With two No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hits in the last year as well as two Grammys for his pop song “Shape Of You” and album ÷, Ed Sheeran has proven himself to be a total pop star. But for his follow-up to the wildly successful ÷, Sheeran plans to escape the pop world.
“The next record that I’m making is not a pop album,” Sheeran told his fellow British pal George Ezra in the first installment of the George Ezra & Friends podcast.
Throughout the conversation, Sheeran explained that he feels it is dangerous to have a pop career that gets bigger and bigger, and he wants to control expectations from fans and the label. “The reason it’s not a pop album is people expect you to come and the next album they’re going to be like ‘it has to be bigger than ‘Shape of You’ and it has to sell more than this’ … But if I control it and go, ‘Here’s a lo-fi record that I really f**ing love,’ my fans are gonna be like ‘Yay!’, and the pop world are gonna be like ‘oh well, maybe the next one.’”
The “Castle on the Hill” singer also said that he’s been working on the new project since the release of his debut album + and that he’s been crafting songs for his next record as he’s made every other one. “I’ve been working on this one since the same time as +. Every year I write a song that will go on it. So I have about six, seven at the moment. I don’t think there’ll be any hot radio songs on it this time. It’s a very acoustic record.”
Along with talking about his own music, Sheeran revealed a few tidbits about music he wrote for other people, including his own “Shape Of You.” When that song first came out in January of last year, Sheeran said he had originally written it for Rihanna — but in fact, he told Ezra that the track came out of what initially began as a cut for Little Mix.
Ironically, Sheeran has another song in the works that Little Mix is likely going to record, and that one started out as one for another girl group star. “I did a song that I think is going to be for them now, but for Camila Cabello,” he said. While Sheeran didn’t give any insight to what that song sounds like, with his track record, it’s sure to be a catchy pop tune.
Sheeran also touched on his work on Liam Payne‘s “Strip That Down” and Justin Bieber‘s “Love Yourself,” revealing that he always sneaks his way onto songs he writes whether he sings them or not. (Hint: Take a listen to the low voice singing “strip that down” on Payne’s track and see if it sounds familiar.)
The full chat between Sheeran and Ezra lasts about 42 minutes. Check it out here.