British singer and activist Billy Bragg sparked up an unlikely friendship with Taylor Swift earlier this year and now he is to perform one of her songs as part of Covers For Others to raise funds for the battle against Covid-19.
62-year-old Bragg first met Swift (30) at the NME Awards last February and said they "got on like a house on fire" and has praised her for standing up for artists' rights, telling Sky News that they are kindred spirits.
Bragg will perform Swift’s song Only The Young on his Facebook page on Saturday in aid of Covers For Others, which is a fundraiser for the RCN (Royal College of Nursing) Foundation COVID-19 Support Fund, which sees fans donating to vote for a track they would like to see reinterpreted.
Speaking to Sky News, he said, "I have a lot of respect for her, trying to stand up as an independent woman in the music industry,"
"Not just because of the amount of sexism and misogyny in our industry, but also because she is trying to keep hold of her own catalogue, which is a really important thing to do."
He added: "Unfortunately, you know, it is still, sadly, a sexist, racist industry. And for someone like Taylor Swift to stand up and make that point, I think it's very powerful."
Swift has been involved in a public dispute with music mogul Scooter Braun, who bought the rights to the singer's first six albums in 2019, through a private equity deal reportedly worth around $300m.
"[Taylor's] tried to go back and get her rights back," says Bragg. "Watching the Miss Americana documentary, I realised that she was quite a kindred spirit.
"I do it on a small scale, but she does it on a huge scale. And that's what she said to me, she said 'I really respect what you do about politics'. And I went, 'it's much harder for you. The fact that you take a stand, you know, it has much bigger implications. Everyone expects me to do it... but from you it makes a lot more of a difference'.
"So it was really, really nice to meet her. And [Only The Young] is a cool song as well."