Last summer, the National Music Publishers Association honored Taylor Swift with the Songwriter Icon Award. It’s unclear how Swift was declared the recipient of that prize, but however that process went, Damon Albarn probably wasn’t involved, as he doesn’t believe that Swift actually writes her own songs.
In a new Los Angeles Times interview, the Gorillaz leader spoke about how he finds that playing in a band (as opposed to performing solo) is “not hard,” saying, “You can’t hide behind anything. You learn whether the songs are any good or whether they were popular at the time because of the sound and the attitude.”
That prompted a conversation about artists relying on “sound and attitude” and the interviewer mentioned Swift (as somebody who isn’t that way), calling her “an excellent songwriter.” Albarn replied, “She doesn’t write her own songs.” The interviewer retorted, “Of course she does. Co-writes some of them.” To that, Albarn replied by disagreeing and noting that he likes Billie Eilish and Finneas as songwriters:
“That 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. Doesn’t mean that the outcome can’t be really great. And some of the greatest singers — I mean, Ella Fitzgerald never wrote a song in her life. When I sing, I have to close my eyes and just be in there. I suppose I’m a traditionalist in that sense.
A really interesting songwriter is Billie Eilish and her brother. I’m more attracted to that than to Taylor Swift. It’s just darker — less endlessly upbeat. Way more minor and odd. I think she’s exceptional.”
Check out the full interview here.
Some artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.