Ed Sheeran is fresh off the release of his vulnerable, 14-track new album Subtract, and the 32-year-old superstar sat down with Apple Music’s Matt Wilkinson along with his album collaborator, The National’s Aaron Dessner, to discuss their experience working on the project together.
“It’s totally different to any way that I’ve worked before,” Sheeran explained of collaborating with Dessner. “He comes with a finished product and goes, ‘Write what you feel.’ And there’s no like, ‘Oh, that line sounds a bit weird,’ or this. You write brain to page and the song’s done. And then you go in and you basically form it. And if anything, we strip back more from the recordings that he sent.”
Dessner noted that the duo immediately “clicked,” adding, “There was like a little wildfire. When we got together, we thought we’d try a few things, and we ended up with 36 songs or something.”
With a slew of songs showcasing his masterful songwriting, it’s hard to imagine that Sheeran has a favorite song on Subtract. However, he has a special connection to the songwriting process of “No Strings,” which details an unconditional type of love. “It just came from Aaron being on piano and me singing. And then we put it down and it’s as if the song didn’t matter. And then coming back to it’s now my favorite song on the record,” he shared.
The interview is all part of Apple Music Live, which is returning for season 2 on Wednesday with Sheeran performing Subtract in full for the first time. The performance will debut at 3 p.m. ET on Wednesday via Apple Music here and Apple TV+.
Listen to the full Apple Music interview with Sheeran and Dessner here, and watch the clip below: