Ed Sheeran is the personification of the phrase “Jack of all Trades”, as one of the biggest pop stars in the world, his rise to the top has seen him dabble with a number of genres. Today, we take a look at the 5 times Ed Sheraan dabbled with Afrobeats.
1. Peru (Remix) by Fireboy DML
Released on 23rd December 2021, Peru (Remix) is inarguably Ed Sheeran’s most prominent Afrobeats cameo yet!
Speaking about the collaboration on Elton John’s Rocket Hour Apple Music Show, Ed Sheeran said, “So I got sent this a week ago. A friend of mine, Jamal (Edwards) who runs SBTV sent it to me. He said, “Fireboy DML would love you on the remix of this song.”
Ed Sheeran was obsessed with the earworm on the first listen; the rest is history! The groundbreaking collaboration became the first African song to reach Number 1 on the UK Apple Music charts in January 2022. As of the time of publishing this article, it is on the verge of going two times Platinum in the UK.
2. Boa Me by Fuse ODG
Released in November 2017, the feel-good highlife record sees Ed Sheraan sing in the native Ghanaian language “Twi”.
Speaking with the Daily Star, Fuse ODG said, “Ed didn’t speak a word of English in the song, just Twi and would only do it if he got it right. I showed all sorts of different types of music out there, he wanted to make a real authentic High Life track – that’s the old-skool Afrobeats music my parents would play.”
“Ed is becoming a High Life legend because when I played it to people in Ghana they didn’t even realize it was Ed, that’s how much he sounded like the real thing. We did a test where people came to the house and the reaction was: ‘This is crazy.'”
“Boa Me” was recorded in Ghana during Ed Sheeran’s 2016 trip to the country, and was produced by ace Ghanaian record producer KillBeatz. The song peaked at number 52 on the UK Singles Chart.
3. Bibia Be Ye Ye
This is one of the rare cases on our list where Ed doesn’t appear as a featured act on an Afrobeats artiste’s song.
Taken from the deluxe edition of Ed Sheeran’s 2017 Grammy award-winning album “Divide”, “Bibia Be Ye Ye” translates to “Everything Will Be Alright” in Twi. The song was written and recorded in Ghana at the same time as Fuse ODG’s “Boa Me”, with co-writing and production credits again going to Fuse ODG and KillBeatz respectively. After the album’s release, it charted at number 18 on the UK Singles Chart, despite not being an official single.
4. For My Hand by Burna Boy
A week prior to the official release, the duo premiered the song at Ed Sheeran’s Wembley Concert. On the same occasion, they announced the song’s title and revealed that it would be released the following week.
The heartfelt Afrobeats-infused ballad was written by Burna Boy and Ed Sheraan with producer P2J, and marks the second collaboration between the two artistes, as they were both featured on British rapper Stormzy’s single, “Own It”, from his second studio album, Heavy Is the Head (2019).
5. Shape of You
This may be considered a bit of a reach. But there’s no denying Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” has strong Afrobeats sensibilities. It was released on 6th January 2017 as one of the double lead singles from his third studio album “Divide” (2017), along with “Castle on the Hill“.
Originally conceived as a duet between Rihanna and Rudimental, the Afro-infused pop record was the last song written for the album and was therefore not intended to be included. Record label execs were however able to convince Sheeran to keep the song for himself. “Shape of You” debuted at number one on the UK Singles Chart on 13th January 2017, selling 227,000 combined units in its first week and becoming Sheeran’s third UK number one.