It's been over two years since Ed Sheeran dropped the omnipresent "Thinking Out Loud," his single that incurred a lawsuit from Marvin Gaye's co-writer, but shot to No.2 on the Billboard charts anyway. And now he's returned with new music.
As one of the first offerings from his upcoming third album ÷ (or, Divide), Sheeran shared the upbeat, island-inspired "Shape of You" and if it sounds out of his comfort zone to you, there's good reason: he originally felt the same.
On Friday, in an interview with BBC Radio 1 Breakfast Show with Nick Grimshaw, Sheeran revealed that he originally had Rihanna in mind to sing the tune, but couldn't imagine her delivering a specific lyric. It was one about Van Morrison, affectionatelly referred to as "Van the Man," a Northern Irish singer who Sheeran, England-born but part-Irish, has publicly credited with shaping his love for music. He even tried to pass the song off to British genre-blending band Rudimental.
Sheeran told BBC Radio 1:
"'Shape Of You' is actually a really random one because I went in to write songs for other people with a guy called Steve Mac and a guy called Johnny McDaid. And we were writing this song, and I was like, 'This would really work for Rihanna.' And then I started singing lyrics like putting 'Van The Man on the jukebox,' and I was like 'She's not really going to sing that, is she?'" We sort of decided half-way through that we were just going to make it for me. This came really, really late. This was the last song that was finished. And I just didn't put two and two together that it was even going to be on the album at all. I just kind of wrote it and I was like, oh, that was fun. I kept it from my label. And then one day, I was like, 'Do you reckon Rudimental would wanna, like, do something to this?' And they were like, 'Why haven't you played us this before?'"
Take a listen to "Shape Of You" below. Would you rather this be a part of Sheeran or Rihanna's catalog?