From DJ Khaled’s Grateful to Calvin Harris’s Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1, it seems that the popularity of compilation albums that showcase work from a variety of pop musicians appears to have only increased in the last couple of years. An acoustic folk musician like Ed Sheeran is no exception, as he finally confirmed that his upcoming album holds an impressive roster of collaborators.
According to an interview Sheeran gave to Charlamagne tha God, he started working on his new album, called No.6 Collaborations Project, after adding Beyoncé and Andrea Bocelli to a remix of “Perfect.”
“Throughout the year, any time I met anyone that I’d been a fan of or owned an album, it was the first time I was able to be like, let’s get in the studio,” Sheeran revealed. “For me, this is a compilation album of artists that I am a fan of, that I have made music with. I wouldn’t call it a mixtape,” he continued.
Sheeran also told Charlamagne that called up his friends and artists of whom he is a fan, including Justin Bieber and Bruno Mars, and added them to the roster of collaborators for the project. The rumored list of collaborators runs the gamut from Adele to Travis Scott, but Sheeran revealed that the very first idea he had for the compilation album came from one iconic early-aughts pop-culture moment: “Lady Marmalade.”
Inspired by the song recorded by Christina Aguilera, Mya, Lil Kim, and Pink (a track which, by the way, was already a cover of Labelle‘s 1974 version, which was a cover of the Eleventh Hour’s original) for the Moulin Rouge! soundtrack, Sheeran told Charlamagne that the song gave him a “silly idea” to create his own version. “I was like, aw, you could get Bruno, Bieber, and me on a record. How fun would that be?” he quipped.
And while the history of that 2001 recording of “Lady Marmalade” isn’t lacking in the drama department (although Aguilera and Pink have apparently buried the hatchet some 18 years later after allegedly feuding during the initial recording), it seems that there should be no beef between the trio of Mars, Bieber, and Sheeran should they actually decide to shake the table with their own Mr. Marmalade.
In any case, we’re still holding out hope that Calvin Harris will release a “volume two” follow-up to his 2017 compilation album, just to put an end to any more ill-advised attempts at replicating a song that no one should be trying to cover.