After co-writing his R&B-influenced hit ‘Sing’ with Pharrell Williams, Sheeran is now pushing the boundaries of his original folk rock sound even further by teaming up with American rapper Benjamin Levin (aka Benny Blanco). They have co-written ‘Don’t’, the second single from Sheeran’s new album ‘X’.
‘Don’t’ is also one of three songs from ‘X’ produced by Rick Rubin who has previously worked with artists such as Eminem, Jay-Z and Red Hot Chilli Peppers.
Benjamin Levin’s hits include ‘California Gurls’ by Katy Perry, ‘Payphone’ and ‘Moves Like Jagger’ by Maroon 5, and Ke$ha’s ‘Tik Tok’.
Like Sheeran’s previous collaborator Pharrell Williams, Levin believes in marrying different elements together to create something fresh. “I listen to so many different types of music,” he says. “I don’t want to have any boundaries whatsoever. If someone came to me and was like, ‘I want to make a polka album’, I’m making the best damn polka album ever.”
Levin says much of his sonic inspiration comes from his home city of New York. “I love that this city isn’t pretty all the time – that it’s dirty and loud. Sometimes when you’re in the studio you can actually hear car horns and fire alarms outside—I love that.”
But very different from the ambient sounds found in Sheeran’s new home – a renovated farmhouse in the peaceful, rural landscape of Suffolk, England!
Here’s the Official Audio for ‘Don’t’ …
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“How [Not] To Write A Hit Song! – 101 Common Mistakes To Avoid If You Want Songwriting Success” is available from Amazon as a US paperback, UK paperback and as an eBook from Amazon’s Kindle Store, Apple’s iTunes Store (Books/Arts & Entertainment/Music), Barnes & Noble’s Nook store, and from KoboBooks.
With Taylor Swift’s fifth studio album expected to be released in October 2014, the seven-time Grammy winner has been dropping hints that her follow-up to multi-platinum Red will be very different from anything she has ever done before.
It is likely to push the boundaries of her sound by featuring greater cross-pollination between different music genres.
“It’s already evolved into a new sound, and that’s all I wanted,” the 24-year-old recently told Billboard magazine. “There’s a fusing of genres that makes me happy and excited.”
In an interview with the Associated Press (AP), she also stressed how important it is for songwriters not to simply put out a retread of songs they’ve already done: “The goal is to continue to change, and never change in the same way twice,” she said. On her new album, this involved writing in ways that she had never attempted before and using a sonic backdrop that she had not previously explored.
She said: “I love [collaborating with] people who have endless strange and exciting ideas about where music can go—people like Max Martin and Johan Shellback who are likely to ask ‘What if we made it weirder? What if we took it darker?’.”
Meanwhile, Taylor Swift’s good friend Ed Sheeran has also been exploring entirely new realms of sound for his next album, titled x, which will be released on June 23. “I’ve been writing very specific songs to different genres,” he explained.
Never a songwriter to stand still, Sheeran has recorded x at various locations around the world—adding new flavours to his music with the aid of producers such 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), as well as his key collaborators Johnny McDaid of Snow Patrol and Jake Gosling (who produced Sheeran’s first album +).
The first single from Sheeran’s new album is ‘Sing’. It was produced by Pharrell Williams—another singer/songwriter/producer who believes in marrying different elements together to create something fresh. “That is where I find the magic,” said Pharrell, “in trying to just blend different worlds together and mix it up.”
Commenting on his work with Pharrell Williams, Sheeran told Music Week magazine: “Pharrell took me way outside of my comfort zone, which was very, very helpful. He forced me to try new things.”
Here’s the Official Video for ‘Sing’ (featuring Ed the Puppet) …
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“How [Not] To Write A Hit Song! – 101 Common Mistakes To Avoid If You Want Songwriting Success” is available from Amazon as a US paperback, UK paperback and as an eBook from Amazon’s Kindle Store, Apple’s iTunes Store (Books/Arts & Entertainment/Music) and Barnes & Noble’s Nook store.