The National's Aaron Dessner Nominated for Five Grammys as Co-Writer, Producer for Taylor Swift's 'folklore'

Dessner's nominations in conjunction with Swift's "folklore" include Album of the Year and Song of the Year, for “cardigan”

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click to enlarge Aaron Dessner - Photo: Shervin Lainez
Photo: Shervin Lainez
Aaron Dessner

When Taylor Swift announced in July she would be surprise-dropping her eighth studio album folklore — "an entire brand new album of songs I’ve poured all of my whims, dreams, fears, and musings into," she said — people lost their shit. (Everyone loves a Pop artist surprise album! And Swifites love Swift.)

folklore includes 16 tracks, one featuring Bon Iver, and 11 of which were co-written by Aaron Dessner of Cincinnati-bred Indie Rockers The National. (According to The National, Bryce Dessner also provided orchestrations for the album.)

Well, Dessner's co-writing has paid off because the musician has just been nominated for five Grammy awards in connection with the album:

  • Album of the Year (aka folklore)
  • Song of the Year (“cardigan”)
  • Best Pop Vocal Album (folklore)
  • Best Pop Solo Performance (“cardigan”)
  • Best Pop Duo/Group Performance (“exile” Taylor Swift feat. Bon Iver) 

Dessner has previously won Grammy awards with The National. The band won Best Alternative Music Album for Sleep Well Beast in 2018 and they were also nominated for Best Alternative Music Album for 2013's Trouble Will Find Me. Dessner plays guitar and bass in the band (along with doing backing vocals and performing on assorted other instruments) and co-writes and co-produces their albums.

According a press release, in addition to co-writing Swift's folklore, he also "contributed piano, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, mellotron, OP1 and Synth Bass, percussion, bass, drum programming, slide guitar, synthesizer, keyboards, high string guitar and drone."

“The best music happens when you aren’t overthinking or putting too much pressure on yourself,” Dessner says. “What is most rewarding for me now is to write music and share it with other musicians, to see what strange alchemy happens when someone else adds their own voice, emotion and ideas into it. I think every idea is worth chasing, and every experiment is worthwhile. Sometimes what seems like a discardable fragment is actually the seed of a great song.” 

Disney+ is also slated to air a special film dedicated to the folklore studio sessions.

Trevor Noah will host the Grammy awards on Jan. 31, 2021.

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