Taylor Swift praised Toby Keith for giving her the big break she needed in a resurface clip from 2005 amid news that the legendary country singer died at 62 after battle with stomach cancer.
The pop megastar was just 15 at the time when a Nashville news station did a feature about her and her rise to fame months before the release of her debut album.
At the time Toby signed her to his record label as he was a major stakeholder in Big Machine Records and it was said that he had advocated for her early in her career.
In the clip a teenage Taylor could be heard saying: ‘You’re in the room and you can feel it. There’s a power there.
And you’re just like “oh my god.” So I don’t think I’ll ever get to a point where I won’t see him and be like: “oh my god, that’s Toby Keith.”‘
Taylor Swift praised Toby Keith for giving her the big break she needed in a resurface clip from 2005
This comes amid news that the country legend died at 62 after a battle with stomach cancer as this message was posted on his social media pages on February 6
The pop megastar was just 15 at the time when a Nashville news station did a feature about her and her rise to fame months before the release of her debut album
Shortly after signing Taylor, Keith departed from Big Machine in 2006 but still had equity within the company.
Taylor famously had an explosive ending with the record label in 2018 as the two parties went their separate ways.
CEO Scott Borchetta famously sold Taylor’s catalogue to Scooter Braun for a whopping $300million which led her to rerecording all of her albums which she is currently in the process of.
Meanwhile, country music legend Toby Keith died at the age of 62.
‘Toby Keith passed peacefully last night on February 5th, surrounded by his family. He fought his fight with grace and courage. Please respect the privacy of his family at this time,’ a message posted on his social media platforms read.
The singer is survived by his wife, Tricia Lucas, and their three children, daughters Shelley Covel Rowland, fellow singer Krystal Keith and son, Stelen. He also had four grandchildren. During his illustrious career, Keith sold over 40 million records.
Earlier this month, the singer opened up about his stomach cancer battle in an interview with 9News. The Should’ve Been a Cowboy singer was first diagnosed in 2021. Keith was born Toby Keith Covel in Clinton, Oklahoma, in 1961.
‘I was going through all the chemo, radiation, surgery, and I got to the point where I was comfortable with whatever happened. I had my brain wrapped around it, and I was in a good spot either way,’ Keith said.
At the time Toby signed her to his record label as he was a major stakeholder in Big Machine Records and it was said that he had advocated for her early in her career
In the clip a teenage Taylor could be heard saying: ‘You’re in the room and you can feel it. There’s a power there’
She continued: ‘And you’re just like “oh my god.” So I don’t think I’ll ever get to a point where I won’t see him and be like: “oh my god, that’s Toby Keith”‘
Shortly after signing Taylor, Keith departed from Big Machine in 2006 but still had equity within the company
Taylor famously had an explosive ending with the record label in 2018 as the two parties went their separate ways; she is pictured that year at the Golden Globes
In December 2023, he performed his final shows, a three date stint in Las Vegas. Afterwards, he even teased that he was planning a US tour saying he was ‘getting the trucks and buses fired up.’
During the 9News interview, Keith, a longtime resident of Norman, Oklahoma, the singer called his wife ‘the best nurse.’
‘Oh, she’s been a trooper. She’s the best nurse. The first time we went to Houston, to the hospital, she stepped right in and she just took control and said, ‘We got this. Let’s go.’ So she’s like, ‘We’re going to get this and don’t worry about it,” he added.
In that interview, Keith mentioned that his Christian faith was helping him through his cancer battle.
‘Cancer is a roller coaster. You just sit here and wait on it to go away — it may not ever go away.’
Keith met his wife in an Oklahoma nightspot in 1981 when he was 20 and she was 19. They dated for three years before marrying in 1984. At that point, Keith adopted Tricia’s daughter from a previous relationship, Shelley.
Their daughter Krystal came along in 1985 followed by son Stelen in 1997. When they married, Keith was still struggling to make it as a country music singer, he credited his wife with standing by him during those times.
