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Looks Like Ed Sheeran Might Be Going Country After All

12 May 2023 | 2:35 pm | Ellie Robinson

“I talk about this to my wife all the time. I would love to transition into country.”

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Ed Sheeran’s surprise appearance at the Academy of Country Music Awards (ACM Awards) might be hinting at a shift in genre for the singer-songwriter – he’s just confirmed that he does indeed see himself making country music in the future.

Just a couple of days ago, it was announced that Sheeran would be performing at this year’s ACM Awards – which is currently underway in Texas – filling in for Morgan Wallen after he was forced to cancel six weeks of tour dates due to vocal cord trauma. According to Billboard, though, Sheeran’s appearance had been on the cards for “a few weeks” before it was officially revealed.

At the event, Sheeran joined Luke Combs for a surprise duet of his own song, Life Goes On, from his new album – (pronounced as “subtract”). Just last year, the pair joined forces in London for a scorching country flip of his song Dive at the C2C Festival.

Prior to the performance, Sheeran revealed to Billboard that he would like to explore a career in country music: “I talk about this to my wife all the time. I would love to transition into country,” he said. “I love the culture of it, I just love the songwriting. It’s just like brilliant songs.”

Sheeran also noted that he’s been a lifelong fan of country music, having lived in Nashville twice (in 2013 and 2018) and being particularly inspired by the local talent of the Tennessee capital. “It’s like a community,” he said. “There’s not really a place in Europe where you could point and say, ‘That’s the home of songwriting.’ It’s not just for country music. Nashville is just a hub of incredible songwriters, incredible performers. And I really felt inspired just being there being around everyone.”

You might be wondering, how did Ed Sheeran even get into country music? Well, it appears we have Taylor Swift to thank: “I’d never really listened to country music as a kid growing up,” he admitted. “It was only being on Taylor’s Red tour and living in Nashville and her basically introducing me to that side of it.”

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Sheeran has dipped his toe into the country world once before: in 2021, he appeared alongside Keith Urban on a twangy song by Amy Shark called Love Songs Ain’t For Us. 

Sheeran released just last week. TheMusic gave it a middling review, with David James Young writing: “In spite of some bright spots and even some career highlights across the album, Sheeran is clearly too caught up in stadium-filling maximalism to create his own folklore.”

Also last week, Sheeran released his Disney+ documentary The Sum Of It All. In a statement shared upon its announcement, Ayo Davis (president of Disney Branded Television) said of the four-part series: “We’re going to reveal a side of Ed Sheeran that fans have never seen before. Together with Fulwell 73, we’ve created something truly authentic and personal that will not only entertain audiences but also inspire them to dream big and pursue their passions.”