To the world, Taylor Swift is a country-pop, occasionally divisive superstar whose talent is matched only by white-hot ambition. But to Tyler Conroy, she’ll always be a role model who helped him through some of the darkest periods in his adolescence.
“Taylor is someone who’s lived a positive lifestyle and wants to tell other people, ‘You can live a great life if you just learn to be yourself and not let yourself be defined by the things that other people who don’t matter say,’” the 24-year-old told The Huffington Post. “One of my favorite things that Taylor has taught me is that if you feel like you’re different, you’re lucky enough to be different, and you shouldn’t change that.”
Conroy discovered Swift’s music in 2008 after the singer released her hit album, “Fearless.” At the time, he was a closeted gay teen who struggled to fit in at his Massachusetts high school, and had even contemplated suicide. Eight years later, he’s the “honorary author” of Taylor Swift: This Is Our Song, a comprehensive, 280-page book that celebrates Swift’s 10th anniversary on the music scene. Released in October, the tome is a mesmerizing, fan-sourced compilation of interviews, album reviews, essays and photographs chronicling the era-defining star.