The singer-songwriter was speaking to Zoe Ball on BBC Radio 2 today (October 29) when he was asked if he could give fans a preview of the collaboration he’s teased in interviews.
Sheeran duly obliged and picked up the acoustic guitar next to him. The lyrics he sang were: “So kiss me under the mistletoe/ Pour out the wine/ Let’s toast and pray for December snow/ I know there’s been pain this year but it’s time to let it go/ Next year, you never know/ But for now, Merry Christmas.”
Afterwards he told Ball: “There’s loads of sleigh bells on it and it sounds a lot more Christmassy than that. But that is a tiny hint of the song.”
Sheeran first revealed that he’d collaborated with John on the single in an interview with Dutch radio station NPO Radio 2. Later, John expanded on the news in his Big Read interview with NME.
“I was sworn to secrecy and then big mouth fucking Sheeran goes to the Netherlands! It’s supposed to come out – we haven’t finished it yet, so there’s still work to be done,” John said.
He added that he couldn’t “say any more than that because it’s in his hands”, but he did reveal to NME his true ambitions for the song: “We’ve got the sausage roll man to deal with, haven’t we? We’ve got LadBaby to deal with! Once we bump him off, we might have a clear path to a hit record. He seems to have the monopoly on Christmas records. And good for him!”
Elsewhere in the interview with BBC Radio 2, Sheeran explained why he’s now more willing to share previews of his upcoming material than he was in the past.
“Do you know what I’ve realised about being precious with songs?” he said, going on to reference that he kept ‘Shape Of You‘ a secret for so long.
While he didn’t directly answer his own rhetorical question, he went on to explain that he’s learnt from holding songs back and that snippets “just [get] people excited about the tune”.
“With ‘Bad Habits’, I was like, ‘Well, why can’t I leak little bits out?’” he said.
In other news, Sheeran released his fourth album ‘=’ (‘Equals’) today. Read NME‘s three-star review here.