Ed Sheeran revealed more details about his his forthcoming EP, “No. 6 Collaborations” — apparently including a Bruno Mars track — in a video interview with Charlamagne Tha God released on Tuesday morning. He has already released songs with Justin Bieber and Chance the Rapper from the project, and although he released the tracklist from the project last week, most of the artist names are obscured.
“Before I was signed I made a lot of EPs,” he says. “I made an eight-track EP called ‘No. 5 Collaborations’ project with a load of UK rappers I was a big fan of at the time [such as Wiley, Devlin and P Money], and ever since then I haven’t done any collaborations on my own stuff — I’ve done it on other people’s records.
“[But] when I did the Beyonce-Andrea Bocelli [collaboration] and had them both on the ‘Perfect’ [remix],” he continues, “I started a thing on my laptop called ‘No. 6 Collaborations.’”
He laughingly says the project was inspired by the 2001 “Lady Marmalade” team-up featuring Christina Aguilera, Pink, Lil Kim and Mya from the “Moulin Rouge” film. He says he wondered what it would be like to get Bieber and Bruno Mars and others on a track, and took the idea to Mars, but the pair decided to do a song with just the two of them instead.
“This is such a silly idea but you remember ‘Lady Marmalade’? I had an idea of getting Bruno, Bieber and me on a record — how fun would that be? And the first person I rung was Bruno, and he was like ‘Let’s do a song together, just us, and that’s how it happened: I did a song with Bruno and then a song with Bieber and these individual songs started happening and it just turned into a project.”
Reps for Sheeran and Mars did not immediately respond to Variety‘s request for confirmation.
Sheeran stressed that the project is not his next album, nor is it the “next stage of my career” or a mixtape, in response to Charlamagne’s question. “I just want to put it out and move on from it, I don’t see it as the next stage of my career,” he says. “It’s a compilation of artists that I am a fan of, and because I’m still on tour I can put it out and move on.”
Presumably several of the artists he collaborates with on the EP are black, as he also apparently attempts to get ahead of any accusations of cultural tourism in the interview. Charlamagne mentions “artists that love [black] culture but don’t necessarily love us,” and Sheeran responds, “… Which is what I was very, very scared of, because that’s definitely not the place I’m coming from with this. I’m not really one to be speaking on it, but there are respectful ways to do it,” he continues. “It’s about showing respect.”
He also speaks about being inspired by working with Chance the Rapper. “Chance is so involved in social justice and helping [people], I sat with him for two hours talking about it,” Sheeran says. “You can’t leave [Chance’s home base of] Chicago and not feel you need to make a difference,” although he did not get into further details.
The interview took place at Sheeran’s house in England’s Suffolk county, which includes a studio that apparently bears the signatures of many famous visitors. While it is not shown in the video, he and Charlamagne reference the signatures of Taylor Swift, Ryan Tedder, James Blunt, British rappers Stormzy and Big Nasty and others.
Watch the video in full below.