The singer, who welcomed daughter Lyra with wife Cherry Seaborn last year, sought the help of the Irish icon after he began to question whether it was possible to juggle family duties with a career of selling out stadiums.
“When I found out Cherry was pregnant, I was like, ‘How do I navigate this into my career?’,” he told Zane Lowe on Apple Music.
“And I’d just watched [U2’s documentary] Rattle And Hum, the YouTube doc and basically…well, no, this is the thing. U2 played stadiums on their third record or whatever. And Bono was 28 and he finished his live tour at 29 and then had his first child and then went on to be…that was their first stadium and then they went on to have like a 30 year career of still playing stadiums. And I was like, this is the one guy I feel like…I could relate to.”
Explaining his conversation, Sheeran said: “So I got in touch, then we had like a three hour chat and he is the sweetest guy. And we were just having…and I’d never really bonded with him like that. And I don’t think I probably ever would have done, but there was just this…I don’t know what made him take the call, but we’re sort of having this chat and he was telling me about how he navigated being a father, like where his kids went to school and how they did tours and stuff like that.
“And I was just kind of taking it all in and he hung up the phone and we’d sort of ended our chat. And then I went through a deep dive of U2 on vinyl. So I bought all their records. I’d heard their records, but I’d never…it’s different sitting down with headphones, closed eyes.”
Sheeran’s reasons for contacting U2 are well placed, having surpassed the group in 2019 for the highest-grossing tour of all time.
The ‘Divide’ tour grossed $736.7million, surpassing the previous $735.4million record set by U2 in 2011. In a statement to Pollstar, Sheeran described breaking the record as an “amazing feeling”.
His comments come after he shared his first single of the year, the EDM-influenced ‘Bad Habits’.
The new track is a far cry from much of Sheeran’s previous work, experimenting in more electronic and dance sounds, anchored by pulsating synths and thumping bass.
His fourth album is planned to arrive this Autumn.