Ed Sheeran Talks "+", Songwriting, Rocking with YelaWolf, "Game of Thrones" and More
Fri, 08 Jun 2012 08:40:23
Every once in a long while, a songwriter comes along with the power to move anyone within earshot. It's usually because of a combination of brutal honesty and a brilliant knack for a hook. Looking back, guys like Bob Dylan and Elliott Smith wielded both like weapons. Ed Sheeran is also one of those guys. In fact, he's the ultimate 21st century troubadour, and his brand new album (+, out Tuesday, June 12 in the U.S.) will make you smile, think, cry, and maybe even love again. He's both poetic and powerful over intriguing acoustic melodies and beats. However, Sheeran doesn't simply tread old waters. He breaks new ground with a spritely almost hip hop bounce, and he has no fear of flipping the script. That's what makes + one of the year's best…
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Ed Sheeran opens up about +, writing songs, working with YelaWolf, Game of Thrones, and more…
What's your take on + as a whole? Did you have one vision or vibe in mind for the album?
I wrote a whole bunch of songs that seemed to fit in well with each other. I recorded them at the same studio with the same guy. I've been playing those songs for a while. I guess they all gel together because they come from the same source.
Is it important for you to tell stories with the songs?
Yeah, I think so. As a singer-songwriter, the job you have is to paint stories. It comes from listening to old Bob Dylan and wanting to portray different emotions and tell stories. Dylan is one-hundred percent an influence.
Where did "Give Me Love" come from?
That was one of the last songs I wrote for the album. It was one of those songs where you get very inspired by a situation and it falls out of you in 20 minutes. It was a very easy song to write. It's certainly one of my favorite songs on the album. It's about a relationship that fell apart and you're asking for it to be put back together. Most people get to a point where they drink themselves into a dark corner in that situation. It's that point of view.
What about the "A Team"?
That was written about a woman I met in a homeless shelter over Christmas two years ago. I heard her story. I was only 18-years-old, and I'd been in London for a couple of years, but I'd never seen the dark underbelly of it. It was a bit of a culture shock for me.
Where also do you draw inspiration from?
I watch a lot of TV shows. I watch The Wire, The Sopranos, Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Family Guy, and stuff like that. That's what I do in my spare time!
Are you a Game of Thrones fan?
Awe, dude, Game of Thrones is the fucking one. I started it yesterday, and I watched seven episodes in one day [Laughs]. I have to see the second season too! I want to start reading the books.
What artists shaped you?
People like Damien Rice, Van Morrison, and Eminem. There are lots of different artists I go back to.
How did Slumdon Bridge come about?
I'm a big fan of YelaWolf. I got the opportunity to get in touch with him. I said, "I want to do a four-track project with you. Are you cool with that?" He said he was. We hooked up for ten hours in the studio and made four songs from scratch. He's into rock 'n' roll and punk music. I'm into folk music and shades of singer-songwriter stuff. We put all of our influences in a big bowl and mixed them. It was a new experience for all of us. It just happened. It came together well!
If you were to compare + to a movie or a combination of movies what would you compare it to?
The Shawshank Redemption. People would decide they didn't like it since it was popular, but it's a great film. Then, they would come around to it.
Are you going to pick up +, or catch Ed on tour? Many of his upcoming dates have already sold out!