Taylor Swift’s fans were right. The pop star was the infamous “Nils Sjoberg” named in the writing credits for Calvin Harris’ Rihanna collaboration “This Is What You Came For,” a representative for Swift confirmed.
Harris, Swift’s ex, also confirmed that she wrote the lyrics and sang a bit on the song as well. However, the superstar DJ got defensive on Twitter, claiming that Swift only unveiled the secret to “tear her ex bf down” and she just needed “someone new to try and bury like Katy [Perry] ETC.” Harris’ outburst makes this secret collaboration all the more complex — a rep for Harris declined to comment — leaving more questions than answers about how the song figures into their former relationship and careers.
Why did Taylor Swift keep the collaboration a secret?
“Initially she wanted it kept secret, hence the pseudonym,” Harris tweeted, confirming that she had used the name Nils Sjoberg, who is registered on BMI. “This Is What You Came For” is the second song Swift has been attached to as only a songwriter, though she does provide uncredited vocals on the track. Previously, she co-wrote Kellie Pickler’s “Best Days of Your Life.” Plus, Swift rarely makes guest appearances on other artists’ songs, though she covers many in her live shows. The last known collaboration she has done with a romantic partner was “Half of My Heart” with John Mayer in 2010.
What are Taylor Swift’s rights as a songwriter?
As a co-writer of the song who provided lyrics and the melody line, Swift could prevent the song’s usage in television and film, but not live performances. In 2014, Harris’ ex-girlfriend Rita Ora dealt with this issue. The pop singer claimed that Harris blocked the televised performance of her song “I Will Never Let You Down” at the Teen Choice Awards, a song Harris wrote and produced entirely. “He owns the rights to it … so [he] has to approve anything TV-wise,” she told Ryan Seacrest in an interview.
The track was the pair’s first collaboration, and Ora has even hinted that it may have led to their breakup after a year of dating. In since-deleted tweets, Harris loosely confirmed that he had been behind the performance’s cancellation. “But just know I had a damn good reason,” he wrote. In the aftermath, rumors swirled that Ora had to delay her album because of Harris banning the release of tracks he produced for it.
Why is this only coming out now?
Fans figured out that “Sjoberg” was a pseudonym after the song debuted at Coachella, making the timing of Swift’s revelation seemingly arbitrary. But a viral story posted by TMZ that claimed “sources” had leaked the information brought the rumors a bigger platform, leading to confirmation that Swift was indeed Nils Sjoberg. Even so, the single began gaining radio and chart traction well before the couple’s official breakup. Swift showed public support of the song even before it was debuted, sporting a jacket with the single’s cover art on it the day Harris and Rihanna performed their latest live at Coachella.
Harris used the timing against Swift on Twitter. “I figure if you’re happy in your new relationship, you should focus on that instead of trying to tear your ex bf down for something to do,” he tweeted. He explained his “something to do” comment in another tweet, claiming that Swift needs “someone new to try and bury,” evoking her feud with Katy Perry that reportedly inspired her single “Bad Blood.” Swift has remained quiet across social media, not yet responding to Harris’ comments. (Perry posted a gif of Hillary Clinton.)
Is Taylor Swift secretly behind more songs?
Given how rare it is for Swift to write songs for other artists, the writing credit could indicate more new music on the way from the pop star, who has released an album every two years since 2006. She has maintained a particular pattern, with her albums being debuted in the fall of those release years, typically the last week of October. In April, just a couple weeks before “This Is What You Came For” dropped, Swift told Vogue that she has “no idea what’s next,” though she said she would never stop writing new songs.