If all we wrote in this article was the internationally acclaimed pop singer’s name alone, that would be an article in and of itself. Since pursuing her career in country music in her early teens, Swift has become a global megastar. With more than 40 million albums sold across the globe, the singing sensation has written dozens of worldwide hits and has amassed one of the most loyal and profound fan bases in history. Her songs? Well, let’s just say that they are nearly impossible to “shake off” once they hit the airwaves.
But enough about the multi-platinum, seven-time Grammy Award-winning amazingness that is T-Swift, we are here to tell you about the next best thing, Elizabeth Scarborough — Vegas’ Taylor Swift tribute artist for the next five months.
Since we figured you’d be just as curious about what it’s like to be a Taylor Swift tribute artist (obviously because we all just love Taylor), we caught up with the bubbly South Carolina native about her upcoming run with Vegas’ “Legends in Concert” at the Flamingo and got a chance to ask her a little bit about her personal life. Read on to learn more about Elizabeth aka, Taylor Swift’s separated-at-birth-twin (*totally unofficial but we think that may be what’s really going on here).
VDC: So you’re just about as fascinating as Taylor herself… Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Elizabeth Scarborough: I am from Charleston, South Carolina but I just graduated from the University of South Carolina, which is in Columbia with a degree in public relations and a minor in Spanish. I am 22 years old and I am a Taylor Swift tribute artist.
VDC: How did you begin your career as a Taylor Swift tribute artist?
ES: I began my career as a Taylor Swift artist as a super-fan of hers. I went to an all-girls school growing up and she was very popular at my school and I was really no different than all of my friends; We all had her CD, we thought she was gorgeous, the coolest thing ever and I had always sang in choirs growing up and when I was 15, because of Taylor Swift, I became interested in playing guitar.
So, I learned how to play guitar and I think that’s when I began taking it kind of, you know, maybe further than just the regular Taylor Swift fan. I would go to the little girls’ lower school classrooms and perform for them and then I started playing at birthday parties… their moms would hire me out for birthday parties and I would start playing for them and then, when I was in college, I made a facebook page titled “Taylor Swift Tribute,” thinking that I could get more moms to go on there and see what I do, not knowing that there was an entire tribute world out there. This was then when ‘Legends in Concert’ saw my page and they had a general manager from the Myrtle Beach branch of ‘Legends’ who messaged me and asked me to come and audition with ‘Legends’ as their Taylor Swift.
VDC: What is the most memorable thing you’ve experienced while performing as Taylor?
ES: Well, we have always been blessed to have such great crowds and what’s really cool about ‘Legends’ is that since you get five or six acts in a show, there’s somebody for everybody. This past summer, I had one especially exquisite crowd and they were a volleyball camp or something that came to the show and there were like 45 high school-aged girls and they were so into it, totally awesome. They just came up and they all danced and they sang and they were so great and just really fun to make that connection and bring so many people out of the crowd into the show and make them a part of that.
VDC: Did you ever dream that you would be a Taylor Swift tribute artist?
ES: (Laughing) No. If I wasn’t a Taylor Swift tribute artist, I would probably be playing at little girls’ birthday parties as Taylor Swift still… well, I don’t know I love my degree in PR and I love communications and everything and I’ve studied abroad in Spain so I would probably be doing something with that -either with a corporation or an agency doing multicultural communications and public relations. Or, I would be going back to school and getting my masters in broadcast journalism or something along those lines. I am also really interested in health and fitness; there are just so many different ways you can go with PR so maybe I would be working for a food company or something advocating healthy eating and healthy lifestyles.
VDC: Do you ever get lost in your own identity?
