In the search for novelty, British singer Ed Sheeran will head to Ghana to record new music. The idea, other than novelty, appears to be a desire by the artist to include sounds from around the world especially Africa.
Coming soon after fellow pop star Taylor Swift has been accused of whitewashing Africa in her video for 'Wildest Dreams' off her 1989 album, Sheeran’s move might be considered tricky. But so far no western media publication has traced a connection between the controversial video and Sheeran’s plans.
‘It’s obviously a little bit out of Ed’s comfort zone,’ a source told the tabloid Sun, ‘but he is all about experimenting and trying new things.’
Apparently Mr Sheeran got in touch with Damon Albarn of British alt-rock band Blur and one of the brains behind cartoon band Gorillaz, who has collaborated with African artists, mostly Francophone. Albarn handed ‘some good advice’ to Sheeran whose quest for newer sounds means there may be some obvious African influence on his third album.
Perhaps the most famous (and successful) of these kind of collaborations was 1986’s Graceland album. Formerly of the duo Simon and Garfunkel and by then solo, Paul Simon notably worked with South African artists on the album despite the country’s apartheid laws. At the Grammy Award ceremony the next year, Graceland was named Album of the Year. It was, however, viewed as cultural appropriation by some.
Nonetheless, for some fans, Sheeran’s move may be good news because Mr Sheeran is considerably popular on the continent. Already in Ghana, the country he might be headed to, local reggae singer Knii Lante has remixed his ‘Thinking out Loud’ to acclaim.
Listen to Knii Lante's version of Sheeran's 'Thinking out Loud' below: