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.
He topped the UK album chart in 2012 with his platinum-selling debut album, Jake Bugg, which was largely co-written with established songwriters Iain Archer, Matt Prime and Crispin Hunt.
Bugg has recently been working on tracks for his second studio album with legendary producer Rick Rubin. The new album will again involve collaborations with seasoned songwriters, including some of the top writers in Nashville.
Bugg, 19, recently told the UK’s Daily Star newspaper: “I’m still very young, and I believe I should soak up what I can learn from people with more experience. I’m taking it all on board, so I can step into writing on my own eventually.”
There is no doubt that collaborations can help you to learn how to write better songs much faster. Working with a co-writer with talents that complement your own can help to take you and your songs to a much higher level. As Brian Eno once put it: “Every collaboration helps you grow”.
An experienced songwriting partner can also help to keep you focused. He or she may question your lyrics when you’re under-achieving, and introduce fresh ideas and new chords that may take your songs to new places.
And if you’ve got a great idea for a song but you just can’t seem to finish it, an accomplished co-writer may be able to listen objectively to what you’ve got and come up with the missing link. He or she may introduce lyrical or melodic ideas that would never have occurred to you while you’re still honing your own skills.
As Robbie Shakespeare of long-time reggae duo Sly and Robbie recently remarked: “If you have two sets of ears, you can hear more.”
Jake Bugg’s latest single – produced by Rick Rubin – is a re-recording of the haunting song ‘Broken’ from his debut album. Bugg co-wrote the track with Crispin Hunt.
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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 paperback, or as an eBook from Amazon’s Kindle Store, Apple’s iTunes Store (Books/Arts & Entertainment/Music) and Barnes & Noble’s Nook store.