That One Time I (Stupidly) Passed On Meeting Taylor Swift In Poughkeepsie
I have made some pretty dumb decisions in my life. From little impulsive mistakes to massive, life-changing/impacting decisions, and full disclosure, I think about ALL of these things far too much.
One of said decisions happened quite a few years back; it was 2006, September 22, 2006 to be exact....
Did You Know Taylor Swift Played in Poughkeepsie?
In September of 2006 I was a young (naive) radio DJ and in my first full time gig as an on-air personality for The Wolf in Poughkeepsie. I hosted the night show from 7pm-12am Monday through Friday, and we were promoting a show at the (then) Mid Hudson Civic Center. Phil Vassar was headlining and had a few openers on the bill. Given the show was at night, I knew I'd be back in the studio on the air live while some of the other DJs on staff were on site, and I was totally ok with that.
This young blonde up-and-coming country artist was opening for Phil Vassar at the Civic Center that September night - she had this one song that people were talking about called 'Tim McGraw,' and hadn't even released her first album yet. She called the studio that night while I was doing my show and thanked me for supporting her music, promoting the concert, and even recorded a little something for me to play on the air. She was very nice, and quite excited. She said she hoped I would be able to make it down to the show and see her set. She was Taylor Swift.
That Same Young Girl Who Played Poughkeepsie Broke Ticketmaster This Week
Could you imagine? Me? Not in a million years.
That eager, sweet and kind woman who was so incredibly thankful that our Poughkeepsie-based radio station was playing her song and promoting that show would be the same person who would legitimately break Ticketmaster with her concert ticket sales.
Why didn't I swing by the show? Why wasn't I more excited to meet this incredibly talented young artist just breaking into the industry? Why didn't I talk to her longer on the phone when she called the studio? I don't think I'll ever be able to answer these questions.
Taylor Swift sent me a hand written, personalized thank you card. She did the same for all the other DJs that were working at the station at the time. After sitting in a box with assorted concert tickets and memorabilia, that thank you note has been framed and has sat on a shelf or hung on a wall in every office I've worked in for years, and I stare at it daily.
She released an album a month after that Poughkeepsie show, maybe you've heard of it, self titled, Taylor Swift. It came out on my birthday, October 24, 2006. Years later I took that as a sign, a sign for something.
Things I Know Now: I'll Never Turn Down A Show...Or An Interview, Meet & Greet...
On a regular basis, I'm talking weekly at times, I share with someone the story about that time I 'passed' on Taylor Swift, even show them the note. On a regular basis people rip me apart, call me not nice names, and sit, jaws on the ground, wondering what's wrong with the girl who 'didn't want to meet Taylor.' It's not that I didn't WANT to meet her, it's just that I didn't know.
In 2006 I didn't know the impact she would soon have on the music industry. I didn't know how successful a career she was about to embark on. I didn't know how she would transition from a 'young Country artist' to winning pretty much every award out there, well beyond the county format. I didn't know she would one day be so popular that Ticketmaster wouldn't be able to handle her ticket sales.
I didn't know.
But now I know, and now I'm older and wiser, and have been working in radio for 18 years. Now I know that I never, ever, turn down the opportunity to interview, meet with, or even go and see live, an artist that I may not be totally familiar with...because really, you never know.