Ed Sheeran: “I’m A Huge Hip-Hop Fan From Way Back In The Day”

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Ed Sheeran is one of UK’s most talked about newcomers with his new album + (Plus). 

GlobalGrind sat down with Ed to chit-chat with him about crossing over into the U.S. music market, his favorite rappers, working with hip-hop producer No I.D., and of course, his music. 

If you’re in the New York area, Ed will be performing at the Mercury Lounge January 31 at 7 p.m.

Check out the exclusive interview below!

GlobalGrind: You’re doing huge numbers out there in Britain.

Ed Sheeran: Yeah, man. It’s going really well. I’m really enjoying it.

Your debut album dropped. How do you say it? It’s just a ‘plus’ sign?

Yeah, just a plus then I guess. Literally just a plus sign.

What does that stand for?

I did a lot of independent releases beforehand so this is kind of the first step, and I kind of saw it as the addition to all that. It was kind of like an add-on, if that makes sense.

You said you played over three hundred dates in one year. Is that true?

Yeah, I kind of wanted to become the best at what I did. And I haven’t gotten there yet, but the best way to do that was practice. So I did as many gigs as I could. I wrote as many songs as I could, released as much stuff as I could, and worked with as many artists as I could. That was my kind of grind. Just that practice makes perfect.

How many years were you grinding all crazy?

Four years – from the age of 16.

Wow. You’re twenty now, right?

Yeah.

Do you remember a time where doubt settled in?

Yeah. I think that comes to every act. But you just have to remember that your job is to make people happy and that’s what you’ll eventually get paid for. Doubt kind of comes through, and you’re like: “am I going to do it? Am I not going to do it? In the end you’re just kind of like, all right f*ck it” and kind of carry on doing it.

How broke were you? 

I didn’t live anywhere until about six months ago. I mean, I wouldn’t claim to be more broke than anyone else, but I was living off like, a fiver a day for food, I guess. But that was because I was spending all the money that I earned from gigs on train tickets to go to the studio. 

Now your album isn’t out in States. Do you plan to send that over here?

Yeah, of course, man. I’m coming to the states and I’m not coming home until I’ve done it, basically. 

Are you really coming to the states?

Yeah, I’m coming in a couple of weeks to do my first show in New York and my first show in LA. And then I’m touring with Snow Patrol from March till June. I’ve got a lot of features that I’ve dropped for them as well, so it was quite fun.

So you’re going to be out here for a couple of months?

I’m going to be out there pretty much all year up until December. I’m going to be coming back to England to tour and do festivals, but I’m going to be out in America doing the entire radio grind.

You’ve been to the states before back in… what year was it?

I came out in 2010 to do gigs in LA on my own. And then I came out in 2011 when I was signed, and did some kind of recording with a guy named No I.D. just came out now and did some collaboration stuff.

No I.D.? He’s the man in hip-hop. How did you connect with him?

I just reached out. I kind of wanted to, like obviously he’s a hip-hop producer and I make acoustic music so I kind of wanted to mix our two worlds together. He did a song on the album called “Kiss Me” which I think just sounds like a classic love song. And he brought that edge to it I think.

Did you know about No I.D.’s music before that?

Yeah, I’m a huge hip-hop fan from way back in the day. It was weird because I’ve known about him for a while and what songs he’s done. But when I got in the studio with him, I realized that he’s done a lot more songs that I’ve known. For instance, I didn’t know he did “Tears of Joy” for Rick Ross. And that’s my favorite Rick Ross songs.

Who’s you favorite rapper?

Big Pun.

What’s your favorite Big Pun song?

Probably “You Ain’t A Killer.”

You connected with Jaime Foxx, is that correct?

Yeah.

How did that happen?

I did loads of shows around L.A. with a guy who ran poetry nights called JOHN. He was helping me out there. And he booked me a gig in a hotel and there was a girl there than ran The Fox Hole night that Jamie Foxx books. And John kind of hooked me up with her, and she was like “yeah cool” we’ll get you on the gig. And then I played the gig, Jaime Fox’s manager was there, and then he said come and do the radio show. So I did the radio show and met Jaime. Did a session online, if you YouTube it, you can hear it. Then he was just like, ‘Look dude, I got a recording studio at my house, if you want to come over and make music for the rest of your stay here.’ So yeah, I just went and made music.

So you basically went to Jamie Foxx’s personal studio and just jammed out?

Yeah, that was really kind of him.

You rap, right?

Yeah. Well I don’t rap, I kind of MC.

Your music is considered rap.

I write lyrics in rap form, and then I put melody to them. So that’s how they’re kind of written if that makes sense.

So what’s the game plan when you get to America?

Tour, Tour, Tour. Radio. Umm, I’m going to release some really interesting music first for free.  I think the music I’ve created is quite odd, and people are going to start talking about that. And then come with the first single, come with the second single, come with the album, and then just keep rolling out singles.

You released your EP out here, am I right?

Yeah, The A Team EP.

How was your response to that?

It’s been good. Its started the buzz. It’s a small buzz, I’m not going to like. But it’s gotten bloggers like Perez Hilton is on it now.

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