Six months ago, Ed Sheeran threw us all for a loop when he insisted that his upcoming fourth album is "not a pop album." And lest you think he was kidding or exaggerating, the singer-songwriter has doubled down on that claim in a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, in which he describes the follow-up to 2017's ÷ (Divide) as "completely out of [his] comfort zone."
"I don’t think there’s an acoustic guitar on it," Sheeran spilled. "Which, to be an acoustic singer-songwriter, it’s different. But it’s not an album or a mixtape or anything, it’s just a collection of songs that will just come out."
Asked to elaborate further, the 27-year-old said that he wants to "clear the air" before his next big project, so he plans to unceremoniously drop new music that won't constitute an actual album — kind of like Drake did with More Life, which bridged the time between Views and Scorpion.
"If I came out with an album next, people would compare it to ÷ and want it to be bigger and sell more," Sheeran explained. "I kind of learned from looking at how Drake does it. Drake puts out these albums that are huge but then in between he sticks out projects and however big the project is, it doesn’t really matter because it’s not the album, if that makes sense. It just clears the air for the next album."
Sheeran isn't just inspired by Drake's business strategy — he's also hoping to work with the Toronto rapper at some point, predicting that they'd make "an interesting song" together. That potential collaboration would almost certainly birth a smash — considering they're two of the streaming era's most dominant artists — and Sheeran is determined to make it happen.
"I feel like at some point, me and Drake need to do something," Sheeran told EW. "I feel like it’s inevitable... I’ve only met him a couple of times. I don’t even know if it’s in the cards. I’d like to think he has the same mindset as me."
Your move, Drake!