Ed Sheeran is a British pop star who listens to Big Pun on his iPod and sings Britney Spears in the shower. Cultural identity crisis or the recipe for musical brilliance? While a simple 10 questions may not be able to unfold the complexity of his musical persona, it might provide just enough insight to pique curiosity. The 20-year-old singer-songwriter recently started making waves in the U.S. after Jamie Foxx’s team recruited him to sharpen his skills (Sheeran actually lived in Foxx’s home while in L.A.).
Following the breakthrough success of his debut +, which became the best-selling album by a U.K. male artist in the last 10 years, the one-time rapper now has his eyes set on the U.S. market. A five-track EP The A Team was released to iTunes and + will arrive stateside later this year via Elektra Records. Also on the horizon is The Slumdon Bridge EP, a collaborative project with Yelawolf.
Having over 300 shows under his belt in 2009 alone has allowed Sheeran to bask comfortably in the limelight, all the while staying on top of preposterous rumors and performing private gigs for the likes of Sir Richard Branson. Rap-Up.com chatted with the red-haired star from the across the pond about his soulful sound, favorite U.S. rappers, and the odd results of his Google searches.
1. You’ve been described as “soulful.” Why is that? Just by looking at me, you wouldn’t expect what comes out to come out because I’m an odd-looking ginger white kid. I’m influenced by a lot of soul music, pop, and folk music, so I guess all of that blended together makes a soulful kind of thing.
2. Does the British accent help out with the ladies in the States? I’m not quite sure because every time I’ve been over to America it’s been for work purposes, so I haven’t really been out. I’m not old enough yet to get into clubs, so I haven’t tried that out.
3. What hip-hop are you listening to these days? Big Pun. I’ve got Drake’s new album [Take Care]. Gangstarr—I’m a big, big fan of Guru’s work. Jay-Z and Eminem. But I listen to more U.K. hip-hop because I’m more familiar with the scene.
4. Are there any artists you’d like to collaborate with in the future? Yelawolf was high on my list of priorities, so I’m glad I got that done now. Probably Lupe and Kanye.
5. What is your favorite thing about being away from home? The peace and quiet I get. The down time. When I’m at home, the full day is usually promo and fan signings and stuff. When I’m on tour it’s usually one radio show and a gig. In between that I get to chill and watch DVDs so that’s fun.
6. How old do you think you are mentally? I dropped out of school and moved to London on my own at 16. At that time, most of my peer group was 25-plus so I was in that kind of mindset. I don’t know what my mental age is now, but it’s probably a little bit more than I actually am.
7. When you first pick up a guitar, what do you play? Usually, the first chord I start playing is a G, and then I’ll start singing something. There’s a U.K.-based artist called Foy Vance. He has a song called “Guiding Light,” which is great to play on the guitar.
8. If you could spend a week on vacation by yourself anywhere in the world, where would it be? I just played Richard Branson’s daughter’s wedding on Necker Island. If I could go there on my own, that would be a good look. It’s next level. It’s fucking great.
9. What do you sing in the shower? It’s really embarrassing, but it’s been in my head for the past four years. Everytime I’m in the shower I sing that song by Britney Spears, “Everytime.” I don’t know why. Maybe because in the video there’s a shower scene or something, so I just think about it when I’m in the shower. It’s fucking weird.
10. Have you every Googled yourself? I actually Google myself every day because I often get bad things being said about me and I need to keep on that. I think you need to know your enemies. If you have people telling you how amazing you are every day, you need people telling you that you’re shit as well—just to keep you balanced. There’s this publication in England that I’ve never done an interview with but every week they post up some random story like, I’ve just bought a multi-million pound country house. In reality, I’ve just started renting a flat. They once said I was dating someone from a reality TV show in England that was a bit unsavory. I’ve never met her.