms, and braces herself inside this glass contraption, preparing to be tossed in the air. >> taylor swift: i'm praying that i'm not going to break my leg. i'm like, "dear god, i'm very clumsy. i'm not a gymnast, i'm not graceful. please don't let me break my leg." that's what's going on. ( cheers and applause ) >> stahl: like big-time musicians today, taylor makes a bundle on her tours. she's become a brand, with "merch," as they say, like t-shirts and show programs; product endorsements, like for cover girl. she even owns her own buses. taylor swift is big, big business. >> borchetta: yes, she is. >> stahl: i've seen figures. >> borchetta: they're big. >> stahl: $100 million to $120 million, just on this tour. >> borchetta: i've seen those figures. >> stahl: that's like a major corporation.
>> borchetta: taylor swift is a major corporation. >> stahl: and who's at the helm? look who we found running the management meeting. >> taylor swift: it's like they messed with the color... >> stahl: unlike other stars of her caliber who sign up with management companies, taylor created her own. as c.e.o., she manages herself. >> taylor swift: it's fine, just because it's subtle. >> stahl: but it's taylor's way of tirelessly courting her fans that may be the key to her success. remarkably, she spends an hour before every show meeting and greeting and charming. >> taylor swift: do you think it would be okay if i got a picture with you? >> stahl: and she's orchestrated her concerts, too, to get as close to her fans as any performer we've ever seen-- halfway through the show, she walks through the audience and sings three songs to the people in the back. all while members of her team
search the crowd for the most enthusiastic fans and reward them with gold-- an invitation to hang out with taylor after the show. ( screaming ) >> stahl: then, taylor heads back to the stage through the crowd, touching and hugging all over again. and when the crowd roars, her expression of awe, again and again, can be, well, hard to believe. are you really surprised, or are you just kind of putting it on? >> taylor swift: i'm really surprised every time i see a crowd like that, because i never thought i'd get to play to a crowd like that. >> stahl: so when you go... it's real? >> taylor swift: does it look like that? great. ( laughter ) >> stahl: one of the things her fans love about her is that she laughs at herself, as in this video with rapper t-pain... >> taylor swift: ♪ i knit sweaters, yo. >> stahl: ...poking fun at her squeaky clean image and turning her uncoolness into cool. >> taylor swift: ♪ you guys bleeped me and i didn't even swear. >> t-pain: ♪ she didn't even swear...
>> stahl: taylor swift has won just about every music award there is, including the industry's highest honor, the grammy for album of the year in 2010. but the few setbacks in her meteoric career have come, ironically, on award nights, as when kanye west grabbed the mike from her... and the time she sang a live duet with stevie nicks at the grammys off-key. one nasty review said she had killed her career overnight, and was "too young and dumb to understand the mistake she'd made." >> taylor swift: the things that were said about me by this dude floored me and, like, leveled me. and i... i don't have thick skin. i hate reading criticisms. you never really, like, get past things hurting you. >> stahl: but then, taylor did her thing and turned the wound into a song... ♪ ♪
>> stahl: the hit single "mean." and in the music video, taylor broadened it beyond herself to a boy in a locker room reading a fashion magazine, a girl who shows up wearing something different. the song has taken on a life of its own-- a sort of anti- bullying, anti-meanness anthem. ♪ ♪ ♪ there's a deep, deep connection here. as one of her fans told us, "taylor lets us know it's okay to be ourselves." ♪ say yes ♪ and all you're evero be is mean ♪ scott borchetta says she's a cultural leader and she knows it. >> taylor swift: well, i definitely think about a million
people when i'm getting dressed in the morning. and that's just part of my life now and... >> stahl: you're a role model and you know it. >> taylor swift: i think it's my responsibility to know it and to be conscious of it. and it would be really easy to say, you know, "i'm... i'm 21 now. i do what i want. you raise your kids." but it's... that's not the truth of it. the truth of it is that every singer out there with songs on the radio is raising the next generation, so make your words count. ♪ ♪ >> stahl: what's it like to achieve your dream so early? >> taylor swift: you know, it's great. ( laughter ) >> stahl: the answer is, "it's great." >> taylor swift: you know, it's not bad. and it just means that i have a lot of time to figure out how i'm going to prove myself over and over and over again, and i have time to do it.
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captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org hey! what is that? you know, in case you didn't eat. big trial starting today and all. come on, it's your favorite drink. it's got yogurt and wheat germ and tofu and egg shells and... some kind of grass trimmings. i am trying a major murder case in front of a judge that likes to call me "that reagan chick" when i'm not in the room. i had steak and eggs and b12 shot. great... then call this dessert. come on. shouldn't you be out catching killers and robbers and not worrying about your sister? uh, i'm feeling generous today.