Joe Alwyn has finally opened up about the origins of the pen name he used while working with girlfriend Taylor Swift on Folklore and Evermore. And as it turns out, Swifties were not too far off from the correct meaning of his pseudonym, William Bowery.
During the actor’s Thursday (May 19) appearance on The Kelly Clarkson Show, Alwyn explained that he and Swift decided to have him go under a different name to keep the quality of the songs the focus of the album. “We chose to do it so the people first and foremost would listen to the music before dissecting the fact that we did it together. We did it under the name William Bowery. Very fancy. It sounds like a kind of Agatha Christie character that should be wearing a monocle with a big mustache,” he told Clarkson.
Dissecting the name into its two separate parts, the Conversation With Friends star said the pseudonym “was a combination of William … my great-grandfather — who I actually never met — was a composer. He wrote a lot of classical music and wrote a lot of film scores.” As for the last name? Alwyn shared, “Bowery is the area in New York that I spent a lot of time in when I first moved over there.”
Alwyn went on to win a Grammy for his work on Folklore, as he co-produced six songs on Swift’s album — “Exile,” “Betty,” “My Tears Ricochet,” “August,” “This Is Me Trying” and “Illicit Affairs” — and additionally co-wrote “Exile” and “Betty” under William Bowery. On Evermore, the actor also helped Swift pen “Champagne Problems,” “Coney Island” and “Evermore.”
The collaboration between Alwyn and Swift happened rather naturally, he explained in a May 9 interview with GQ. “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!’” he told the magazine. “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?’”
Watch Alwyn describe his pen name on The Kelly Clarkson Show below.