ES: No, definitely not. I mean to a certain extent, when you’re on stage and you are performing as them, you’re acting and you’re giving it 110 percent every single time you step on that stage with a mic in your hand. At some point [yes] when you’re on stage but she is so real to me, I mean, I have never met her but I follow so many of her big fans on Twitter and girls who are major Swifties who have like these huge fan accounts with 50,000 plus followers. I’ve gotten to meet some of them and we are always in contact and so she is more like, you know she’s a celebrity but she has that down-to-earth feeling that I think that’s why people love her so much. She is also like a friend and so I don’t think that you ever start thinking that you’re becoming one of your friends.
So, for me it’s not that I’m actually thinking that I’m Taylor Swift when I’m walking down the street or when I’m working out or even if people recognize me as a Taylor Swift tribute artist with ‘Legends’ at a restaurant and want to take a picture with me or have me sign an autograph, you know I’m just portraying her and I have the privilege of tributing her so, I think it’s a blessing but it’s a fine line and it’s not easily confused. I think that’s just because she’s just so accessible and real. She is still out there… I think like with Michael Jackson or Elvis, you’re not going to see them day to day, you’re not going to see them on tour, and that goes without saying but [Taylor Swift] is still here and every single time you open up your computer, there is something new about her. She’s still out there and she’s so real.
VDC: What is the most challenging part about performing as Taylor Swift?
ES: I think that because I am such a big fan of hers and I have been for so long like there’s not a day that’s gone by where I haven’t been obsessed with her music and her style and her look that sometimes it’s hard for me when I’m performing to take a step back from that and see it from the greater picture. Sometimes I get so caught up on the smallest nuances because I know her so well but they don’t always matter when you’re tributing because you want to portray the broader version of the artist.
I think that’s a blessing and a curse… the fact that, you know, she is on tour right now too and so I can look on my phone, go on Twitter and know the exact costume she is wearing, the exact hairstyle she has, her exact nail color that night and, for me, it’s like oh I want to replicate that — that is Taylor right now. But, when you’re with ‘Legends,’ you kind of have to remember that you’re serving to a broader audience who might not be as totally Taylor Swift obsessed as I am or some other major Swifties are. It’s having to take a step back and remember that we are looking at [the artist’s career] as a whole and not just individual moments. But I love being able to do that because I think that because I do know her so well, I am able to give the most accurate portrayal and representation possible instead of somebody who’s looking from the outside in, I feel like I’m looking from the inside out as well.
VDC: If you could ask Taylor Swift one question what would it be?
ES: Hmmm, well, there’s a lot (laughing). But the first thing that comes to my mind because of course I am always trying to replicate her costumes would be ‘Can I please have some of your old costumes?’ The ones that she doesn’t wear anymore. Also just, ‘How are you?’ I don’t know. I wouldn’t want to be weird or anything!
VDC: What was the hardest Taylor Swift mannerism to perfect?
ES: (Laughing) Well, I don’t want to make it seem like I can’t improve any more, but as far as her mannerisms are concerned, I have been watching her since I was 12 years old… that’s 10 years now and almost half of my life so, as far as mannerisms are concerned, that isn’t so much of a struggle for me. But I am always trying to work on vocal tone and vocal quality to get to match hers 100 percent, you know?
VDC: Do you go to vocal lessons or do it on your own?
ES: Both. I am always practicing, always listening. I mean, it’s funny because you know the song so well but you can always hear something more. You can always work on it more so I have a vocal teacher, well several, because we travel so much. One here in Columbia, in Charleston, I have one in Branson, I’ll be contacting people when I’m out in Vegas and that’s more like [training] just how can we sing healthfully and how can we protect the voice when we’re doing so many shows. But then to get the fine nuances, I listen to the CDs, I listen to her live and I take what’s the best and I think most iconic of her and I try to incorporate those into my set when I’m singing.
VDC: What are you most looking forward to performing in Vegas?
ES: I’ve never even been to Vegas so I am really excited about coming there and seeing what it’s all about and putting it all out there and having a great time. This will be my longest run with ‘Legends,’ a full contract for five months so I’m really excited to see how it goes and just be in the entertainment capital of, you know, not even America, but the world so, I am really excited.
