Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Taylor Swift's "Change" for the Olympics

I'm not ashamed to admit that the Taylor Swift P.R. machine has drawn me in hook, line and sinker. She has to be the fastest moving new country star in years.

After reading about the young CMA performer in The New Yorker, USA Today and EVERYWHERE else the last few days, then catching her on-screen quick-change on the CMA Awards tonight (for the catchy tune "Love Story" she transformed from singer to would-be bride), I will soon proceed, zombie-like, to purchase her new CD or tunes online. That is, if ever I figure out this whole "music download thing." (Disclosure: The Country Music Association CMA organization is a client of Edelman, my employer.)

Little did I know that during the China Olympic experience, back home in the USA, the good folks at NBC were airing Ms. Swift's new tune "Change" for their Olympic promos or highlight reels.

According to Great American Country and their August 18 online report, fans could download Taylor Swift's then-preview track of "Change" via iTunes, with funds going to Team USA (I have a call in to ask the U.S. Olympic Committee media relations team for an estimate of how much money was raised -- see update below posted Nov. 13). This song is not quite as catchy as her other hits, but it'll do just fine.

All this country music chatter takes me back to Salt Lake City and the 2002 Winter Olympic Closing Ceremony, at which Willie Nelson took on Simon & Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Waters" -- AWESOME! (In Nelson's case, perhaps a good thing the ceremony stars are not subject to the same performance testing as the Olympians.)

So if we got one more country singer for this blog post -- let's say, Clint Black (known for his song "The Strong One"), we now have an Olympic/country music pun ready to go:

With Taylor Swift + Willie Nelson + Clint Black ... Country Music goes Faster, Higher, Stronger (the Olympic motto!).
Nov. 13 Update: The U.S. Olympic Committee media relations office quickly responded, sharing that the AT&T Team USA Soundtrack program generated a $1 million donation to Team USA. Taylor Swift was in good company, joining Sheryl Crow, Goo Goo Dolls and Queen Latifah, among others, for the project. Good stuff!

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