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To be honest,
I know what we're doing now is like looking into it.
But none of us thought that much into it.
I didn't make this song to be mine to sing.
He'd already said everything he wanted to say for that moment on his record.
We went in there just to write a song.
If we were into the session writing a song for Ed Sheeran,
I don't think we would ever have recorded shape of you.
Most-streamed track ever on Spotify
Most weeks ever in The Billboard Top 10
2,893,178,486 views on YouTube
It was the first day I've ever been in with Steve.
The first, literally the first thing he did,
was he walked over to the keyboard and played.
And then I was kinda like "Well, we have this."
That's a good start.
The log drum that we use, it was the first sound that I found.
It just felt like a world sound.
Ed started doing that thing on the guitar that he does.
And then like a...
I honestly believe it's cause Ed is so impatient
that he can't wait for me to get a drum sound up.
So he goes out, and he says, "Look, I'll just do it on the guitar."
So he was doing that in the studio and Steve said,
"Can we get that on the loop?"
Straight away, he says, "Give me a clean track."
And he just starts layering over the top.
This is fifteen minutes into meeting, and we're away, we're off.
The easiest thing with this key would be to go with it.
Like, of the rhythm.
Ed goes completely against that.
He's almost the percussion with it.
And that keeps the pace up.
I'm always a fan of keeping it more stripped,
'cause I'm an acoustic artist first and foremost.
And when I play live, I can't replicate all these things.
I haven't got any other musicians.
So you don't need anything else, because that's the percussion.
Ed is the instrument.
Johnny's like my main guy that I work with.
Me and him together on our own have probably written two, three hundred songs.
His attention span could be very low.
One of the things I did to try and keep him in the room while I would be working on a track,
I would have like a suitcase full of lego and pull it to the hotel room.
And say, "There you go, you build that."
And it was great, 'cause he would sit and build the lego,
and can get lost in that world for a second,
and come up with this moment that was everything.
As we were writing it, I kind of knew I wanted it to be like a really sort of R&B type feel.
And I was like, "Wouldn't it be cool if like, we put like an interpolation of "No Scrubs" in it?"
So the bit that went "Girl, you know I want your love,"
originally went "Girl, you know I want your love."
There were some moments that I found on the Shape of You tapes which were really interesting.
Ahh be my baby um ah.
Ahh be my baby um ah.
Ahh be my baby.
Come on, yeah!
Come on be my baby um ah.
Come on be my baby um ah.
So that's a perfect example of how Ed starts off as a...
Just to shoot ... a noise.
And then you hear that moment where he discovers it should be "come on,"
He's inviting this person in.
He has in his mind this is how I want a song to sound.
This is what I want to talk about.
Originally, I think we were talking about maybe being
"and my T-shirt smells like you".
And, he was like, "no no, it's gotta be my bed sheets."
It's "bedsheets smell of you", and I remember thinking,
"Oh god no, not bedsheets."
On the original version, it doesn't actually say "I'm in love with the shape of you."
It only says that at the beginning bit.
See, like a weird thing in there, that's pretty odd.
"I'm in love with your body" on its own, felt objectifying to me.
Yeah, he's got a really warm heart.
Do you like, do you not like "I'm in love with your body?"
I do, it's just ... it's ...
"I'm in love with your body."
I mean, I'll say, I'm always like
if we could just push it, so it's one more thing.
Where I come from, there is this phrase.
They say look at the shape of you, and that means,
look at the way you've showed it up.
So in love with the shape of you.
It's true.
It is more than.
I'm in love with
You're not just a body.
It is more than your body.
You are more than your body.
Yeah, um.
I'm in love with the shape of you.
I'm in love with the way you move.
But it's not just the shape of you.
This song is just one loop the whole way through.
It's a very monotonous thing, so when you got that for the whole song,
the only thing you can do are light and shade bits.
So once you've heard the first ten seconds,
there's no more learning to be done when it comes to the hook.
Then everything else is a surprise.
It's so minimal, that every time something new does comes in, you hear it.
Layered up some more vocals, some of these guitars.
One of the things that we added was the mellotron.
And it just added a little color to it for me.
Just a little bass drum.
Just to give it some weight.
We've got a little sixteen clap going.
Then we added a little rim.
That's kind of the only thing that starts slightly of the beat.
So it feels like it's moving all the time, you're not getting bored.
Every time you start getting bored of it,
something new comes in
or something drops out.
It kind of builds and builds and builds and then drops,
and then builds and builds and build and then drops.
At the end, it has a moment which I quite like.
You don't really notice it happening, but it's happening underneath.
And you just get this feeling of tension, release, tension, release.
We've moved on to another song.
We've actually got a cut with Faith Hill and Tim McGraw that we write the same day.
And then we did another one after that.
We write a bunch that day.
Oh, the Liam Payne one as well.
And that was when at the end of the third song, he said,
"Go back, and can you play me the first tune again."
We thought it might be a duet.
and the duet would be that the girl sings one verse and the guy sings another verse.
When I was like, "This sounds like, Rudimental should do it with Rihanna.".
He said, "I don't think this is for me."
I was off to this studio where my record label head was.
I played it, and he was just kind of looking at me like,
"Why you wanna give this away?"
I don't really know what it means to choose a hit.
I just like writing songs.
It's not rocket science.
It's much much more complicated.
Kind of the best hour and a half in my life.
To follow a trend is a common thing in pop,
and it's something that I've always try to not do.
But I was wrong this time, man.
It's one of the biggest songs in my career.
Cool.
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‘Shape of You’: How Ed Sheeran Made 2017’s Biggest Track

13048 Folder Collection
Jerry published on January 17, 2018    Jerry translated    Ann reviewed
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