Ed Sheeran doesn’t look much like a hip-hop artist with his wild red hair or tattoo sleeves, but the British singer said his upcoming studio effort will sound a lot more like some classic 1990s rap albums.
After establishing himself as a modern artist in the folk/hip-hop vein, Sheeran said he looked to some of his favorite rap artists for influence on his sophomore effort.
Sheeran has been going through a lot of changes since scoring a breakout hit with “The A Team,” a song about a prostitute addicted to crack cocaine that he said was inspired by his trip to a homeless shelter.The 22-year-old British singer moved to the US last year and has been building up his name in music circles.
But Sheeran said he still feels connected to his simple British upbringing.
“I’m not Hollywood in the slightest,” Sheeran said last week. “I come from a very small town in England (Halifax), growing up watching these sort of events on TV, and then you find yourself at these events. I don’t really dress smart ever. And I don’t really wear designer clothes. So I’m instantly a bit like: Oh (crap), I really should have dressed up for this.”
After starting in Los Angeles, Sheeran moved to Nashville, living in a rural area outside the city. He said he enjoys going about his business without being bothered by paparazzi, in a setting that reminds him of his home in England.
Sheeran had an unusual blend of folk and hip-hop on his debut album, +. Released in summer 2011 in the UK, the album would go on to earn platinum honors six times, doing so faster than any other UK artist at the time not named Adele.
After achieving success in the UK and then the United States, Ed Sheeran said he is ready for a sophomore follow-up that will better showcase his talent. He wrote most of the debut album when he was 17 years old, recording it for just $20,000, but now is ready for a different effort that takes a greater influence from hip-hop.
“It’s not like I’ve kind of grown up or evolved — you know how artists say (BS) stories about how they’ve grown up with their fans or whatever — I’m just into a lot of different music,” he said. “My first record was written at a time where I was very influenced by certain acoustic singer/songwriters, and this record has been very influenced by me listening to a lot of hip-hop and acoustic singer/songwriters. So it’s a bit of both.”
In fact, Sheeran compares his effort to one of the most popular and influential hip-hop albums of all time.
“I’ll probably get shot for saying this,” he said, “but it’s more in the vein of a Lauryn Hill, Miseducation (of Lauryn Hill) kind of vibe.”stuff, I’m a professional and I worked quite hard to get where I am. And now I’m here, I think it would be silly to let that slip. So I’m going to always turn up on time, I’m going to always do my job, and I don’t think the press can knock me on that.”
Whatever sound his album takes, Ed Sheeran can no longer hide behind the anonymity of being a little-known British singer. He’s now got close to 7 million Twitter followers, and a tour with Taylor Swift.