An Ed Sheeran album title is easy to point out in a list because all of them, save for 2019’s No. 6 Collaborations Project, are named after mathematical symbols: 2011’s +, 2014’s x, 2017’s ÷, and 2021’s =. Having a distinct branding identity like that is a good way to stand out, but Sheeran says part of the reason he went that route with his career is so he himself wouldn’t stand out.
In a recent interview with New Zealand’s Project NZ, Sheeran said his album naming convention was sparked by his, as he describes it, “face for the radio”:
“The thing with the albums is I, very early on in my career, decided I didn’t… I don’t mean to play it down, but I do have a face for the radio. And I was like, ‘I don’t really want to be a poster boy ever.’ I don’t want to be, like, selling my record being like, ‘Hey, how you doing?’
So I had sort of figured out a way, I was like, ‘I’m going to do it with colors and symbols.’ So I was like, ‘I’d love to get to a point that there’s a billboard of just red with an equals sign, or green with a multiply, or blue with a divide, or orange with a plus, and people go, ‘Oh, Ed’s got an album coming out.’”
Then, when one of the hosts suggested – (aka Minus) would be the “obvious choice” for the name of Sheeran’s next album, he replied, “That’s not gonna be the next record I put out. I’ve got something else that’s a bit more of a curveball. We’ve got the first thing of it dropping in ten days. In ten days, there’s gonna be something coming out. I don’t think it’s gonna be a massive hit in New Zealand though, I’ve got to be honest. It’s more gonna be a big hit somewhere else. When you hear it, you’ll understand.”
So, based on the timing of the interview, Sheeran fans should expect something new from him at the end of next week.
Check out the interview below.
Get ready Aotearoa, because one of the biggest pop stars around is heading to our shores.
— The Project NZ (@TheProject_NZ) March 16, 2022
Ed Sheeran is a Warner Music artist. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.