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It’s the hour of glory for French fans of Taylor Swift, long perceived as “UFOs” or “kids”

In 2024, who in France doesn't know Taylor Swift? All you have to do is go down the street and greet the first passer-by.

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It’s the hour of glory for French fans of Taylor Swift, long perceived as “UFOs” or “kids”

In 2024, who in France doesn't know Taylor Swift? All you have to do is go down the street and greet the first passer-by. At the very least, he will have heard about the American singer who chose Paris then Lyon for the resumption of her new world tour, the Eras Tour. Nearly 300,000 tickets were sold, largely to its most loyal fans, commonly known as “Swifties.”

But it has not always been this way in France. If the pop star, personality of the year 2023 according to Time magazine, has several hundred million fans around the world, her success outside the United States has been a long time coming abroad. And particularly in France.

In 2009, Taylor Swift was 20 years old and had just released her second country album, the reckless Fearless. It was the best-selling album in the United States that year and it was with it that she launched her first tour, the Fearless Tour. Only in English-speaking countries, except for a stop in Tokyo on February 17, 2010.

Marie Cordier, a midwife living near Annecy (Haute-Savoie), remembers with nostalgia this time when the singer entered her life. “I discovered it while listening to Radio Disney, via the Internet. I was also a Disney Channel fan. She was starting to break through in America, but not at all in France,” says this inveterate enthusiast of American culture, now 27 years old. “I always wondered why I got hooked so quickly. Country is not the kind of music you listen to at 12 years old… But it was especially the texts and lyrics that grabbed me: I immediately recognized her talents as a lyricist,” he assures. She.

In the memory of these early Swifties, their young American idol played little or no time on the French airwaves. Most discovered it on Anglo-American radio or television channels. This is the case of Dina Carraca, 31 years old. “French culture, in 2006, was not very American. I started hearing about her, because I watched MTV a lot. One thing led to another, and I became interested in Taylor Swift,” explains this medical device sales manager in Cher. She particularly remembers the altercation, on the set of the MTV Awards, between Kanye West and Taylor Swift who had just won the prize. While she was singing on stage, the rapper interrupted her and snatched the trophy from her hands, loudly proclaiming that it should go to Beyoncé.

Cécile Desbrun only got hooked on the phenomenon in 2014, with the release of the album 1989, a nostalgic simulacrum of the pop style of the 1990s. “It remained a guilty pleasure for a few years, with Miley Cyrus. After a while, I really became a fan. I started buying all the albums on vinyl. His music ended up becoming a part of my life,” confides the 38-year-old from Lyon. According to her, the evolution of the French public explains the success of Taylor Swift today. “A few years ago, if you said that the Spice Girls were great, people might look askance at us. Today, with nostalgia for the 1990s, we relax about this style. » Building a real community of fans is close to his heart. Cécile Desbrun will organize a weekend dedicated to the singer at the end of September 2024, in the Rhône-Alpes, to “study her work in a serious way with a festive side”. Remember that the metaphors and secrets of Taylor Swift's texts constantly fascinate her fans.

Long-time Swifties say they are happy to see their community growing in France. “I think it’s cool. Quite a few of us have been UFOs in our circles of friends. People still label us as childish today, because Taylor is feminine and young… I find that very reductive,” laments Lucie Dumée, a 32-year-old civil servant in Toulon (Var). “I felt a little alone,” summarizes Fiona Cabille, a 28-year-old florist in Pau, “when you're a teenager, you're very romantic, very romantic. Taylor Swift is the profile of the young American, blonde… I was addicted to that! » She describes an extraordinary community of Swifties, whose patent principles are mutual aid and solidarity. “I haven't had any bad experiences with other fans, especially on social media. It’s rare enough to be highlighted,” she insists.

This observation seems to be unanimous among the artist's admirers, especially for Dina Carraca, moderator of the Facebook group "Taylor Swift Eras Tour France". She remembers her disastrous concert at the Zénith: “It was really catastrophic in 2011. The room was half empty, Taylor left convinced that the French didn't like her. Today, with the group effect, everyone is talking about it. Finally ! » Paradigm change for these early Swifties, who extricated themselves from isolation, from the shadows, in order to come together in broad daylight and on social networks. Aimed at their “caring” community, they all have the same message: “Enjoy! »

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