We first met Ed Sheeran earlier this year when he took part in our Puma Dream Team feature for our reality issue of Wonderland where he starred alongside the likes of Professor Green and Jameela Jamil in our photo shoot and told us about being abused by a Nazi sympathizer via twitter. Since then he has had a top 3 single with “The A Team”, clocked up millions of views for his music videos on YouTube and has been complimented on his effortless ability to blend folk with hip hop. Releasing his debut album “+” today, we find Sheeran enjoying his success, yet still trying to find a roof to put over his head.
Describe your sound in five words
Acoustic, soul, hip hop, folk and…. Actually, that’s five, isn’t it.
What were the inspirations for your debut album?
Where did you record the album?
In Surrey, in a place called Sticky Studios, with my producer Jake Gosling.
What was your favourite part of creating the album?
The songs that came last minute.
Who are your biggest influences when it comes to music?
It changes every day – Foy Vance, Eminem, Damien Rice, Jay-Z…
The track, and accompanying video, “The A Team” tells the story of a young prostitute – have you ever had an encounter with a woman of the night?
Yes – that’s what the song’s about! Not in the way I think you’re referring to though.
What was the story behind that song and video?
I was asked to volunteer in a Crisis homeless shelter one Christmas. There was a girl there who had been running round, causing trouble, so the guys in charge decided to let her ‘police’ the place – so long as she drew up some rules and abided by them herself as well. The shelter was in this big warehouse and it provided homeless people somewhere warm to rest and eat for a week, but after that week they had to close it down and all the residents were back out on the streets. It inspired me to write a song which eventually became The A Team. The video was shot on location in Angel by a young photographer I know called Ruskin Kyle – it cost £20 in total.
Much like Hitchcock, you only make a cameo in that video. Will your future music videos put you more in the spotlight?
What other themes are explored in your album?
Life, death, love and sorrow.
Last time we spoke, you weren’t really living anywhere and were sofa surfing on friends couches – has your living arrangement changed since March?
No. I haven’t had any time to look for a flat, so I’m still on couches. For now.
+ by Ed Sheeran is out today under Asylum/Atlantic
Interview: Seamus Duff