March 03, 2017 03:10 PM

James Blunt is back with a whole new sound — and it looks like fans can thank Ed Sheeran for that!

The 43-year-old “Love Me Better” singer stopped by PEOPLE Now Friday, and told hosts Jeremy Parsons and Andrea Boehlke all about how Sheeran taught him to write songs.

“I spent a lot of time in Switzerland, and he wanted to ski. So I took him on a skiing holiday and I was his ski instructor by day. And by night, he taught me how to write songs,” Blunt said.

Don Arnold/WireImage

Of course Blunt had experience writing songs — including his 2005 smash hit “You’re Beautiful.” But it was actually the success of that song and his first album, Back to Bedlam, the hurt him.

“I think for my first album, some of my songs got a lot of criticism after they’d been perhaps overplayed. So I kind of shut down — I stopped writing really open lyrics,” Blunt explained.

Sheeran changed that. “He said, this is your job, let’s write something really open and genuine,” Blunt said. “It was a real education. It took me back to how I started off.”

“That’s why I think there’s an authenticity and confidence back in my songwriting that I needed a young kid to show me,” he added. “He’s a really nice guy. His feet are solidly on the ground, and he’s a phenomenal talent. I really enjoyed working with him.”

Blunt’s new album, The Afterlove, drops March 24.

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