Rummaging around in my vault of written pieces the other day I stumbled across this interview I did with Ed Sheeran. Around this time last year (January 2011 – when the interview was conducted) the now household name who receives receptions of Justin Bieber proportions was relatively unknown. Crazy to imagine.
Check out my interview with him below.
Born in the winter of 1991, singer-songwriter and loope-pedal expert Ed Sheeran is as eclectic as it gets: the first record he bought (at the age of eight) was Bob Dylan, and he grew up listening to all manner of folk music, rock and roll and hip hop. This variety of influences is evident in his current music style, which blends acoustic guitar, folk and hip hop. I had a chat with Ed – over a rather crackly phone line- to find out more about his broad-ranging tastes and big name collaborations.
Ed has recently worked with many of the most prominent figures in UK hip hop and grime – the likes of Devlin, Wiley, Ghetts and Wretch 32 – but when asked about his role in the UK urban scene Ed doesn’t really think he has one: “I think I’ve just been collaborating with these guys because I’m a big fan of their music. My favourite music to listen to is hip hop,” he says, but he seems to believe that his role is more in the UK acoustic scene.
Originally wanting to be an artist and “sort of like paint and stuff”, Ed began writing songs aged eleven, and realised that music was his calling by the age of fourteen. The early starter writes his songs influenced by real life events, rather than simply a case of beauty over truth. ‘The A-Team’, for example, is a heart-wrenching song written about someone he met while doing some work at a homeless shelter. ‘You Need Me, I Don’t Need You’ on the other hand is a slightly more upbeat, tongue in cheek example of his work and was, Ed explains, “written in a state of sort of anger at the industry” – something that’s evident in lyrics such as “let me sing and do my thing and move to greener pastures”.
And it seems Ed has reached those greener pastures – he released multiple independent records before getting signed to Atlantic Records at the beginning of 2011. But is he worried about the fate of his eclectic music style at the hands of a major record label? In short, no. “Because all my previous work is independent,” he explains, “I’ve kind of proven myself in that respect. I’m now allowed to sort of make the album I want to make, in the way I want to make it.”
Despite his rising stardom Ed seems unchanged by his recent success. Apart from being a genuinely nice guy to have a chat with he says that nothings really changed: “I’m still friends with the same people I was friends with before,” he says, although he does admit that his success has definitely affected some of the people around him. “I can’t really do the same things any more, like it’s not got to the level where I can’t walk down the street and stuff, but I can’t go out to clubs and expect not to sort of be harassed… but I guess that kind of comes with the job.”
With a slew of shows in the coming months, the two at the Borderline in London already sold out, it look’s like big things are lined up for the humble protagonist. When asked what he hopes to have achieved by 2012, in case the world really does end then, he responds, “hopefully have a number one album.” Ed pauses, and then repeats the phrase. After his last EP ‘No. 5 Collaborations Project’ battled it out with Rihanna for the number one spot on iTunes this is a goal that seems more than likely. My advice to you? Quickly jump on the Ed Sheeran bandwagon before it gets full.
*note* Ed did have that number one album which recently went double platinum. He has also been nominated for 4 brit awards. That’s alot to achieve in just under a year!