- Taylor Swift confirmed Joe Alwyn co-wrote two songs on folklore, her eighth studio album, in her new Disney+ film Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions.
- Alwyn was credited under the pseudonym "William Bowery" on the tracks "exile" and "betty."
- "There's been a lot of discussion about William Bowery and his identity, 'cause it's not a real person," Swift said. "William Bowery is Joe, as we know."
Remember back in July, when Taylor Swift dropped her eighth studio album, folklore, and Swifties immediately began to speculate about the potential involvement of her boyfriend, Joe Alwyn? If not, let's recap: When Swift announced the surprise release of the album, she listed the artists she'd collaborated with, calling them her "musical heroes." Those artists were The National's Aaron Dessner, Bon Iver, William Bowery, and Bleachers' Jack Antonoff. Unlike the others, William Bowery has no discography of note—so fans quickly began to suspect the name was a pseudonym for Alwyn.
Well, Swift verified that theory in her new Disney+ film, Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions, in which she offers an insight into the album's creation and performs an acoustic version of the record. "There's been a lot of discussion about William Bowery and his identity, 'cause it's not a real person," she said, as People reports. "William Bowery is Joe, as we know." Alwyn co-wrote "betty" and "exile" with Swift, she confirmed.
A photo posted by on
Swift and Alwyn's songwriting partnership began with "betty," she recalled. "I was like, 'Hey, this could be really weird and we could hate this [but] because we're in quarantine and there's nothing else going on, could we just try to write this song together?'" And things, obviously, went pretty well.
"I thought it sounded really good from a masculine perspective and it seemed to be an apology," Swift said. "I've written so many songs from a female's perspective of wanting a male apology that we decided to make it from a teenage boy's perspective apologizing after he loses the love of his life because he's been foolish."
"exile," which features Bon Iver, benefited enormously from Alwyn's prowess on the piano, Swift shared. "Joe plays piano beautifully and he's always just playing and making things up and kinda just creating things," she said. "And 'exile' was crazy because Joe had written the entire piano part."
"He was just singing the whole first verse is and so, I was entranced and asked if we could keep writing that one," she continued. "He has a really low voice, and it sounded real good sung down there." Looks like we can consider "William Bowery" yet another code cracked by the Swifties!
Emily Dixon is a British journalist who’s contributed to CNN, Teen Vogue, Time, Glamour, The Guardian, Wonderland, The Big Roundtable, Bust, and more, on everything from mental health to fashion to political activism to feminist zine collectives. She’s also a committed Beyoncé, Kacey Musgraves, and Tracee Ellis Ross fan, an enthusiastic but terrible ballet dancer, and a proud Geordie lass.
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