The first song Taylor Swift collaborated on with her former boyfriend Joe Alwyn, the ballad appears on 2020’s Folklore as a duet with Bon Iver. At the time of the album’s release, Joe was credited under the pseudonym William Bowery, though Taylor confirmed William and Joe were one and the same during her Disney+ concert film, Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions.
Taylor revealed Joe had written the entire piano part, along with singing, ”I can see you standin’ honey/With his arms around your body/Laughin’ but the joke’s not funny at all.” She went on to say The Favourite actor was ”always just playing and making things up and kind of creating things,” but the couple may have never worked together if it wasn’t for the COVID-19 shutdown.
“I was like, ‘Hey, this could be really weird, and we could hate this,'” she explained, “‘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?'”
The result of their professional collaboration? Winning Album of the Year at the 2021 Grammys.
“We’re so proud of ‘Exile,'” Taylor gushed. “All I have to do is dream up some lyrics and come up with some gut-wrenching, heart-shattering story to write with him.”