Taylor Swift released her debut single, "Tim McGraw," in 2006, and according to the real-life Tim McGraw, he couldn't help but wonder what that meant for his career. During a recent appearance on The Bobby Bones Show, McGraw recalled hearing the song for the first time, sharing that he was reassured after learning Swift's age.
"I heard it before she put it out. I heard the demo of it because somebody else played it for me, I can't remember exactly how that happened," he said. "But when I first heard the record and it came out and it blew up and she blew up, my first thought was, 'Okay, let me re-evaluate here. What does this mean? Alright, if there's a song that she's singing about me... does this mean I'm done? Out the door!'"
"Then I realized, somebody told me she was like 13 and wrote it in math class and I thought, 'Well that's alright. I can live with that,'" he continued. "It's not like a 35-year-old artist saying, you know, 'Hey, I used to listen to Tim McGraw' and I'm done."
McGraw was right about Swift writing "Tim McGraw" in math class — she and co-writer Liz Rose wrote the song during Swift's freshman year of high school.
"I wrote [the song] in my freshman year of high school," Swift told CMT in 2006. "I got the idea in math class. I was just sitting there, and I started humming this melody. I kind of related it to this situation I was in. I was dating a guy who was about to go off to college. I knew we were going to break up. So I started thinking about all the things that I knew would remind him of me. Surprisingly, the first thing that came to mind was that my favorite country artist is Tim McGraw."
In 2007, Swift performed the song at the ACM Awards while a camera was trained on McGraw to capture his reaction, a moment the Louisiana native admitted was "awkward" at the time. "And then she came over and started singing right to me," he added. "I love Taylor, she was awesome, but it was awkward. Just because I didn't know what to do."
Swift and McGraw have since become friends, and Swift opened for McGraw and Faith Hill on their Soul2Soul II Tour. The pair also collaborated together on McGraw's 2013 hit "Highway Don't Care."