Who is William Bowery, the mysterious songwriter credited on Taylor Swift’s new album ‘Folklore’?

Joe Alwyn? Joni Mitchell?! Theories abound about who William Bowery, the musician name-checked on the surprise-released record, could be

In the past 24 hours Taylor Swift announced and promptly released her eighth studio album, ‘Folklore’. Undergoing an astonishing indie-folk transformation, she’s teamed up with Bon Iver and The National‘s Aaron Dessner, taking a trip to a metaphorical cabin in the woods. It’s a gorgeous listen and as is expected with any Swift record, there’s always more than first meets the eye (or, you know, ears).

Fans have been quick to pick up on the hidden links and references on the record. A collection of three songs act as one inter-connected story that Swift has dubbed ‘The Teenage Love Triangle’. Fans have speculated that the songs ‘Betty’ ‘Cardigan’ and ‘August’ make up this trio. Meanwhile ‘The Last Great American Dynasty’ is about composer, sculptor and musician Rebekah Harkness, the previous owner of Swift’s Rhode Island home. But one mystery remains: who is William Bowery?

He’s credited with co-writing the album’s track ‘Exile’ and ‘Betty’, and fans have been trying to figure our who the enigmatic Bowery is. In a pre-release statement Swift referred to them as one of the “musical heroes” she had the chance to collaborate with. Google the name, though, and no other song writing credits crop up. Who could William Bowery could be? Let’s look at the evidence…

Austin Swift (Taylor’s brother)


Swift is known for her fondness for pseudonyms. She was credited for her work on ex-boyfriend Calvin Harris’ ‘This Is What You Came For’ under the name Nils Sjöberg and, a few months ago, internet sleuths were aflame when a cover of ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ appeared on Killing Eve and credited the same name as a songwriter. The song was allegedly performed by Jack Leopards and the Dolphin Club; there was speculation that this band also included her brother Austin Swift. So one of the current Twitter theories is that William Bowery a pseudonym for her younger bro.


Joni Mitchell

This one feels more unlikely, but another theory is that William Bowery could be a pseudonym for Joni Mitchell. She has a painting called Bowery Bum, and in the past there have been rumours that Swift’s song ‘The Lucky One’, from 2010’s ‘Red’, could have been about Mitchell.



Swift and Lorde have been pals for ages. The New Zealand pop protege was famously part of Taylor’s world-dominating ‘girl squad’ – a gang that also included the likes of models Karlie Kloss and Cara Delevingne – during 2014’s ‘1989’ era. There were daft reports of a rift after Lorde said in a 2017 interview with The Guardian: “There are certain places you can’t go together, certain things that you can’t do… There are different sets of considerations within the friendship. It’s like having a friend with an auto-immune disease.” She later apologised on Twitter for being “insensitive” but, to be honest, it seemed like something and nothing and the pair have been spotted hanging out since. Could their ongoing friendship have resulted in a fresh creative partnership? After all, Lorde’s good mates with Jack Antonoff, who also worked on ‘Folklore’.


Joe Alwyn (Taylor’s boyfriend)

Or could it be T-Swiz’s boyfriend (about whom she wrote ‘London boy’ from 2019’s ‘Lover’) who’s got a hidden credit on ‘Folklore’? This rumour feels like one of the most likely options out there. Fans have pointed out that Swift and Alwyn attended a Kings of Leon after-party at the Bowery Hotel one of the first times they ever met, and that Alwyn’s great-grandfather is called William. Could this be his new musical moniker? Answers on a postcard, delivered to our cabin in the woods, please!

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