There’s a reason for everything! Taylor Swift (finally) revealed why she has chosen to use her pseudonym Nils Sjöberg to make music.
In a discussion with Sir Paul McCartney for Rolling Stone, the “Cardigan” singer came clean about her double life as a songwriter by explaining why pseudonyms can be useful to musicians.
“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 30-year-old Grammy winner said in the interview published on Friday, November 13. “And that’s when it’s really fun to create fake names and write under them.”
The former Beatles member, 78, then asked Swift whether she’s ever used a pseudonym, to which she replied, “Oh, yeah.” From there, McCartney questioned whether it was “a widely known fact” that the Pennsylvania native had.
“I think it is now, but it wasn’t,” she continued. “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.”
Swift added, “I remembered always hearing that when Prince wrote ‘Manic Monday,’ they didn’t reveal it for a couple of months.”
The English icon applauded Swift’s choice by sharing that he has also used a pseudonym to work on music. “Yeah, 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 first used the faux moniker while working on ex-boyfriend Calvin Harris’ EDM track “This Is What You Came For” in 2016 before their split was announced that year. Though it had initially been a secret, the “Shake It Off” singer’s rep confirmed her involvement on the song months after its release.
The Scottish DJ, 36, later revealed that Swift also “sings on a little bit of it too,” but he didn’t specify where her vocals appear. “Amazing lyric writer and she smashed it as usual,” he tweeted at the time. “I wrote the music, produced the song, arranged it and cut the vocals though. And initially she wanted it kept secret, hence the pseudonym.”
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Earlier this year, Swift produced a cover of her 2017 single “Look What You Made Me Do” under her Swedish-inspired pseudonym for Killing Eve. The rendition was recorded by a nonexistent band called Jack Leopards & The Dolphin Club. Swifties quickly theorized that the Cats actress, her brother, Austin Swift, and Jack Antonoff — who is also listed as a producer on the song — were behind the band’s creation.
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