Who Writes Taylor Swift Songs? With Examples

With an illustrious career spanning a prolific 10 albums (not including 4 re-recorded versions), Taylor Swift has traversed genres, often donning a certain style with each album. Considering just how many hits she has, it’s a common wonder whether she’s had any help writing her songs. 

Like the majority of pop artists, Taylor has indeed had a helping hand along the way. Read on and you might be surprised at just how many collaborators Taylor has worked with to date. 

Does Taylor Swift Write Her Own Songs?

Has Taylor Swift Recorded And Released Songs She’s Written On Her Own?

Given that she’s had so many songwriting partners, it might make you wonder if she’s ever released anything that only she has written alone. Well, the short answer to this is yes, Taylor Swift writes many of her own songs. She takes up at least a co-writer role.

Even from Swift’s first album, she’s been releasing self-written material. For the most part, though, every album contains songs primarily written with at least one collaborative partner, with a few solo songs on occasion.

Taylor broke this trend altogether with her album, Speak Now. Each song on the album was written solely by Swift, alone, without anyone else’s input. 

On the flip side, Reputation is the only album Swift has released in which she didn’t release a song written by herself, alone. 

Will This Guide Include Every Taylor Swift Release?

Before we begin, it’s important to make note that we will primarily be focusing on album releases, with each song as if they were released once. Ultimately, this means no song will be counted twice if multiple versions exist. 

Non-album singles (such as a one-off Christmas song) will not be counted. On the other hand, songs from expanded versions of releases (such as a Platinum Edition) will be included in the count only if they are not already included in the initial album release.

With that being said, if there is an additional songwriting credit that appears on one of the re-released versions, it will be recognized. As an added side note, unreleased songs will not be included in any of the math that follows.

How Many People Have Helped Taylor Swift Write Songs?

How Many People Have Helped Taylor Swift Write Songs?

Take a wild guess at how many people you think have worked with T-Swift over the years. Considering that her career is embarking on its 20th year, it’s not too unrealistic to guess that this number of collaborators would be high.

As of this writing, there have been 62 different people who have contributed to Taylor Swift’s songs. This number is figured by the different people who have writing credits on Taylor’s songs throughout her career.

Of course, it’s anyone’s guess how much or how little each person’s contribution is to the song. Does being in the same room at the time of the song being written count, or does Taylor require input for proper songwriting credit?

Each artist counts this differently as it really is a personal thing. Some bands (such as KISS, for instance) have historically credited their early work to all the members in the group, even if they didn’t contribute much beyond their part, just for the sake of simplicity when it comes to royalties. 

Another thing that plays a factor is the various collaborations Taylor has had with other artists over the years. Whether they help write the song or just add a verse to a pre-existing song, the guest artists are (almost always) given a writing credit.

Who Has Helped Write The Most Taylor Swift Songs?

Taylor Swift has had many songwriting partners over the years, but there are a few that she has consistently worked with. These partnerships have helped shape the sound that Taylor has experimented with over the years.

Jack Antonoff

Out of all of Taylor Swift’s songwriting partners, Jack Antonoff has the most credits for writing contributions. As of now, Antonoff has collaborated on 43 different songs, including the hit track, Look What You Made Me Do. 

Antonoff’s contributions first found themselves on a T-Swift album with the release of 1989. In addition to being one of Taylor’s main songwriting partners, Jack has also held a primary role as a producer. 

Outside of Taylor’s music, Jack lends his skills to the likes of artists like Lana Del Rey and the 1975. He’s also a founding member of the band, Fun. 

Aaron Dessner

The person with the 2nd most songwriting credits in Taylor Swift’s catalog is Aaron Dessner with 26 songs to date. Dessner’s contributions first came about with the album, Folklore.

Some of Dessner and Swift’s most successful work includes songs like Cardigan, The 1, and Willow. As an artist, Dessner is essentially considered indie rock royalty given that his claim to fame comes from the band, the National (who even appears on T-Swift’s song, Coney Island).

It should also be noted that Dessner often serves as a producer, even on songs that he didn’t help write. 

Aaron Dessner

Max Martin

If you’re in business to make legendary hit songs, it only makes sense to work with the best who have results to show. When it comes to late 1990s and 2000s pop music, Max Martin (aka Karl Sandberg) is a legend, having written the biggest hits of stars like Britney Spears and the Backstreet Boys.

