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Page last updated at 09:56 GMT, Tuesday, 21 December 2010
Ed Sheeran recruits top mcs for collaboration EP
By Richard Haugh
BBC Suffolk

Ed Sheeran artwork
Ed Sheeran has been working on the EP for four years

Wiley, Devlin and Wretch 32 are amongst the big name rappers appearing on Ed Sheeran's new collaboration EP.

The Framlingham singer had the idea four years ago and will finally release the CD at his sold-out show at the Norwich Waterfront on 22 December.

"Originally I wanted to do four tracks with Wiley, JME, Sway and Kano," said 19-year-old Ed.

"In the end I got Wiley, JME, Sway and also Devlin, Dot Rotten, Wretch 32 and P-Money - so it's good."

2010 has been an incredible year for Ed.

Ed Sheeran at Harvest at Jimmy's 2010
Ed represented BBC Introducing in Suffolk at Harvest at Jimmy's

He won over legions of new fans via his support slots for Example, played the Latitude and Harvest at Jimmy's festivals and made an impact in the USA courtesy of his appearance on Jamie Foxx's radio show.

Ed is quick to thank the part played by SBTV.

The online channel posted a video of Ed performing You Need Me, I Don't Need You in February and is close to 500,000 hits.

"When the SBTV video went up all the rappers that I had in mind that I would never have been able to get in contact with, got in contact with me.

"I made a track for each one I wanted to work with, that would suit them.

"I travelled to every studio where they're based, sat with them and worked out the concept."

In most cases Ed would make the backing track and ask the rappers to provide two verses. With Devlin, however, Ed wanted to build on an impromptu battle that can be seen on YouTube.

"With Devlin, we'd done a video on the Example tour where we went bar for bar, so I thought it would be cool to record a song like this with him."

Independent spirit

Ed has been courted by major labels but wanted to release the EP independently before signing a deal.

Ed Sheeran
Ed was keen to release the collaborations EP independently

"I started the five EP projects, You Need Me EP, the Loose Change EP, Songs I Wrote With Amy EP, Bedford Live EP and DVD and this collaboration, it's all off my own back with my own money."

The live album, recorded in Balham, London, was an example of Ed's unique relationship with his fans.

Almost 20,000 subscribe to his Facebook page and he attempts to reply personally to every question posed.

Ed asked whether fans would like the live album to be based on the stripped down set up of Ed, guitar and loop pedal or a full band.

In the end, not wanting to upset anyone, Ed recorded the album half and half.

"It's been received really well and ended up charting at 130 in the national charts and number four in the singer/songwriter charts," said Ed.

"It's mental. I didn't even put any backing into it - I just put it online. I think it's because I gave the people what they wanted.

"A year ago I wasn't getting as much attention as I am now. I'm grateful to every person who comes to a gig and talks to me.

"They're really cool people and I'm in a happy situation at the moment."

No 5 Collaborations Project will be available via Ed's website from 9 January, 2011.

Sheeran puts name to record deal
22 Dec 10 |  BBC Introducing
Ed Sheeran announces headline gig
23 Sep 10 |  BBC Introducing
Jamie Foxx signs up Ed Sheeran for label
27 Jul 10 |  BBC Introducing
In pictures: Harvest at Jimmy's 2010, Sunday
13 Sep 10 |  Arts & Culture
BBC Suffolk Introducing: On tour
13 Jan 10 |  BBC Introducing



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