British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran’s songs showcase his acoustic soul, heartfelt lyrics, and some pretty wicked rapping skills. Over the past few years, Sheeran has taken America by storm, starting with his 2012 mega-hit “The A Team,” which was followed by a spot on Taylor Swift’s 2013 tour.
In some ways, Sheeran’s a male version of Swift: young, talented, ambitious, supremely confident, and unafraid to leap across musical genres and write songs inspired by people in his life. The song “Afire Love,” off his new album, x (a.k.a. Multiply) [set for a June 23 release], is about his grandfather Bill. “I finished writing it on the day of his funeral,” Sheeran, 23, tells Parade contributor David Browne in the June 29 issue, “and played it for my whole family. Before it went any further, I needed to get the blessing of the people I care about.”
And if you’re wondering, “Don’t,” a bitter song of romantic betrayal, is “about someone who’s well known, but not Taylor,” says Sheeran, who has denied ever dating Swift (rumor has it that fellow Brit pop sensation Ellie Goulding is the song’s subject).
He’s even got a 10-year plan. “I know this isn’t going to last forever. Now is the time when I’m making my musical statements and being cool and going to parties. But I don’t think I’ll be living this life in 10 years’ time. If I am, please slap me.” Where will he be instead? “Back home, bunch of kids,” he says without hesitation. “At 33, I should be starting to settle down.” He won’t name his current girlfriend, though he says she’s a chef.
Sheeran dishes on trashing a hotel room (then putting it all back together!), making friends with Courteney Cox and Jennifer Aniston, and more in the June 29 issue of Parade.