“Ok, there was a LOT going on — will share my thoughts later! After I nap,” Aaron Dessner tweeted about two hours after Taylor Swift announced that she’s releasing a second surprise album in 2020. Less than five months after Taylor put out the critically acclaimed and commercially successful folklore, the “Cardigan” singer announced she would gift fans a follow-up, evermore, in honor of her 31ist Birthday. In addition to Haim and Bon Iver, evermore features Aaron’s band, The National, on the track, “Coney Island.”
Aaron’s involvement in evermore is unsurprising since the 44-year-old musician and record producer was behind eleven songs on folklore. Taylor described Aaron as one of her “musical heroes” when she revealed folklore, and he responded in kind. “I was excited and honored when Taylor approached me…about maybe writing some songs together,” he tweeted in July. “There’s a palpable humanity and warmth, and raw emotion in these songs and I hope you’ll love and take comfort in [them] as much as I do.” Ahead of Aaron sharing more about his involvement in evermore, here are five things you should know about him.
1) Aaron has described how “inspired” he was by Taylor. Taylor came to Aaron in April with the idea to collaborate on a number of her tracks from folklore. During their songwriting process, Aaron recalled in a note he posted on social media how he “had been isolating with my family but writing a ton of music in the first months of quarantine,” which he shared with Taylor.
“But a few hours after sharing music, my phone lit up with a voice memo from Taylor of a fully written version of a song — the momentum never really stopped.” Aaron went on to praise Taylor, saying, “I’ve rarely been so inspired by someone and it’s still hard to believe this even happened — these songs came together in such a challenging time.”
— Aaron Dessner (@aaron_dessner) July 23, 2020
2) Aaron also recruited his brother and a fellow The National band member to help out on folklore. Once the first album began to take shape, Aaron shared in his above statement that he recruited his fellow The National band member Bryan Devendorf and his brother Bryce Dessner to add more. On their contributions, Aaron said they added “beautiful orchestration on several songs from across the ocean” — where they were quarantining in the world.
3) He’s been a member of The National for nearly two decades. After their first band broke up, Bryan asked Aaron and his brother, Bryce, to start a new band in the late ’90s. The National is comprised of the Dessner brothers, Bryan and his brother, Scott Devendorf, and a fifth band member, Matt Berninger. The band’s first, self-titled album was released in 2001. They have released seven albums since.4) Aaron has a working relationship with another Taylor Swift collaborator. Aaron is the co-founder of the group Big Red Machine. The group formed in 2016 along with another of Taylor’s recent collaborators Justin Vernon, the frontman for the group Bon Iver. Bon Iver is featured on the track “exile,” and co-wrote the song with her.
5) He’s a Grammy Award-winning artist. With The National, Aaron has won a single Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album for Sleep Well Beast in 2017. Now that he has collaborated with Taylor, there’s bound to be more gold for the talented songwriter and multi-instrumental musician in the future.