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Who Is Aaron Dessner? Details About The National Guitarist Who Helped Produce Taylor Swift's New Album

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Aaron Dessner and Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift announced she’d be dropping her eighth studio album, folklore, at midnight on July 24. In her surprise announcement, she gave credit to “her musical heroes,” which include Aaron Dessner of The National and Justin Vernon of Bon Iver.

Who is Aaron Dessner?

Aaron Dessner is a 44-year-old songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist who has been playing and producing music for much of his life. He has a twin brother, Bryce, who also contributed to Taylor Swift’s surprise album folklore


A post shared by Aaron Dessner (@aarondessner) on May 3, 2019 at 9:04am PDT

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How does Aaron Dessner know Taylor Swift?

It’s unclear whether the two met before collaborating on folklore. However, in one of her Instagram posts promoting her surprise album, the “Look What You Made Me Do” singer called Dessner one of her “musical heroes.” 

“I wrote and recorded this music in isolation but got to collaborate with some musical heroes of mine; @aarondessner (who has co-written or produced 11 of the 16 songs), @boniver (who co-wrote and was kind enough to sing on one with me), William Bowery (who co-wrote two with me) and @jackantonoff (who is basically musical family at this point),” she captioned the photo.

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It’s interesting to note that Justin Vernon of Bon Iver collaborated with Kanye West back in 2009 and 2010 on a few of Ye’s tracks, including the smash hits “Lost in the Woods” and  “Monster” featuring Nicki Minaj. Justin Vernon also collaborated with Kanye on the 2019 Francis & The Lights track “Take Me To The Light” shortly after saying he could no longer “kick it with Kanye anymore.”

How many songs did Aaron Dessner produce on folklore?

Aaron Dessner co-wrote and produced eleven of the sixteen tracks on folklore. In an Instagram post that is also posted on his Twitter, the multi-instrumentalist wrote, “I was excited and honored when Taylor approached me in late April about maybe writing some songs remotely together. I had been isolating with my family but writing a ton of music in the first months of quarantine which I shared.”

“I thought it would take a while for song ideas to come and I had no expectations as far as what we could accomplish remotely,” he continued. “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. Over the next few months, we remotely finished 11 songs.” 

What bands has Aaron Dessner played in?

Aaron Dessner has been the guitarist of The National since 1999. He also co-founded the band Big Red Machine with Justin Vernon. 

Aaron also has quite the impressive producer resume and founded Brassland Records, which has put out albums by The National, This Is The Kit, and more. 

What did Aaron say about working with Taylor?

From the sound of it, Aaron loved working with the 30-year-old 10-time Grammy winner. 

“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,” he wrote. “She is one of the most talented, hardworking and deeply caring artists I've ever encountered. There's a palpable humanity and warmth and raw emotion in these songs that I hope you'll love and take comfort in as much as I do.”

Folklore comes out at midnight on July 24, 2020.

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Olivia Jakiel is an editor and writer who covers celebrity and entertainment news. Follow her on Instagram and keep up with her zingers on Twitter.