Posted by: rcieri | November 15, 2009

‘Broken in Two’: A love song for Taylor Swift

leffler
Junior punter Andy Leffler posted his song about meeting Taylor Swift on YouTube last September, and it has since received more than 6,500 views. Photo courtesy of YouTube.com

September 8, 2009

By Rachel Cieri

For junior Elon football punter Andy Leffler, it all started with a crazy idea and some sidewalk chalk.

It was summer 2008, and the Columbus, Ohio native and his best friend were taking a road trip to Nashville, Tenn. By that point, Leffler had been following country singer Taylor Swift for a few years already, but it wasn’t until that trip that he became, quite possibly, her biggest fan.

“He said, ‘You should write a letter to Taylor,'” Leffler said of his friend. “Then he showed me that he found her address in Nashville and dared me to write a letter to her in sidewalk chalk in front of her house.”

Never one to turn down a spontaneous challenge, Leffler agreed, even with concerns about seeming too forward. As he finished the letter, stick of chalk in hand, a black Hummer pulled up and a man climbed out before walking over to ask Leffler about the letter.

“He asked me, ‘Is that a letter to Taylor?’ and I said ‘Yes.’ Then he said, ‘Well, I’m Taylor’s father,” Leffler said. “We ended up talking about Nashville for about 10 or 15 minutes.”

Later during their trip, Leffler and his friend were approached by a woman giving away tickets to the CMA awards that would allow them to meet Swift.

To Leffler’s surprise, Swift remembered the letter he’d written to her, and her mother even commented that she thought it was sweet.

“She just seemed like such a genuine girl with values and morals,” Leffler said.

It was only natural for him to write a song about the experience.

Now with more than 6,500 hits on YouTube, his song, “Taylor Swift (Broken in Two)” has gotten Leffler more attention than he’d ever anticipated.

Shortly after he posted the video last September, Leffler was contacted by Winston-Salem radio station  107.5 WKZL, which played the song and interviewed him. Not much time went by before a radio station in Maryland contacted him as well.

“They actually made fun of me on the radio,” Leffler said. “For the record, I’m tone-deaf. I want people to pay more attention to the lyrics than the singing.”

Leffler said he gets teased by some of his Elon football teammates because of the video as well.

“They like to call me ‘Taylor’ or ‘Taylor Swift’ because of the video,” Leffler said. “They played it for the coaches, too.”

Leffler started writing poetry long before he began songwriting, using it as an outlet for stress in high school. Even though he is the punter on Elon’s football team, he said the sport isn’t a substitute for the outlet songwriting has become.

“It’s more of a mental, emotional thing,” he said.

Leffler got into songwriting simply by picking up a how-to book from the library. He had no previous musical experience, and he taught himself to play guitar from YouTube videos.

“I searched ‘learn to play guitar,'” Leffler said. “You and Me’ by Lifehouse was the first song I ever learned to play.”

A man of many interests, the biology major spent the summer researching a different kind of music — the songs of North Carolina mockingbirds. Leffler is an aspiring small-animal veterinarian, Spanish minor, Tae Kwon Do expert and ghost-hunting fanatic.

Taylor Swift doesn’t know what she’s missing.

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