‘Dozens of people told Tricia, ‘You need to go to tell your old man to get a real job,” he once told Country Weekly.
Keith pictured during his final televised interview in January 2024
Keith pictured with his wife, Tricia, at the Academy of Country Music Awards in 2018
Keith pictured with his son, Stelen, left, Stelen’s wife Haley, his daughter, Shelley, in front holding the baby, his wife Tricia, and his other daughter, Krystal
‘It took a strong-hearted and loving woman to say, ‘He’s good enough at music that I’ve got to let him try. And it’ll be a great shot for both of us he can make it work.’
‘I absolutely love performing and writing songs, but being at home with my wife, Tricia, and my three kids is the best feeling of all,’ he continued.
In September 2023, Tricia could be seen in tears as Keith performed the song Don’t Let the Old Man In after receiving the Country Icon Award at the People’s Choice Country Awards.
Keith worked as a roughneck in the oil fields of Oklahoma as a young man, then played semi-pro football before launching his career as a singer.
Keith learned good lessons in the booming oil fields, which toughened him up, but also showed him the value of money.
‘The money to be made was unbelievable,’ Keith told The Associated Press in 1996. ‘I came out of high school in 1980 and they gave me this job December of 1979, $50,000 a year. I was 18-years-old.’
But the domestic oil field industry collapsed and Keith had not saved. ‘It about broke us,’ he said. ‘So I just learned. I’ve taken care of my money this time.’
He spent a couple seasons as a defensive end for the Oklahoma City Drillers, a farm team for the now-defunct United States Football League. But he found consistent money playing music with his band throughout the red dirt roadhouse circuit in Oklahoma and Texas.
According to The Washington Post, through his music and other ventures, Keith was bringing in $50 million per year. His ventures included a stake in Big Machine Records, the Nashville-based company that signed Taylor Swift in 2005.
As a young artist, Keith asked to be let out of his contract with Mercury Records when executives didn’t like his album, How Do You Like Me Now? because they thought women would view the title track’s lyrics as disrespectful.
Keith performs onstage for the BMI Icon Award during the 2022 BMI Country Awards in Nashville in 2022
But How Do You Like Me Now? went on to attain gold status, selling more than 500,000 units, and Keith went on to sell 25 million albums for his new label, Dreamworks.
For 20 years, Keith headed his own label, Show Dog/Universal.
Forbes magazine named Keith the top-earning country music artist for 2015, putting his earnings at $50 million.
‘Those figures make me laugh,’ Keith said at the time. ‘Who cares about stuff like that?’
Keith’s enterprises include his ‘I Love This Bar and Grill’ chain of restaurants and his ‘Wild Shot’ premium mezcal liquor, imported from Mexico.
‘I’ve not come up for air since 1993. I’ve not missed a tour, I’ve not missed putting out an album, I’ve not taken time off. That’s why we are in Forbes, because of that work ethic.’
My family knows of the sacrifices we’ve all made in order for me to be in this position, the time away from each other, and me being busy.’
Keith did not speak publicly about his cancer battle until 2022.
The multi-platinum-selling singer said on Twitter that he underwent surgery and received chemotherapy and radiation in the past six months.
‘So far, so good,’ said Keith, an Oklahoma native who turns 61 on July 8. ‘I need time to breathe, recover and relax.
He said in a June 2023 interview with The Oklahoman that he had already spent the past six months undergoing chemotherapy, radiation and surgery
Keith accepts the Country Icon award on stage during the 2023 People’s Choice Country Awards held at the Grand Ole Opry House
‘I am looking forward to spending this time with my family. But I will see the fans sooner than later. I can’t wait.’
He said in a June 2023 interview with The Oklahoman that he had already spent the past six months undergoing chemotherapy, radiation and surgery.
He added that he would continue with the chemo and that his tumor had shrunk by a third and that his blood tests have looked good.
In 2006, Keith set up a foundation to help children battling cancer.