Taylor Swift is one of those artists with such a level of fame that any music she makes would be successful. In fact, she once accidentally released a track that was eight seconds of static and it went to number one on iTunes.
But in a new interview, she’s spoken about the appeal of writing music under a fake name. In a discussion with Paul McCartney for Rolling Stone, Swift opened up about writing the Calvin Harris and Rihanna track ‘This Is What You Came For’ in 2016.
“I wrote under the name Nils Sjöberg because those are two of the most popular names of Swedish males. I wrote this song called ‘This Is What You Came For’ that Rihanna ended up singing. And nobody knew for a while.”
At the time of the song’s release, Swift was dating Harris. After they broke up, news leaked about Swift’s contribution to the song. TMZ reported Swift “wrote the song, sat down at a piano and did a demo into her iPhone,” which she then sent to Harris. At the time, Swift said she didn’t want her involvement in the track to be a big thing.
“I think when a pseudonym comes in is when you still have a love for making the work, and you don’t want the work to become overshadowed by this thing that’s been built around you, based on what people know about you,” the ‘I’d Lie’ singer said. “And that’s when it’s really fun to create fake names and write under them.”
Swift added, “I remembered always hearing that when Prince wrote ‘Manic Monday,’ they didn’t reveal it for a couple of months.”
McCartney then shared his experience with writing under a pseudonym. “It also proves you can do something without the fame tag. I did something for Peter and Gordon; my girlfriend’s brother and his mate were in a band called Peter and Gordon. And I used to write under the name Bernard Webb,” he said.
Swift used her Nils Sjöberg name again earlier this year when she produced a stripped-back version of her song ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ for the show Killing Eve. The cover was performed by a fictional band –– Jack Leopards & The Dolphin Club –– which Swifties have theorised is made up of her brother Austin and music producer Jack Antonoff.