Sing (Ed Sheeran song)

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"Sing"
Single by Ed Sheeran
from the album x
B-side "Friends"
Released 7 April 2014 (2014-04-07)
Format
Recorded 2013
Genre
Length 3:55
Label
Writer(s)
Producer(s) Pharrell Williams
Ed Sheeran singles chronology
"I See Fire"
(2013)
"Sing"
(2014)
"Don't"
(2014)
Music sample

"Sing" is a song by English singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran. It was written by Sheeran and Pharrell Williams, who also produced it and provides uncredited background vocals. The song was released on 7 April 2014, serving as the lead single from Sheeran's second studio album, x (2014).[4][5][6]

The song became Sheeran's first UK number-one single and also topped the charts in Australia, New Zealand and Ireland. It also peaked at number 13 on the US Billboard Hot 100.

Background[edit]

"Sing" was written by Sheeran and Pharrell Williams, and produced by the latter. Williams also provides uncredited background vocals during the chorus. The song has a length of three minutes and 55 seconds. The song, which has pop and R&B influences and was inspired by Justin Timberlake, is a considered a departure from Sheeran's folk rock sound he became known for on his album +.[7][8] Sheeran was inspired to model the song after the pop and R&B stylings of Timberlake, stating "It was pretty close to a direct inspiration. I love Justified and FutureSex/LoveSounds, so I took inspiration from those."[9] The lyrics are about "a night out in Vegas."[10]

"Sing" was released in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia and Germany in May 2014 with a corresponding EP.[citation needed] Aside from these nations, "Sing" was released internationally on 7 April 2014, during a YouTube live chat with Sheeran. "Friends", a track from the EP, entered the UK Singles Chart at number 121.

Critical reception[edit]

The song received critical acclaim upon release, with music critics complimenting Sheeran's change of sound, and likening the song to the works of Justin Timberlake. Time gave the song a very positive review, saying that it is "more of a departure. It fits the times nicely: there's some of fellow Brit Sam Smith in Sheeran's rubbery falsetto, plus some of Robin Thicke's ubiquitous 'Blurred Lines' in the percussion. But Sheeran's really got his heavy-breathing, hyper-flirtatious sights on another, older target: Justin Timberlake's solo debut 'Like I Love You'," adding that "Countless artists have died on that hill, from former boy banders trying to reinvent themselves in Timberlake's image, to teen idols in protracted growth spurts, to Timberlake himself on parts of The 20/20 Experience. But Sheeran brings legit musicianship, not just branding, to the tune, and his vocal tics and the 'Billie Jean' percussion suggest he might be looking back even further, to Michael Jackson's imperial phase."[4]

In a positive review, The Guardian said that "while Pharrell's influence is writ large, there's enough of Sheeran there to prevent it coming across as horrible pastiche."[6] The Hollywood Reporter also gave the song a positive review, stating that "Sheeran's fragile voice, as heard on past hits like 'The A Team' and 'Lego House,' has now morphed into a confident croon, unafraid of diving into a deep bag of melismas, boisterous chants and rapid-fire rhymes in order to convince his female subject of his desires."[11]

Chart performance[edit]

"Sing" debuted at number one on the Australian ARIA Charts in May 2014, making it Sheeran's first ever number one in the country, and his sixth top ten single in Australia. On the week of 14 April 2014, the song entered the New Zealand Singles Chart at number 8, becoming his fourth top 10 single and second top 10 debut in New Zealand.[12] The song has since topped the charts in that country, giving Sheeran his second consecutive number-one single there.[13] The song debuted at number one on the UK Singles Chart and Irish Singles Chart, giving him his first ever number one singles in both United Kingdom and Ireland. In Italy, "Sing" has peaked at number two and spent five total weeks at this position, giving him the higher peak position reached in this country so far.[14]

In Canada, the track has since peaked at number 4, giving Ed Sheeran his first ever top 10 hits in the country. "Sing" debuted at number 15 on the Billboard Hot 100, giving Sheeran his highest charting single in the United States at the time. The single managed to sell 123,000 copies, giving him his second best sales week digitally; the song also managed to net 563,000 streams and earn 28 million in audience impressions, all before its debut week on the Billboard Hot 100.[15] "Sing" has since peaked at number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song reached its million sales mark in the US in July 2014,[16] and has sold 1,323,000 copies as of January 2015.[17]

Music video[edit]

The music video for "Sing" was released exclusively to Sheeran's Facebook page on 22 May 2014, and added to Vevo and YouTube on 23 May, exactly a month before the album was released.[18] It follows a puppet caricature of Sheeran on a night out, during which he gets drunk, sings karaoke, goes to a strip club and picks up Sheeran and Pharrell from a studio in his truck. Throughout the video Ed is seen playing his guitar in front of an optical illusion-esque backdrop. [19][20]

The puppet is currently in Sheeran's safekeeping,[21] but he has "no idea how to work it yet".[22] The puppet was closely modelled on him, down to his clothes and tattoos.[21] Sheeran and Pharrell received the award for Best Male Video at the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards for the video.

Live performances and cover versions[edit]

Sheeran performed the song live for the first time on Saturday Night Live on 12 April 2014, along with a song called "Don't", which he debuted off the album.[23] Sheeran also performed "Sing" on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on 16 May 2014,[24] on the Britain's Got Talent semi-final on 27 May 2014[25] and on The Graham Norton Show on 6 June 2014.[26] On 28 August 2014, Sheeran sang the song on Jimmy Kimmel Live!.[27]

On 7 August 2014, English band Rizzle Kicks did a mashup of the song with Iggy Azalea's "Fancy" on BBC Radio 1's Live Lounge.[28]

Track listing[edit]

Digital download – Single[29]
No. Title Length
1. "Sing"   3:55
CD single[30]
No. Title Length
1. "Sing"   3:55
2. "Sing" (Live @ 1LIVE Radiokonzert) 6:49
Digital download – Extended play[31]
No. Title Length
1. "Sing" (Live @ 1LIVE Radiokonzert) 6:49
2. "Sing" (Trippy Turtle Remix) 4:06
3. "Friends"   3:10

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Australia (ARIA)[80] 2× Platinum 140,000^
Canada (Music Canada)[81] 2× Platinum 160,000^
Italy (FIMI)[82] 2× Platinum 60,000*
New Zealand (RMNZ)[83] Platinum 15,000*
Sweden (GLF)[84] Platinum 40,000x
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[85] Gold 15,000x
United Kingdom (BPI)[86] Platinum 600,000double-dagger
United States (RIAA)[87] Platinum 1,323,000[17]
Streaming
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[88] Platinum 2,600,000^
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[89] Gold 4,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
double-daggersales/streaming figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Region Date Label Format
Australia[90] 7 April 2014 Warner Music Digital download (single)
Germany[91]
Ireland[92]
New Zealand[93]
Ireland[31] 30 May 2014 Digital download (EP)
United Kingdom[29] 1 June 2014 Digital download (single)

References[edit]

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External links[edit]