Young British music talent, Ed Sheeran talks about the hype around his second album, titled 'X' (pronounced multiply) and his track for 'The Hobbit' movie
Q. You took a long time mulling over your sophomore album. Did it affect the final output?
A. I tried to perfect it, whereas '+' (his first album, Plus, 2011) was just an of-the-moment thing. There was a lot of hype around me at that time, in terms of building a fan base and radio, and I was releasing stuff so often that the album just followed in quick succession. There wasn't a big lead up to it or pressure to work with big people and create a monster hit; just the release of an album.
Q. With your lead single, 'Sing', you have deviated from your usual style of music, a bit. How did you work it out?
A. It's the first time I have worked with a pre-existing track. When musician Pharrell Williams played me a demo, he was like, 'Nah! I love it, but it's not for me.' And I said, give me a shot. So, after figuring out the chords that I had laid down — in between jokes and people coming in with coffee — he kept playing it, and he looked up at me, like, 'S#!t, is this really happening?' as I'm looking at him with an 'I told you so' smile. 30 minutes later, the song was pretty much finished. He's one of the most impressive, underestimated singer-songwriters of our time.
X, Ed Sheeran, Sony Music, R499, Available at leading music stores.
Q. Multiply sees you collaborating with producers such as Pharrell Williams and Rick Rubin. Were there any interesting behind-the-scenes incidents?
A. It was an interesting thing, because I did the song (called Don't) with Benny Blanco and then I recorded it with Rick Rubin. Rick's was earthy, grainy, raw and live, and Benny's was radio-friendly. I liked both, but I knew I had to find a happy medium in between, so I stuck them together.
Q. What did you keep in mind before composing the song, 'I See Fire' for the movie, 'The Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug'?
A. I was trying to ease the audience back into reality and calm them after the intense ending. But the motive element of it was that I was writing from the point of view of being Thorin Oakenshield, and what he would be thinking. The movie was incredible. It stepped up from the first one, and every other 'The Lord of the Rings' movies that I've seen, in terms of special effects. But the story at the end just got so intense. The ending is a cliffhanger. I instantly took a plane to New Zealand, met everyone involved in the film and watched it. Then I wrote the song.
Q. You've worked with music talents like Taylor Swift, One Direction and EDM star Martin Garrix. What genre was the most fun?
A. Well, I wrote a few songs for One Direction's first and second album. That was amazing, but with Taylor, we collaborated on a song together and went out on tour with each other. It was a fun and educational year to know how the American industry works.
Q. Do you plan to work with any famous artistes soon?
A. I did a tune with Jessie Ware, one with Usher and Skrillex; one for Hilary Duff and one for Rixton. I've got those four cuts coming this year, so I thought I want to have more coming! Demi (Lovato) expressed interest a year ago, and I followed it up.