In the cover story for the March issue of British GQ, Sheeran opens up about the deep bond he and his 27-year-old bestie share.
“There’s an underdog element to it,” Sheeran, 25, said. “Taylor was never the popular kid in school. I was never the popular kid in school. Then you get to the point when you become the most popular kid in school – and we both take it a bit too far.”
“She wants to be the biggest female artist in the world and I want to be the biggest male artist in the world,” he continued. “It also comes from always being told that you can’t do something and being like, ‘F— you. I can.’ “
He may take it too far sometimes, but that doesn’t stop Sheeran from wanting to succeed. He’s hoping his third album, ÷ (pronounced “Divide”), will help him break records.
“Adele is the one person who’s sold more records than me in the past 10 years,” he said. “She’s the only person I need to sell more records than. That’s a big f—— feat because her last album sold $20 million. But if I don’t set her as the benchmark then I’m selling myself short.”
“In a 100m sprint to get a No. 1 album, I just know I’m going to win,” he added. “I don’t care who’s doing what. I just know I’m going to win. I’m going to make sure I come first.”
Sheeran is used to winning, that’s for sure. His second studio album, x (read as “multiply”) hit No. 1 in the U.S. and U.K. — taking home the Brit Award for Album of the Year and earning him two 2016 Grammy Awards for its single “Thinking Out Loud.”
Coincidentally, he first found fame in the states alongside Swift — appearing on her fourth studio album, 2012’s Red. He’d spend much of 2013 opening for the “Shake It Off” singer at her Red Tour, playing tracks off his debut album + (read as “plus”). Its hit single, “The A Team,” even earned him a 2013 Grammy nomination for Song of the Year.
See the full shoot in the March issue of British GQ, available on digital download now or on newsstands Feb. 2.