Musician Damon Albarn has come under fire after saying Taylor Swift doesn’t write her own songs.
While being interviewed for a feature in the Los Angeles Times, the Gorillaz artist told journalist Mikael Wood that Taylor, an 11-time Grammy-winning artist, doesn’t write her own songs because co-writing “doesn’t count”.
“She doesn’t write her own songs,” Damon said. “[Co-writing] doesn’t count. I know what co-writing is. Co-writing is very different to writing. I’m not hating on anybody, I’m just saying there’s a big difference between a songwriter and a songwriter who co-writes.”
The Blur band member then went on to say that a “really interesting songwriter is Billie Eilish and her brother”, despite claiming that co-writing is not ‘real’ songwriting when Taylor Swift does it.
“A really interesting songwriter is Billie Eilish and her brother. I’m more attracted to that than to Taylor Swift,” he said. “It’s just darker — less endlessly upbeat. Way more minor and odd. I think [Billie Eilish is] exceptional.”
Taylor responded to Damon’s comments via Twitter on January 24th, rebutting his claims.
“@DamonAlbarn I was such a big fan of yours until I saw this. I write ALL of my own songs. Your hot take is completely false and SO damaging. You don’t have to like my songs but it’s really fucked up to try and discredit my writing. WOW,” she wrote.
The Evermore artist followed up with a cheeky clap back saying, “PS I wrote this tweet all by myself in case you were wondering”.
Taylor is credited as a writer or co-writer on all 11 of her studio albums. The 32-year-old famously wrote her third album, Speak Now, all on her own in response to critics who didn’t believe she could do it.
Damon responded to Taylor’s tweet, issuing an apology and claiming his words were taken out of context for “clickbait”.
“I totally agree with you. I had a conversation about songwriting and sadly it was reduced to clickbait,” he wrote. “I apologise unreservedly and unconditionally. The last thing I would want to do is discredit your songwriting. I hope you understand.”
Since the heated exchange, several industry professionals have come forward in defense of Taylor Swift and her talent.
Folklore and Evermore collaborators Jack Antonoff and Aaron Dessner both took to Twitter to share their thoughts on Damon’s comments.
“I’ve never met Damon Albarn and he’s never been to my studio but apparently he knows more than the rest of us about all those songs Taylor writes and brings in,” Jack wrote.
“Not sure why you @Damonalbarn would try to discredit Taylor’s brilliant songwriting but as someone who has gotten to press record around her …your statements couldn’t be further from the truth…you’re obviously completely clueless as to her actual writing and work process,” wrote Aaron.
Singer-songwriter John Paul White said Taylor was a “major part of the songwriting” on their Hunger Games collaboration, ‘Safe & Sound’. “She proved to be one of the best I’ve ever worked with. Selfless, generous, insightful, nuanced – with a CLEAR understanding of the assignment,” he finished.
Producer Nathan Chapman, who worked with Taylor her albums Taylor Swift, Fearless, Speak Now, Red and 1989, said the artist “1,000,000% writes her own songs” and called her “one of the best songwriters of our time”.
“Just to confirm what 99% of people already knew, @taylorswift13 is a force of nature in the studio and one of the best to ever do it,” tweeted songwriter and producer Joel Little, who has worked with Taylor on several songs. “Anyone who’s made music with her knows they were lucky to be in the room.”
While Taylor’s surely feeling an influx of love following the LA Times interview, this is just another example of the sexist stereotypes women in the entertainment industry face when they become successful from their own merit.
Damon’s comments are dripping with misogyny, but we applaud Taylor for defending her talent and hard work.