Welcome to the Billboard Chart Beat Podcast, where each week co-hosts Gary Trust and Trevor Anderson, from the Billboard charts department, discuss why what’s on the charts … is on the charts, while also looking at current chart action in a historical context for even greater insights.
This week, Matt Sheeran joins as our special guest, offering details of the process that led to brother Ed‘s “Perfect” becoming a six-week No. 1 on both the Billboard Hot 100 and the Official UK Singles chart.
“We were in the car and he was playing me new songs,” Matt remembers of the first time that he heard the ballad. “‘Perfect’ was the least-produced one … sort of out-of-tune guitar, very rough recording. All the other ones were more produced. I really didn’t take any notice of it, to be honest.
“Then he came back later … ‘Do you remember that song ‘Perfect’?’ I was like, ‘Yeah’ … and actually I didn’t,” he admits with a laugh.
Eventually, Matt contributed strings orchestration to the song, as heard in the “Perfect Symphony” version featuring vocals by classical crossover/popera icon Andrea Bocelli. The interpretation has drawn over 77 million global YouTube views for its official video and has sold 133,000 downloads in the U.S., helping boost the song’s total to 1.7 million sold to date, according to Nielsen Music.
Arranger, composer, writer and producer Matt further muses about growing up in the musical Sheeran household – he was drawn more to classical, while Ed favored Kate Bush, Elton John and Van Morrison – and reflects on his role as gatekeeper of his younger brother’s new compositions.
“I remember, when he first started out, there was one song he played me, and I told him I didn’t like it. He [later] said he never played it again. I don’t know if that was some lost masterpiece …
“Generally, I like his stuff.”
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