On June 23 Ed Sheeran released his sophomore album, X. Ahead of the album's release, the GRAMMY-nominated British singer/songwriter participated in an exclusive GRAMMY.com interview, discussing how he balanced songwriting and touring to record X, his desire to grow as an artist and the pressure that comes with releasing a sophomore album, among other topics.
"If you look at any act in history, if they have a massive first album, if they have a huge second album, they go global … from Coldplay to Adele to Eminem," said Sheeran. "I want to keep building and growing … so it is a terrifying thing that you have to get the right songs at the right time and record them the right way."
Hailing from Halifax, England, Sheeran cites artists such as Eminem, Van Morrison, Joni Mitchell, and Damien Rice as influences. In 2005 he released an EP, The Orange Room, and subsequently moved to London. After inking a deal with Elton John's management company, Rocket Music, Sheeran released his debut album, +, in 2011. The 12-track set rose to No. 5 on the Billboard 200 on the strength of the hit single, "The A Team," which garnered Sheeran a 2012 GRAMMY nomination for Song Of The Year. For 2013 Sheeran earned a Best New Artist GRAMMY nomination and received an Album Of The Year nod for his collaboration with Taylor Swift on "Everything Has Changed," which is featured on her 2012 No. 1 album, Red.
X (pronounced "multiply") features 12 tracks, including the Pharrell Williams-produced hit "Sing" as well as collaborations with GRAMMY-winning producers Jeff Bhasker and Rick Rubin, among others.
Following select international tour dates, Sheeran will kick off his first North American headlining tour on Aug. 21 in Seattle, with dates scheduled through September.