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Taylor Swift released her acclaimed album folklore in July 2020, and her boyfriend Joe Alwyn is credited with co-writing two songs on the album, “exile” and “betty.” At the 2021 Grammy Awards, folklore won Album of the Year. In a new interview with The Guardian, Alwyn discussed what it was like working on folklore with Swift.

Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn walk together in 2019
Taylor Swift and Joe Alwyn | Jackson Lee/GC Images

Joe Alwyn co-wrote songs on Taylor Swift’s album ‘folklore’

When Swift originally released folklore, Jack Antonoff and Aaron Dessner were credited as co-writers and co-producers. Justin Vernon of Bon Iver received a co-writing credit for “exile,” a song he features on. An unknown songwriter named William Bowery was listed as a co-writer for “exile” and “betty.”

After speculation about who Bowery could be, Swift confirmed Alwyn is Bowery in the concert documentary Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions.

After folklore won Album of the Year at the 2021 Grammy Awards, Alwyn was credited with co-producing the songs “exile,” “betty,” “my tears ricochet,” “august,” “this is me trying,” and “illicit affairs” under his real name.

Speaking with The Guardian, Alwyn called working on folklore “a surreal bonus of lockdown.”

He then added, “That’s an understatement.”

Joe Alwyn called working with Taylor Swift ‘a lot of fun’

Swift and Alwyn have been dating since 2016, and working on folklore marked the first time the two celebrities worked together.

“It wasn’t like, ‘It’s five o’clock, it’s time to try and write a song together,'” Alwyn told The Guardian. “It came about from messing around on a piano, and singing badly, then being overheard, and being, like, ‘Let’s see what happens if we get to the end of it together.'”

For Alwyn, making songs on folklore with Swift did not actually feel like work.

“I mean fun is such a stupid word, but it was a lot of fun. And it was never a work thing, or a ‘Let’s try and do this because we’re going to put this out’ thing. It was just like baking sourdough in lockdown,” Alwyn said in the interview with The Guardian.

He added, “The Grammy was obviously this ridiculous bonus.”


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What Taylor Swift has said about writing songs with Joe Alwyn

Alwyn and Swift are typically private about their relationship. In the Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions documentary, Swift did describe what it was like to make “exile” and “betty” with Alwyn.

While Alwyn told The Guardian that he is not a stellar piano player, Swift complimented his skill.

“Joe plays piano beautifully and he’s always just playing and making things up and kind of creating things. And ‘exile’ was crazy because Joe had written that entire piano part,” Swift said of Alwyn in the documentary.

Alwyn also co-wrote the songs “champagne problems,” “coney island,” and “evermore” on Swift’s 2020 album evermore, a companion album to folklore.