Ed Sheeran is risking the wrath of his label bosses by ditching pop for his next album.
The Shape of You singer has cemented his status as a pop superstar with his hit albums + (Plus), x (Multiply), and 2017's ÷ (Divide), but he is planning to break away from the style of music fans have fallen in love with to enjoy a little experimentation.
Sheeran explains his decision to try something different boils down to his fear of becoming too big, too fast, and he doesn't want the success of his next release to constantly be compared to its Grammy-winning predecessor.
"I feel like it's dangerous to have a career that goes bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger and everything's happening, because at some point it's gonna drop," he shared on fellow singer/songwriter George Ezra's new podcast.
"The next record that I'm making is not a pop album," Ed continued. "The reason it's not a pop album is people expect you to come (up with more pop tunes) and the next album they're going to be like, 'It has to be bigger than Shape of You and it has to sell more than this', but if I control it and go, 'Here's a lo-fi record that I really f**king love,' my fans are gonna be like 'Yay!', and the pop world are gonna be like, 'Oh well, maybe the next one.'
"If the next album does, like, two or one (million), or 500,000 (sales units), it's not a failure because I've made an album where I'm not trying to get there, so it's not a failure. No one's going to be like, 'That's a flop'. They're going to be like, 'That's what he wants to do.'"
However, Ed admits the move isn't popular with bigwigs at his label, Atlantic Records.
"The label hate that. The label really f**king hate that," he confessed. "They want a big pop album again but I think that s**t's dangerous."
Likening his plans to make an experimental album to what rockers Coldplay delivered on their 2014 Ghost Stories release, which featured more stripped down tracks, Sheeran added, "My whole career I've studied Coldplay, and Coldplay are f**king geniuses. They did it with Ghost Stories. Ghost Stories was their artistic moment."