‘Taylor became part of the family’: Swiftie parents and kids on how her music brought them together – The Guardian

Bonding over the pop star’s music has helped many families bridge the generation gap and strengthen their relationship
The response to Guardian Australia’s live blog of Taylor Swift’s first Melbourne concert was, predictably, off the charts. We had hundreds of responses from people at home, vicariously living the dream of being at the MCG in person; from those lucky enough to be inside; and those who have tickets for Tay Tay’s upcoming Sydney shows.
But what knocked us out was the passion and delight displayed by Australia’s invisible Swifties – the parents of Taylor Swift fans who have taken her songs to heart every bit as completely as their teens and tweens.
Damien was following the blog with his two daughters, Daisy, 14, and Summer, 11, from their home in Bendigo, Victoria. The next morning he read Giselle Au-Nhien Nguyen’s review of the concert and sent an email saying he was a “blubbering mess”.

“I felt like I was there,” he explains.
The family have been Swifties for the better part of a decade having first heard her music while living in the US. Damien came to the party first.

“I started hearing Shake It Off in the car,” he recalls. “The girls were very young, only four and almost two, but we started to explore who this person was and Taylor became part of the family as the girls grew up.”
The family is now based in Bendigo but Swift’s appeal hasn’t dimmed in the slightest. They make friendship bracelets together, prepare concert outfits (Damien is wearing a T-shirt reading “#SwiftieDad”, making him one of the 29% of Australian fathers admitting to being fans of Taylor Swift, according to new research from Spotify) and they throw listening parties whenever Swift drops a new album.
Damien has gone to extraordinary lengths to ensure Daisy and Summer get to see Taylor live.
“I really feel that Taylor is a once-in-a-generation artist – someone like Elvis or the Beatles – and that the girls really needed to see that,” Damien says. “We missed out on tickets to her Australian concerts but managed to find some tickets for one of her concerts in Singapore [Swift is performing six concerts in March] when they went on sale before Christmas and I managed to keep it a secret.”
On Christmas Day, Daisy and Summer awoke to find a trail of postcards, purportedly written by Taylor. “Each one was a speech bubble, leading to the big announcement but they twigged what was going by the second card and there were floods of tears,” Damien says. “Actually, from me, too. It was such a rush of emotion!”
Damien is old enough to have seen pop phenomenons come and go. Swift is something different, he believes. “She’s had such a positive impact on my family and she’s such a great role model. Taylor stands for things we’d love everyone to stand for.”
Adds Summer: “She’s a good person, she does good things in the world.” Daisy concurs: “She’s very generous and kind to her fans and the people who work beside her. She’s never not grateful.”
For Kat and her 11-year-old daughter Zoe in Brisbane, Swift holds a special place in their lives. Kat grew up listening to Taylor Swift herself and is only two years older than the pop star. Now her daughter Zoe is an even bigger Swiftie: she has a rare form of kidney disease and had eight surgeries between 2017 and 2018. Listening to Swift played a big part in her recovery.
“When Zoe was unwell, and we know hospitals aren’t the greatest places for kids, I could easily put music on and we would sing along, encouraging her to move,” says Kat.
“I never had anything in common with my parents growing up … now my daughter and I have something in common and it’s strengthened our relationship.”
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Zoe is now “doing really well”, Kat says. “While she will have this kidney disease for the rest of her life, she feels empowered to take it on and I think in large part some of that influence is Taylor and being able to relate to overcoming struggles and adversity.”
Belle, a single mum in Canberra to daughters Billie, 8, and Kit, 11, says: “It’s so amazing to actually love the same artist. Very strange and very wonderful! We find new songs still and show them to each other. Billie puts posters up in her room and we talk about how powerful a role model she is. Kit talks about how Taylor isn’t so sexy and always talking about booties and ‘b words’, which she likes. We even call on being ‘brave like Taylor’ when faced with school refusal. I think Swift has morphed into a feminist role model with a soundtrack for all ages. It’s a gift for my household and family.”
Another single mum, Kerrie, in Brisbane, says her 12-year-old daughter Vivian was very impressed when she secured great tickets and “even more impressed when I agreed to wear matching outfits”.
We were captured on TikTok in a video that has been viewed 75,000 times about ‘mums and their minis’ in matching costumes,” Kerrie says. “We had a weekend in Melbourne together with just the two of us and surprised ourselves with how much we enjoyed just being together. As a single mum it can be difficult to get one-on-one time, so it was very valuable.”

Vivian says: “It was the best night of my life and it was even better that my mum was there with me.”
For Ala in Sydney, her seven-year-old daughter Zadie led the Swift obsession. They’re going to one of her Sydney shows this week. Zadie is a budding singer and recently placed second in her school talent show. “Taylor is the one who got me into music,” Zadie says.
“We’re the kind of household that bursts into song,” Ala says. “We regularly have Taylor Swift singalongs while I’m driving or doing the dishes, sometimes with the ukulele. Even the three-year-old [Aurelia] knows so many lyrics (before she could even pronounce them properly).”
For Rachel, a Swift fan in her late 20s in London, Taylor Swift brought her closer to her parents, who are in their 60s. “After a period of severe arguments I put Taylor’s song The Best Day on a mixtape for my mum and it significantly helped to heal our relationship by reminding her how much I loved her – I was really nervous in the car when she played it and my whole family was there to hear the message about how much I appreciated what they had done for me in my childhood through Taylor’s lyrics,” she says.
“We ended up going to family therapy together and we are doing much better! Me and my mum have listened to all of Taylor’s albums together on car rides and bonded over this and they both came with me to the Eras Tour movie which felt like a lovely full-circle moment.”

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