"Yo, Taylor, I'm really happy for you. I'll let you finish, but are you for real?"

When I say that, I'm not being rude about Taylor Swift - like Kanye West once was at an awards ceremony when he grabbed the microphone off her and interrupted her acceptance speech - it's just that surely, this Pennsylvania-born lass-turned-southern belle, who sings nice country pop songs, is too good to be true?

She's beautiful, rich (the biggest earning music star on the planet for the year just gone, in fact), a role model to millions, and though I like my music with a few more corrupting morals and dodgy ethics, this girl is mighty fine at what she does.

And did I mention that she's just so goddamn nice and believes all her fans are her friends? And at concerts, her "friends" give the love back with piercing screams, joyful tears, and uncontrollable shaking.


As she told TimeOut in our cover story last year when her shows in New Zealand were announced: "That these kids consider me a role model is an amazing compliment. These mums come up to me and say, 'thank you', and to me, it's the sweetest thing because they're complimenting [my] character and that's a wonderful thing to get a compliment on".

Sorry, but forgive me for having my doubts about her living, breathing authenticity.

And over three nights this weekend, around 35,000 people will be heading along to Vector to see if Taylor is actually real.

If her Speak Now stage show is anything to go by, she is the Lady Gaga of country music - minus the skimpy outifts of course. She has nine costume changes, moves around the venue performing on multiple stages, has dancers and aerialists swanning around all over the place, and Swift takes to the air too, when she pops up from underneath the stage.

So forget about the Volvo yacht race being in town, this week is Taylor Swift Week. And with the money Team Swift earns in a year she could buy a couple of those yachting syndicates and have enough spare change to build a mansion in the Bay of Islands too.

Well, maybe, because I'm sure there are other things the 22-year-old singer and high-powered businesswoman wants to buy with the estimated US$35.7 million ($43.5 million) she's earned over the past year from her 17-country Speak Now tour, and sales of records and merchandise.

She is bigger than U2, Lady Gaga and, as Swift's record company boss Scott Burchetta said in a piece about the singer on 60 Minutes last weekend: "Taylor Swift is a major corporation."

Which makes me wonder: where did I go wrong in my life? I'm too naughty, potty-mouthed and heathen-like for a start. I can't hold a tune as well as Taylor either, but even when she hits bum notes, most famously during a duet at the Grammys with Stevie Nicks, she gets away with it. And when her performance was slated by one critic in particular, she penned Mean, which is now one of her biggest hits.

That song, which has turned from a Swift venting session into an anti-bullying anthem, is also one of her banjo-driven songs. That alone makes her the most popular banjo player in history but it also proves she is a freak.

I mean, the girl can play a banjo and still be cool in the eyes of her adoring fans. There is no way she is real.

What: Taylor Swift
Where: Vector Arena, Auckland
When: March 16, 17 & 18

- TimeOut