Monday, May 23, 2011

Taylor Swift's 'Speak Now...Help Now' Benefit Dress Rehearsal Raised Over 750K For Tornado Victims

Photo Credit: Christie Goodwin

Four-time GRAMMY Award winner Taylor Swift was one of the biggest winners at last night’s Billboard Music Awards, taking home three trophies, including one of the evening’s highest honors, the all-genre Top 200 Albums Artist Award. Taylor also took home the trophy for Top Country Artist, and her now-Triple-Platinum Speak Now album, released on Big Machine Records, was voted Top Country Album.

Taylor, who writes all of her own songs, sold more albums in 2010 and 2008 than any other artist in any genre of music, and her Fearless album was 2009’s top-selling CD. Taylor has career record sales now in excess of 20 million albums and 33 million song downloads, and she is the top-selling digital artist in music history. She is both Entertainment Weekly’s and the Academy of Country Music’s reigning Entertainer of the Year.

On Saturday night, Taylor took the unprecedented step of opening the last dress rehearsal for her Speak Now Tour to fans as a fundraiser for victims of recent deadly tornadoes in the Southeast. During the course of two-hour show’s theatrical presentation, dubbed “astonishing” by the Tennessean, Taylor played acoustic guitar, electric guitar, ukulele, banjo and piano.

Fans started lining up for the "Speak Now … Help Now" special event at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena around 6 a.m. on Friday, more than 36 hours before doors opened for the capacity crowd of 13,700 in attendance. The event raised over $750,000, with 100% of ticket sales going directly to help tornado victims via the Speak Now … Help Now Fund established through the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.

Taylor expanded her fundraising efforts by streaming two performances during the benefit event, and the open rehearsal and online stream gave fans around the world a first look at Taylor's new stage and her show for the North American leg of the Speak Now World Tour, which kicks off this Friday (May 27th) in Omaha, Nebraska.

This Tuesday (May 24th) Taylor will exclusively sit down with MTV News’ Sway Calloway to premiere her new music video, “The Story Of Us,” from her Speak Now album and answer fan questions LIVE during “MTV First: Taylor Swift.” Beginning at 7:53 p.m. ET on MTV and MTV.com, Taylor will introduce the never-before-seen music video and be interviewed by Sway LIVE on-air. Immediately following, she will stay on for an additional 30-minute interview with Sway on MTV.com where she will answer fan questions.

At 8 p.m. ET, the music video will debut online on MTV.com, VH1.com and MTV’s International sites across 150+ territories around the globe. Later that night, TeenNick will premiere “The Story Of Us” music video on-air at 10:56 p.m. ET.

Additionally, a 30-second sneak peek of “The Story Of Us” will air during the broadcast of VH1’s “Big Morning Buzz Live” on Tuesday, May 24th at 9:30 AM ET/PT. The full video will also appear on “VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown” on Saturday, May 28th at 9:00 a.m. ET/PT.

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