VDC: What is your favorite Taylor song to sing?
ES: Well, my favorite one that we do in the set is “Blank Space” off of her new album. I think it’s fun because there is a lot of choreography in that song with the male backup dancers. I love the harmonies in that song, the musicality of it is really good and it’s a really fun song to sing because it’s so popular that everybody knows it and loves it and it’s vocally challenging but it’s not impossible so you’ve got to stay on your toes and also remember to have fun with it.
VDC: How do you stay up to date on all of your Taylor Swift news?
ES: Oh, I’ve got Twitter, I’ve got anything on the internet honestly. I feel like, I mean cookies track you on the internet so anytime I go on it’s like ‘Taylor Swift this,’ ‘Taylor Swift that.’ I also have a lot of friends who know that I’m so obsessed with her so they will send me links. I’ll get links from random numbers that I don’t even have in my phone like an article to Taylor Swift and I’m like ‘Thanks, that’s awesome, I know right?!’ Or some of my parents’ friends will email me and it’s awesome, it’s so funny. Everyone knows that it’s my passion. But also she is so great communicating with her fans so her Twitter page, her Instagram, Tumblr, you know, all those social media sites.
VDC: Where do you do most of your shopping to achieve Taylor’s signature look?
ES: It’s from so many different places. First of all, I spend hours researching what she is wearing and what she is doing and then I start online and I see what I can find. Sometimes I find pieces that are really inexpensive like off of ebay or Amazon or something and I can incorporate those into my costume. Sometimes you have to put down a little bit more money to get the exact look because these things are going to be onstage and we are performing 11-12 times a week so, I’ll go to different websites, different clothing lines that I like. But mostly what I’ll do is I have a costume designer and seamstress and we sit down and we go through how we can make exact replicas of her costumers. I just bought a sewing machine and I started trying to do that by myself too just because sometimes it’s hard to, because I’m travelling so much, I don’t know a seamstress in Vegas offhand but I need those costumes by the time I’m out there so we’ll sit down and try to design them or I’ll try to get pieces and add to it. It’s a combination of a lot of different things.
VDC: Have you ever played along like you’re Taylor Swift in public when you weren’t working?
ES: Well, not to the point where it’s like, ‘Oh my gosh, are you Taylor Swift,’ and I’ll be like, ‘Yeah!’ but somebody will be like (in a whisper voice), ‘I love your music’ and I’ll be like ‘thank you…’ you know? Or, ‘We love you like you are so awesome,’ and I’ll be like, ‘I love you too!’ I don’t want to crush their dreams but I also don’t want to be like ‘Oh thanks, I’m Taylor Swift’ like on the street because I’m totally not and I don’t think that would go over well. But, if someone’s truly convinced and they are like, ‘Oh my gosh, ‘Shake It Off’ is the coolest song that’s ever been written,’ I’ll be like ‘Isn’t it? Thank you!’ I think it’s a great song too so I am totally on board with them, ya know?
VDC: How many of her concerts have you been to?
ES: I’ve been to four of her concerts and I’m going to see her 1989 Tour in September. Right after I get to Vegas, I’ll have 10 days there and then I’m taking a red-eye out and I’m flying to Nashville to see her on Friday the 25th and I’m so excited. It’s so awesome that I am going to be performing those songs in Vegas and also hearing her sing them live, it’s really neat so I am really excited about that.
VDC: The concert is amazing, you’re going to die!
ES: I probably will. I might.
VDC: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
ES: You can add that I’m always on social media; I love to be in touch with people. My Twitter and Instagram are @tswifttribute and my Facebook is Taylor Swift Tribute and I look forward to meeting everybody and I love keeping in touch with people and I am just looking forward to everything.
For more information about “Legends in Concert” or to purchase show tickets to see Elizabeth Scarborough performing as Taylor Swift beginning Sept. 18, 2015, click HERE.