By Brian Ives
One of 2017’s most highly anticipated new albums is Ed Sheeran’s third effort, ÷, which is due out on March 3. He recently released the first two songs, the wistful “Castle on the Hill” and the bedroom jam “Shape of You.”
“‘Shape of You’ came very quickly,” he tells Radio.com. “It was only really finished a month ago, it was one of four songs written in a day.”
He notes that the song was originally much more sparse: “It was just the marimba and the vocal [originally].” And at first, he considered giving “Shape of You” to Rihanna, but then decided that the line about “Putting ‘Van the Man’ on the jukebox” — a reference to Van Morrison — might not work for her. He tells Radio.com that he may have been wrong about that, and that the lyrics may have worked for Rihanna.
“You know what, she’s the type of person who probably is banging Van Morrison. But I’m glad I kept it, I don’t want to be just a one-trick pony and just do acoustic songwriter ballads, so it’s nice to have something like that to put out there. ”
His debut album, 2011’s + may have stereotyped him as an acoustic guitar slinging troubadour, but the follow-up, 2014’s x, recast him as a much more diverse artist, thanks to songs like the Pharrell-produced “Sing.”
“I think it’s important to not be inside a box, and I think that’s what ‘Sing’ did for me,” he says.
“Even if you make a diverse record that doesn’t do as well as your last record, at least you’re switching up the script a bit, you don’t ever want to be doing the same thing, because it’s boring for you, as well as the listener.”