"It was just messing around on a piano and singing badly and being overheard"
Joe Alwyn admits he never would have foreseen his tinkling on piano keys during quarantine would lead to getting a Grammy.
Last year, the "Conversations with Friends" actor took home a Grammy for his contributions to his longtime girlfriend Taylor Swift's album "folklore" which won the award for album of the year.
Under the pseudonym William Bowery, Alwyn is credited as a songwriter on the album's hit tracks, "exile" and "betty", and additionally has three writing credits on Swift's followup album "evermore." Joe was later added as one of the album's producers by Swift on the Grammy Award win page to allow the actor to claim his Grammy after his involvement in the project was listed under a pseudonym.
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In an interview with GQ Hype, the 31-year-old detailed how he had accidentally stumbled into becoming a co-writer for Taylor's "folklore."
"It was really the most accidental thing to happen in lockdown. It wasn't like, 'It's three o'clock, it's time to write a song!'" Alwyn explained. "It was just messing around on a piano and singing badly and being overheard and then thinking, you know, what if we tried to get to the end of it together?"
While "The Favourite" actor doesn't make a vocal appearance on the tracks, he revealed that "there's probably a voice note somewhere that should be burned."
The famously private couple have been dating since 2016, and decided together to credit the actor under a pseudonym to allow fans to focus on the music, rather than the idea that the couple had written the songs together.
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"The idea was that people would just listen to the music rather than focus on the fact that we wrote it together," he said. "It was fun to do together, and I was proud of it. It was nice getting such a positive reception."
When the track "exile" was also sent to Bon Iver's Justin Vernon to be co-produced, Alwyn gushed about the "surreal" feeling of receiving feedback with Vernon singing on the track and called it "a perk of lockdown."
In her Disney+ documentary "Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions," Swift revealed the identity of William Bowery while offering fans insight into her writing process for the surprise album.
"I heard Joe singing the entire fully formed chorus of 'Betty' from another room, and I just was like, 'Hello,'" Swift recalled of being blown away by his musical ability. "I came in and 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 see what it's like if we write this song together?'"