By Gianluca Russo
The term “fan” does not even begin to describe Tyler Conroy’s love for Taylor Swift. A singer/songwriter himself, Conroy lives, sleeps and breathes the music of the country icon. Yet, unlike other fans, he went the extra mile and turned his dream of meeting T-Swift into a fabulous reality.
Conroy, 25, grew up in Conway, Massachusetts, with the love of performing deeply ingrained in his heart. “There’s not a time in my life that I don’t remember singing and mainly forcing people to sit and let me sing for them,” he said. “All I ever wanted and still want was to just have an opportunity to show people who I was through music and storytelling. There was just something indiscernible about it that excited me and made me the happiest when I was doing it, and it still does today.”
Although music shaped his pathway for many years, guiding him through low points and highs, Swift is the artist who laid a roadway for the young performer and showed him the person he truly desired to be. His first encounter with her is a story straight out of “Mean Girls.”
“I always say my love for Taylor Swift hit me like a bus because it literally did. It was the summer of 2008 and I was in Hartford, Conn., headed to see a Rascal Flatts concert which Taylor Swift was opening for. I was crossing the street to get into the venue, looking down at my phone, when all of a sudden I heard my friend scream my name and I looked up to see this bus hurtling towards me. As it whizzed past I saw Taylor’s silhouette on the back of the bus and I was like ‘OMG, I should’ve let that bus hit me because I would’ve met Taylor Swift.’”
The near-death experience was only the beginning. Following the concert, Conroy was obsessed; Swift began to fill every moment of his life. “She inspired me so much at that teenage point of your life when you feel so much pressure to figure out who you wanna be. Not only that but she felt so relatable and almost like a friend encouraging me to chase fearlessly after what I loved doing. She’s the reason I started playing guitar because I wanted a way where I could share stories and songs the way she did. She kinda became my religion.”
In 2010, while in high school, Conroy wrote a song about his love for Swift, filming a music video with the help of his friends and releasing it on YouTube. The video soon went viral and caught the star’s attention. “Her team invited me to meet her before a show I was attending and I literally only told her that she had pretty eyes because I was in such a state of shock. She kissed me in the photo, thanked me for making the video for her, and told me to keep making videos because she loved seeing them and loved how happy I looked in them,” he recalled.
Again in 2013, Conroy wrote another song about Swift (writing songs from personal experiences and loves is his thing) and about how she taught him to live life with no regret. The song caught the attention of a radio station that invited him to meet with Swift before one of her upcoming shows. “During the meet and greet, I had Taylor Swift write “fearless” on an index card, which I now have tattooed on my left foot as a reminder to walk through life forward & fearless.”
Swift became a part of Conroy’s life so much that when attending Iona College to obtain his degree in Mass Communications, he put on a Taylor Swift-themed musical and launched a social media campaign (very much like his future idol, Evan Hansen, does in the Tony Award-winning musical), garnering attention from Perez Hilton, Playbill.com, NY News and multiple radio stations. Though Swift was unable to attend, she took notice of the performance and invited Conroy to her house for a pizza party (yes, seriously). “She asked me if I ever got the tattoo and I showed her it. She also thanked me for putting on the musical because no one had ever done that with her songs before.”
Flashforward a few years, Conroy wrote yet another song about his love for Swift to be entered into a contest being held by Simon & Schuster. The contest was looking for the biggest Swift fan to be the author of her biography. To no surprise, Conroy won. “I worked on the book with 13 other Swifties, acting as “yearbook president,” while we collectively created this book of our favorite moments from the first 10 years of her career,” he said. “I was traveling to Texas and New York City and meeting hundreds upon hundreds of people who all were brought together by one person and I just couldn’t believe how powerful and magically it all felt that one person was the reason for all this, Taylor Swift.”
Writing songs and making videos about Swift became a passion for Conroy as he launched his weekly “Tyvid Tuesday” series which now has over 15 million views. “Aca-Taco Bell,” his most famous series of videos, have gone viral multiple times, in which he sings his order at a Taco Bell drive-thru.
Through the glamour of it all, what ignites the flame in Conroy’s heart for Swift is her message. “I think that she is continually showing others that it’s okay to be whoever or whatever you want to be but to remember that there’s always going to be people who want to bring you down. She’s still teaching that it’s okay to fall for whomever you want, learn from mistakes and keep making mistakes but never the same one twice. She is 28 years old and has created one of the largest empires in the world. If that’s not inspiring to chase after your dreams with all you’ve got then I don’t know what is.”