2024 Impact 50 Honoree: Tree Paine

FIRST GIG : Intern at Mute Records
MONEY QUOTE: I always have to bring up everything that can go sideways…”


In one of the most memorable scenes from Taylor Swift’s excellent 2020 Netflix documentary “Miss Americana,” the artist, along with her family, debate whether the then-famously apolitical superstar should take an endorsement position in the Tennessee U.S. Senate contest against Marsha Blackburn in the 2018 election cycle.

Having endured her own civil trial against a Denver DJ who publicly groped her during a media stop, Swift wasn’t having Blackburn’s opposition to the reauthorization of the federal Violence Against Women Act and decided to publicly say so.

Once the decision was made to take a stand, “Miss Americana” showed Paine, plopped next to Swift on overstuffed couch cushions and clearly supporting her new client as the fateful social media post went live. It was a bold and daring move in a post-Dixie Chicks, cancel culture environment. Paine is clearly a rock of support and wise guidance in the scene.

In the years since, Paine has become not only Swift’s trusted advisor, but a beloved figure among Swifties, who chronicle her every perceived move or public appearance. After all, Paine has had a key role in not only shaping Swift’s image as a maturing pop star but navigating it beyond, well, these weird times in which haters gonna hate, hate, hate – clearly for naught.

Paine doesn’t often do interviews, if at all, including for this piece. Most publicists don’t – their job, after all, is to shine a light on their client, not themselves. But Paine clearly has had an outsized impact on Swift’s career since joining Team Taylor in 2018.

Paine arrived at this point by working her way up through the public relations arms of record labels including Maverick and Interscope, launching her own marketing company and working for the Academy of Country Music before joining Warner Music in Nashville.

And clearly the relationship plays a role in Swift’s continued skyrocketing trajectory as not only a ticket-selling behemoth but a cultural lightning rod as well. Since launching her “Eras Tour,” Swift has become the biggest-selling live artist of all time, and the first to break the billion-dollar gross mark. And the “Eras Tour” isn’t even over yet.