Taylor Swift learned guitar to get noticed.
The 25-year-old singer took music lessons with Ronnie Cramer in 2002 and he believed she only took up the instrument to set her apart from other aspiring singers.
Ronnie said: "Taylor was a great kid, you could tell she had a talent.
"My brother was her vocal coach from when she was nine years old and before that she was always performing...
"They got me on board because they realised no-one would notice this kid.
"Back then, no young girl played a 12-string guitar and sung - she would be the first."
Ronnie, 48, remembers the 'Shake It Off' hitmaker as a dedicated student who, spurred on by her mother Andrea, was determined to succeed in the music industry.
He said: "Her mum was the boss and she was pushy.
"Taylor was marketed to be the perfectly packaged star - and she was keen.
"She would play all the time - I'd turn up and she'd have the guitar in her hand showing me songs she'd written.
"Her mum was strict with her, but it worked."
Andrea even kept an eye on her daughter's diet after advising her not to be a "fat pop star".
Ronnie recalled: "Andrea came back from Taco Bell and as soon as she came in the kids went running over.
"Taylor was tempted by the Taco Bell but ate a salad instead. I remember her mum once saying, 'Tay, nobody wants to see a fat pop star.' "
For her 20th birthday, Taylor's dad asked Ronnie to send the guitar she learned to play on and the 'Blank Space' star later declared it her "best gift ever".
Ronnie told heat magazine: "For her 20th birthday, her dad Scott asked me to send him the guitar I had taught Taylor on.
"She called me to thank me for sending it. She said, 'It was the best gift I've ever got.' It was so nice of her to call me."