Never an artist to stand still, Ed recorded x at various locations around the globe (all the while drawing on experiences and influences encountered on his over three years of unrelenting touring) with such luminary producers as Rick Rubin (Eminem, Jay-Z, Red Hot Chilli Peppers), Pharrell Williams (Daft Punk, Robin Thicke, N.E.R.D), Benny Blanco (Rhianna, Wiz Khalifa) and Jeff Bhasker (Alicia Keys, Jay-Z) adding new flavours to the classy work of key collaborators Johnny McDaid (Snow Patrol) and Jake Gosling (who produced +).
The new set showcases the exponential growth (both vocally and musically) of an incredible artist, who at 23 exhibits the poise of a seasoned veteran. The songs for x came together whilst touring + and, in the same way as the latter was a snapshot of his life and relationship to-date, x charts his loves and life since. Only 'One', the perfect album opener and first song written for the record (in 2011 whilst on tour in Australia) looks back to that time and is the link between the two records. With 'One' under his belt, almost before he noticed he was writing, Ed had ten new songs and counting.
The breath-taking album-closer ‘Afire Love’ was written about his grandfather who passed away last Christmas. “Always the hero of the family - such a cool guy - he'd been suffering with Alzheimer’s for some time and I actually started writing that song two weeks before he passed away," Ed says. "I was thinking 'What if?' and then he did…” Then there is the timeless ballad ‘Photograph’ written in May 2012 in a hotel room in Kansas whilst on tour with Snow Patrol. McDaid had a piano loop playing on his laptop while Ed was making a Lego X-wing Fighter to give to a charity auction. He just started singing as he put the pieces together and the song grew from there. ‘Don’t’ started life as a riff on his phone and grew into another of x’s massive moments. The deluxe version of the album also includes the original song, ‘I See Fire’, which Ed wrote, produced and recorded for the second Hobbit movie. This was after Academy award-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson personally commissioned him.
However it’s the Pharrell-produced lead single 'Sing', due out in the UK on June 1, that’s pushing the envelope for Ed. #Sing was the number one trend on twitter globally ahead of launch with the track immediately tearing up airwaves nationwide including a 7-week add to Radio 1 and an unprecedented addition straight to the Super Hit list at Capital FM and Kiss Network. The audio upload on YouTube was Ed’s biggest ever video launch, clocking 650k views in its first 24 hours. Already i-tunes Top 5 in 15 different countries (number 3 in the US), Top 20 in 36 countries and with all chart positions climbing, ‘Sing’ is well on the way to being a global smash.
On the back of ‘Sing’s’ launch, x reached No.7 in the UK iTunes chart on pre-order alone with that success mirrored internationally with No.1 positions in the US and Canada, Top 5 in New Zealand, Sweden, Australia and Top 10 in 20 countries. “I’m really proud of my new album and can’t wait for people to hear it.” Ed says. “It’s definitely my best work.”