HE’S long been one of the shrewdest men in the music business, but Ed Sheeran clearly isn’t resting on his laurels.
The hit supremo has been working on new music during lockdown, raising fans hopes he may have tunes out later this year.
And I can reveal he has launched a new business venture with pal Johnny McDaid – guitarist in Snow Patrol and boyfriend of actress Courtney Cox.
The duo have had huge success whenever they have written together, including dozens of songs for Ed’s albums X and Divide, and tracks for other stars including Alicia Keys, Shawn Mendes and Rudimental
With credits like that already under their belts, McShaid Limited — you can see what they did there — already has the makings of a major operation.
Official paperwork filed just before Christmas describes the business as “artistic creation,” but “massive hit factory soon to be worth millions” would be more apt.
A source said: “Ed and Johnny are great friends, but this seems to suggest they are starting to focus their songwriting efforts together as a proper business as well as something they love.
“They’ve both had massive success independently and as a duo, so it makes sense to put things in place to properly handle that revenue.”
Ed had been on hiatus from the limelight for most of last year after a gruelling three-year world tour.
In August, his wife Cherry gave birth to their daughter Lyra Antarctica Seaborn.
Ed has since slowly got back into work — releasing standalone single Afterglow.
And sources say that while the song is not the first release of a new album campaign, Ed is back writing and recording at his home studio with a view to a new collection of songs.
What a music machine.
Jen’s looking grey-t
IT’S not just Courteney’s husband making waves in business – her best pal and Friends co-star Jennifer Aniston was dressed for the boardroom yesterday.
The actress is hard at work on the second series of Apple TV+ drama The Morning Show, with co-star Reese Witherspoon.
Jen – complete with newly dyed hair and wearing a face visor – looked ready for action in a grey skirt suit.
Filming for the new series started in February 2020, but had to be halted the following month due to the pandemic.
It resumed in October.
Given Jen earned a ridiculous £1.4million per episode for the first run and is likely getting even more this time, she must be thrilled to be back.
Paris is suited and bootyed
PARIS Hilton got a Saweetie deal when the US rapper jumped on board a shoot.
They were pictured in Juicy Couture’s tracksuits for a Valentine’s-themed job.
Heiress Paris is a big fan of the velour two-pieces and wore a bright-pink version, while Saweetie went for a paler set.
The pals also filmed themselves driving around in Saweetie’s blue Bentley – a present from her boyfriend Quavo – which they posed on top of.
She posted one video on Instagram and told her fans: “That custom Juicy about to sit on my juicy!”
As well as dancing on the seats of the £140,000 motor, the pair posed with their bums on the windscreen.
Who said class was dead?
THEY’VE been going strong for a decade but Bastille admit cracks have started to form in recent years.
Tensions between bandmates and with management appeared when the busy group wanted to squeeze in a tour with an orchestra.
It took place at the start of 2020, not long after their third album Doom Days was released.
In their new Amazon Prime Video documentary ReOrchestrated, out this week, keyboard player Kyle Simmons moaned: “Get together an entire tour’s worth of the orchestral thing?
“That’s going to be a f-load to learn right at the top of the year before we go into the (album) campaign, because we have to learn all the orchestral stuff.”
But after being warned against it by their booking agent, Kyle ranted: “Them saying, ‘This isn’t going to make you any money’ . . . it’s like, ‘OK, well then, I’ll stop being in a band and become a stockbroker’. As a concept, I love it. It was so much fing work. For everyone.”
Lead singer Dan Smith added: “I wanted to do something that felt different and felt real. Everyone was like, ‘Why the f* would you want to do that? You have a third album to be making’.
“I feel like anything worth doing has always got to have a bit of stress involved, a bit of jeopardy, blood, sweat and tears – the usual cliches.”
Vulnerable moments include Kyle revealing he suffers from imposter syndrome, while Dan admitted boozing to get him through some gigs in the early years.
Dan said: “As a young teenager I was quite big. Growing up, kids are mean. I’ve always been physically self-conscious so it’s f*ing weird to have pursued this thing. I think that’s part of the tension of this.”
If they’ve made it this far, the sky’s the limit.
Britney: I try to be normal
BRITNEY Spears has insisted the public knows “nothing” about what’s really going on behind the scenes in her life.
Documentary Framing Britney Spears aired in the US at the weekend and examined the difficult times in her career.
It also highlighted the #FreeBritney movement – fighting to free her from the controversial legal decision that has given the singer’s dad Jamie control over all aspects of her life since her 2007 breakdown.
The Gimme More star tweeted: “I’ll always love being on stage . . . but I am taking the time to learn and be a normal person . . . I love simply enjoying the basics of everyday life!!!!
“Each person has their story and their take on other people’s stories!!!! We all have so many different, bright, beautiful lives!!!
“Remember, no matter what we think we know about a person’s life, it is nothing compared to the actual person living behind the lens!!!!!”
US sources yesterday said she had been left emotional after watching the film and is now working on her own documentary about her life, with a top female filmmaker.
After years of silence, it’s about time she had the opportunity to set the record straight.
Follow the yellow brick road
HELLO, yellow brick road: The Wizard Of Oz is in line for a remake.
Nicole Kassell, who helmed fantasy movie The Woodsman, will direct, more than 80 years on from the landmark musical version starring Judy Garland.
She said: “The original themes – the quest for courage, love, wisdom and home – feel more timely and urgent than ever.”
Those ruby slippers are some very big shoes to fill.
Ri-think on label
RIHANNA has some bad news to deliver – but I suspect it will make her fans beam from ear to ear.
She has shut down her high-fashion label Fenty less than two years after it launched.
But while Rihanna might be gutted, it has sparked hopes she may finally get back into the studio and do what she does best – being a pop star.
She only needs to look at what happened to Victoria Beckham, who had a much bigger career in pop as part of the Spice Girls than with her fashion business.
She joined forces with luxury goods group LVMH for the clothes collection, which launched in spring 2019.
But fashion industry experts instantly said the label’s prices would be too steep for her young fanbase.
Instead, she’s decided to put more energy into her Savage X Fenty lingerie as well as cosmetics lines Fenty Beauty and Fenty Skin.
Kim: Hand on art
KIM Kardashian has hit back at claims her daughter North, seven, couldn’t have painted an impressive landscape the star shared online.
She said: “I’m seeing op-ed pieces from grown adults breaking down whether or not my child actually painted this! How dare you . . .
“Please stop embarrassing yourselves with the negativity.”
Hall to play for
JAY Z, Kate Bush, Foo Fighters, Tina Turner and Dionne Warwick are among the acts who have been nominated to be inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.
A list of 16 nominees was revealed yesterday but the successful acts won’t be revealed until May, with voting open now.
Artists must have released their debut single or record at least 25 years before the year of the induction.
If Foo Fighters succeed, it will be the second time for frontman Dave Grohl.
Nirvana, which he was the drummer for, were included in 2014.
You old romantic
DANNY Dyer’s wife shouldn’t get her hopes up ahead of February 14 – he’s said he doesn’t “give a f***” about Valentine’s Day.
He also said he has “absolutely nothing in common” with Joanne Mas, whom he married in 2016.
Danny told daughter Dani on their Spotify podcast: “Me and your mother are chalk and cheese. But it keeps it interesting, and I find her fascinating . . . and it works.”
If you say so, Danny.
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