In fact, as of this writing, 25 of Martin’s songs (performed by different artists) have reached the top of the charts. This includes Blank Space, and Delicate, 2 of the 22 songs that Martin and Swift have written together. 

There is a reason why Max Martin has been continually named ASCAP’s Songwriter of the Year over the last 2 decades. This man is responsible for generating some of the largest profits the record industry has ever seen.

Max Martin

Shellback

Every master tends to have people who dedicate themselves to following and expanding upon their footsteps. If Max Martin is a pop song master, Shellback could almost be considered a protege, often working in a collaborative setting with Martin.

Shellback has a total of 21 songwriting credits in Taylor Swift’s catalog. All of these songs include Martin as a co-writer, including tracks like Bad Blood, and Wildest Dreams. 

Liz Rose

If you look at the liner notes of Taylor Swift’s first couple of albums, you’ll see Liz Rose’s name mentioned frequently. Taylor’s earlier material is dominated by Rose’s contributions, which total 17 songs.

Those who became fans of Taylor when she first became popular likely were drawn in by songs like Teardrops On My Guitar, and Picture To Burn. Outside of Taylor’s music, Rose has written songs with a number of different country artists including Martina McBride and Tim McGraw. 

An Overview of Taylor Swift’s Songwriting Partners Over The Years

An Overview of Taylor Swift’s Songwriting Partners Over The Years

Taylor Swift’s sound has morphed and changed over the years. Some of this could be due to maturing artistry, but the other aspect that is often overlooked is the songwriting partners she’s working with.

When looking at Swift’s releases from a bird’s eye point of view, one can begin to see a pattern emerge. This pattern often coincides directly with Swift’s thematic content and sonic choices with each album.

For instance, Swift’s first two albums are comprised mostly of collaborations with Liz Rose. Outside of that, there are a few one-off contributors on these albums, such as Robert Ellis Orrall, Angelo Petraglia, and Hilary Lindsey.

As mentioned previously, Swift’s 3rd album, Speak Now, is comprised of songs written solely by Swift alone. 

With Red, Swift returns to collaborating, but there is a noticeable shift in that Liz Rose only has 2 credits, which would be (as of now) her last on a new T-Swift album. At this time, Swift began working more with Max Martin and Shellback, marking the start of a new era.

Martin and Shellback would continue to be Taylor’s main songwriting partners through her next 2 albums, 1989, and Reputation. 1989 also saw Jack Antonoff’s first songwriting contributions, appearing again on Reputation before becoming the primary partner on the next album, Lover.

When Taylor released Folklore and Evermore, she changed everything up, working with Aaron Dessner as a primary songwriting partner. Dessner’s fingerprints can easily be seen all over the change in Taylor’s directional sound around this time period.

That’s not to say that these 2 albums are the result of only Swift and Dessner. Jack Anotonoff would remain a contributor, as would William Bowery, another regular around this era. 

Once Taylor released Midnights, it was Antonoff who would be the album’s primary songwriting partner. On this album alone, he has a whopping 16 co-writing credits, showing that his influence is definitely a major part of the album’s overall sound. 

Who Writes Taylor Swift Songs, Final Thoughts

If anything is clear, it’s that Taylor Swift’s insane success has really only been possible through the contributions of those around her. While Taylor has done some things on her own, she wouldn’t be where she is today without the expertise of others.

Perhaps the best thing about Taylor is that she is fully aware of this, and always seems to remain humble. Furthermore, she publicly thanks her fans on a regular basis because she knows that none of her success would exist without their love and dedication.

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3 Comments

  1. Just wanted to add a couple corrections to make this accurate. The statement at the very beginning, “There’s not a single song on any of her albums that Taylor Swift did not write or cowrite with a collaborator.” That statement is incorrect. “Untouchable” on Fearless is a cover. The original band is Luna Halo. Also, on her Christmas album, 4 songs on there are covers.

  2. Congrats Taylor on a great musical career. I’m a 67 year old. Been writing songs,I don’t know if they will ever be heard. I would like for someone to record a couple of my songs. Its not about money, it’s about before I leave, it’s about making my son proud of me, that his Dad’s talent lives on and making him proud of me in my songs. Don’t know if anything happens from this, just felt compelled to write this. God Bless
    Jim Trzeciak

  3. Is an EP considered an album? Not discounting her talents, but the first song I and a lot of people heard from her was a cover of George Michael’s “Last Christmas.”

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