Taylor Swift has finally confirmed the identity of one William Bowery, the mysterious co-writer behind Folklore tunes, Exile and Betty. Surprise, surprise, it’s her partner, Joe Alwyn.
Taylor confirmed the long-standing rumour in Folklore: the long pond studio sessions, her new documentary on Disney+.
When Taylor first announced her latest album out of nowhere earlier this year, she credited a slew of people, tagging collaborators Aaron Dessner, Jack Antonoff, and Bon Iver. She also thanked, but did not tag, a person named William Bowery.
That alone sent alarm bells ringing in Swifties everywhere.
Who was he?
“There’s been a lot of discussion about William Bowery and his identity ‘cos it’s not a real person,” Taylor explained in the film, in conversation with Dessner and Antonoff.
“So, William Bowery is Joe… as we know,” she confirmed.
Taylor added: “Joe plays piano beautifully, and he’s always just playing and making things up and kind of creating things.”
She revealed that Joe actually wrote the entire piano bit and first verse of Exile.
“I was entranced and asked if we could keep writing that one,” she shared.
“It was pretty obvious that it should be a duet ‘cos he’s got such a low voice and it sounded really good sung down there and in that register.”
Bon Iver ended up singing Joe’s part on the Grammy-nominated song.
For Betty, Taylor explained that she had first heard Joe singing what would become the chorus of the song from another room.
“I was like, ‘Hey, this could be really weird and we could hate this, so because we’re in quarantine and there’s nothing else going on, could we just try to see what it’s like if we write this song together,” she said.
So they did.
Despite only being confirmed now, fans have always believed that Joe co-wrote the songs.
I mean, they formed so many theories.
One particular theory, shared on Twitter, pointed out that Joe’s great-grandfather was an English composer, conductor, and music teacher.
His name was William Alwyn.
WILLIAM BOWERY theory
on oct 2016, taylor (w her squad) & alwyn were spotted in BOWERY hotel. (smth special mustve happened here, that's why she used d name "BOWERY" i guess?)
WILLIAM alwyn is literally joe alwyns great-grandpa. he was was composer, conductor, and music teacher pic.twitter.com/pDOaBieGgL
— a folkWHORE (@taylowkey13) July 23, 2020
You can literally Google “William Alwyn”, and all the breadcrumbs are there.
Folklore: the long pond studio sessions is streaming now on Disney+.
And if that’s not enough for you, you can always (re)watch Miss Americana on Netflix now.