Taylor Swift has a busy day ahead of her on Saturday, June 7: She plans to spend a full six hours, beginning at 10 a.m., signing autographs and taking photos with fans at the exhibit hall in the Nashville Convention Center during the annual CMA Music Festival.
Taylor’s commitment doesn’t quite rival Garth Brooks’ legendary 1996 stretch, when he wrote out his signature for 23 hours straight, but it’s still a hefty donation of time by one of the most in-demand performers on the current country landscape.
Part of her commitment comes from remembering what it was like when she was mostly overlooked.
"I came to CMA Music Fest three years ago and nobody knew who I was," she told Dial-Global. "That first year, when people would come up to me and ask for my autograph, it felt so good, and I was so excited. That was a big deal to me."
Fast-forward to 2008 and you can bet Taylor will draw quite a crowd — perhaps large enough that she’ll have difficulty accommodating every single person.
"It’s been drastic to deal with the numbers of fans who want an autograph now, but I tell myself not to ever let it become a burden," she said. "Fans are the only reason why I’m here. I have zero record sales without them. I have zero songs on the radio without them. Without the fans I’m nothing, so why not give back?"
Taylor has plenty on her schedule before and after her day of autographs. On Thursday, she joins Gretchen Wilson and Randy Travis at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium for the CMA Celebrity Close Up series, taking questions from fans in a session that will be shot for a GAC special. That evening, she’ll perform at LP Field on a bill that also includes Sugarland, Montgomery Gentry, Jewel, Kellie Pickler, Luke Bryan and Jennifer Hanson.
On Monday, June 9, she’ll guest on NBC’s two-hour season premiere of "Nashville Star." Hosted by Billy Ray Cyrus, the talent competition’s panel of judges includes John Rich, Jewel and "What Hurts The Most" songwriter Jeffrey Steele.