“Tim McGraw Reflects on the Guidance He and Faith Hill Provided Teenage Taylor Swift: ‘We Had Long Conversations’”

Published by Cel Manero from Global One Media, Inc.

“We both absolutely fell in love with her instantly, as an artist and as a person,” McGraw tells PEOPLE in this week’s cover story.

“Tim McGraw Reflects on Mentorship to Taylor Swift During Soul2Soul Tour”

When Taylor Swift was in the early stages of her career, she found guidance from Tim McGraw and Faith Hill. Discussing his relationship with Swift, who is featured on the cover of PEOPLE’s 2023 Most Intriguing People of the Year issue, McGraw, the “I Like It I Love It” singer, shared insights into the conversations they had 16 years ago when Swift opened for his Soul2Soul tour.

“We had long conversations with her in Faith’s dressing room about always being open to listening, but always know that you’re the leader, that you’re the one making decisions, that you will know what song is going to work or not and that you are the captain of your ship,” McGraw, 56, tells PEOPLE in this week’s cover story.

Swift, 33, who titled her 2006 debut single after McGraw, engaged in heartfelt discussions with McGraw and his wife Hill.

“I remember thinking this girl has so much talent and so much moxie, and she’s so curious,” McGraw adds. “We both absolutely fell in love with her instantly, as an artist and as a person — just a fellow professional that you realize totally knows what they are doing.”

“Tim McGraw Commends Taylor Swift’s Professionalism and Balance”

Alongside recognizing Taylor Swift’s talent and determination, Tim McGraw applauds her adeptness in managing the spotlight. In addition to her professional prowess, McGraw admires Swift’s ability to strike a balance in her public and private life.

“She knows when, where, how to promote [her work], but she also knows when, where, how to be normal and be a human just living her life,” McGraw remarks about Swift. “I think she has brilliantly navigated that line.”

“Tim McGraw Reflects on Being the Inspiration for Taylor Swift’s Breakout Hit”

In 2021, Tim McGraw openly discussed being the inspiration behind Taylor Swift’s breakout hit in an interview with Apple Music Country for Apple Music Essentials.

While expressing his admiration for the song, McGraw confessed to feeling “a little apprehensive” upon initially hearing it. He pondered, “I thought, have I gotten to that age now to where they’re singing songs about me? Does that mean I’ve jumped the shark a bit? Is everything still cool?” McGraw shared these thoughts with host Alecia Davis.

However, McGraw’s concerns eased when he learned that Swift had written the song in her seventh-grade math class. This revelation reassured him, as he realized Swift was quite young when she penned the track. “So I didn’t feel like I was that terribly old,” he concluded.

“Tim McGraw”: Taylor Swift’s debut single, released in 2006 from her self-titled debut album. The song reached No. 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 6 on Hot Country Songs.

During the 42nd Annual Academy of Country Music Awards in 2007, Swift performed the song live and met Tim McGraw for the first time. “It’s so nice to meet you,” Swift expressed as she greeted the country star and his wife while holding onto her guitar.

In 2018, during Swift’s Reputation World Tour, the superstar couple joined her on stage to perform the 2006 single as a trio, creating a memorable and nostalgic moment for both the artists and their fans.