Most-clicked country artist

For 18-year-old country siren Taylor Swift, fame is just a bonus. “The thing about me,” she says, “is that I never expect I’m entitled to success. I feel like you have to do the work to have a chance.” Unexpected words from a singer whose self-titled, debut album went triple-platinum in June. “I thought it would go gold,” Swift says. “Every day is a fairy tale.”

Swift has had a whirlwind year, to say the least. Her song “Change,” off her latest album “Fearless,” was selected by NBC to be one of a handful of songs played throughout the Olympics and included on the official soundtrack of the Games.

“The song is all about triumph over failure,” says Swift, whose success has been reinforced by numerous accolades: She was nominated for the best new artist award at the Grammys and won the Academy of Country Music’s best new female artist statuette as well as video of the year kudos at the CMT Country Music Awards — plus breakout artist laurels at the Teen Choice Awards and an MTV VMA nom for best new artist.

“The highlight has been winning the CMA,” says Swift, citing “my performance on the ACM awards under a downpour of rain” as a close second.

In May, Swift signed on as a spokesmodel for l.e.i. and has since designed a clothing line sold at Wal-Mart stores. “Pairing up with l.e.i. jeans was a way to get my toe into the big fashion world,” she says. “I wanted the clothes to be something my fans could afford.”

One of the first young singer-songwriters to develop a following through MySpace, Swift has been loyal to her base, dedicating 2007 CMT Breakthrough Video Award to her “MySpace fans.”

Recent breakthrough: Swift’s self-titled album went triple platinum in June. She wrote or co-wrote all the songs on her latest, “Fearless.”

Role model: Faith Hill and Ellen DeGeneres. “Both of them have been as famous as you can possibly be, but they are still real people.”

What’s next: “I’m going to start planning my headlining tour.”

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