Songs you probably didn't know Ed Sheeran wrote for other popular artists

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ed sheeran and shawn mendes
Shawn Mendes performs "Mercy" with Ed Sheeran during the Illuminate Tour at Barclays Center of Brooklyn on August 16, 2017. Taylor Hill/Getty Images
  • Ed Sheeran has had massive success as a solo artist.

  • But he's also the mastermind behind some of your favorite songs by other artists.

  • Here are all the tracks you'd probably be surprised to learn were penned by the British singer.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Sheeran wrote the track "Make It Right," which ended up on BTS' sixth EP.

BTS
"Make It Right" is the fourth track on BTS' EP "Map of the Soul: Persona." Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

"I actually wrote a song that I think they might be messing with. I heard this the other day, but I don't know. I really like BTS, though. I think they're great," Sheeran told British website Heatworld in November 2018.

Then, on December 5, 2018, SUGA of BTS tweeted out a mysterious photo of him editing music, which had the English singer tagged in the caption.

The aforementioned song made it on the group's award-winning 2019 EP, "Map of the Soul: Persona" — positioned as the fourth track titled "Make It Right."

Sheeran cowrote Jessie Ware's "Say You Love Me," and even added backing vocals.

jessie ware
"Say You Love Me" is the fourth track on Jessie Ware's second studio album "Tough Love." CBS Photo Archive/via Getty Images

"Say You Love Me" is a track that I didn't think was about me, but now that I listen to it, it now completely reminds me of the feeling when my husband and me broke up," Ware told Guardian Music in a 2014 interview.

Ware met Sheeran through the songwriter's cousin and the two have known each other for quite some time, however, they've rarely worked together in a studio.

"With Ed Sheeran, I didn't know what to expect. I thought that we were going to hopefully write a really beautiful song and tell a good story," she said.

Benny Blanco, a record producer that has worked with Ware before and is a friend of Sheeran's, was also an active participant in this project.

While Ware preferred her music to be amplified, Blanco wanted to pull back the layers of the song, tone down the drums, and have the singer's voice be center stage — a new technique that was scary for her, she told the publication.

You can also hear Sheeran's voice on the outro, along with the voices of Blanco's dad and brother, chanting: "Cause I don't wanna fall in love / If you don't wanna try / But all that I've been thinking of / Is maybe that you might."

Sheeran helped pen Benny Blanco's debut song as a lead artist, "Eastside."

Musician Benny Blanco
Benny Blanco released "Eastside" on July 12, 2018. Andrew Kelly/Getty Images

Once again, Sheeran joined forces with his close friend Blanco, to help the record producer release his first song as a lead artist.

Khalid, Halsey, and Happy Perez were also writers on the pop song.

Blanco broke down the process of making the song in an interview for Billboard, saying that he procured an old demo he'd written with Sheeran, had Khalid send over his vocals from Denmark, and added Halsey's vocals.

Before long "Eastside" was making its way into the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100.

Sheeran wrote "Fallin' All in You" in a higher octave than Shawn Mendes was originally comfortable singing.

Shawn Mendes
"Fallin' All in You" is the second track on Shawn Mendes' self-titled third studio album. Drew Gurian/Invision/AP

Shawn Mendes is a longtime fan of Sheeran's and when he finally got the chance to collaborate with the songsmith, his own artistry was challenged for the better.

Mendes talked about the collaboration in a 2018 interview with Apple Music, saying that Sheeran made the hook of "Fallin' All in You" in falsetto, although the now 22-year-old pop star had little experience singing high notes back then.

It took Mendes four months until he felt comfortable singing the melody.

Sheeran and Hilary Duff hopped into the booth at midnight to record "Tattoo."

Hilary Duff
"Tattoo" is the 10th track on Hilary Duff's fifth studio album "Breathe In. Breathe Out." Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

Hilary Duff returned to the music scene with her 2015 album "Breathe In. Breathe Out." Sheeran helped produce the 10th track, "Tattoo," and made sure to leave his mark on the project.

Unlike a lot of collaborations amongst musicians, Sheeran stepped into the booth with Duff to provide background vocals and such, the former Disney star told MTV News.

"I was really intimidated because, normally, they don't do that, so I kept looking up and being like, 'You're Ed Sheeran and I'm singing the song that you wrote and I want to do right by it,'" she told the publication.

In order to work in the studio together, they had to navigate scheduling conflicts and meet in the middle of the night.

"He had been doing a promo day in L.A. and he's like, 'I know you have a 2-year-old, but could you please come and record at midnight?'" Duff said.

"I was like, 'I've already been in bed for three hours by midnight on most nights,' but of course for him I did, and I'm such a huge fan — he's so talented."

Sheeran, who cowrote Justin Bieber's "Love Yourself," said it was originally titled "F--- Yourself."

Justin Bieber Getty Images
"Love Yourself" is the fifth track on Justin Bieber's fourth studio album "Purpose." Mike Rosenthal/Getty Images

"Love Yourself" is one of Justin Bieber's biggest songs.

In a 2017 interview on The Howard Stern Show, Sheeran told the host that the original lyrics to "Love Yourself" are actually, "If you like the way you look that much, oh baby, you should go and f--- yourself."

However, in a 2019 interview with Capital FM, Blanco revealed that he urged Sheeran to rename the cheeky song to "Love Yourself."

"Certain music needs it, but it's super corny to me in some songs – in pop songs – when there's cursing," he said.

Sheeran forgot he wrote the No.1 song, "Cold Water."

diplo november 2019
Major Lazer released "Cold Water" on July 22, 2016. Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

The folk-pop singer worked with Bieber once more for the 2016 record "Cold Water."

Diplo was head of this project for his group Major Lazer and recruited Bieber and MØ for vocals.

Though, in a 2017 Capital FM interview, Sheeran explained that after receiving various emails from the American DJ asking for permission to use his song, he replied, "Mate, I don't know what you're talking about."

In addition to confessing he forgot all about the well-liked song he'd written, Sheeran further revealed that the original version of "Cold Water" was a lot slower.

"The song I did was really, really slow and then suddenly they sped it up and made it a thing. So, I was very pleasantly surprised that that came out and was a No. 1 because I didn't remember writing it," he said.

Sheeran worked with Anne-Marie on "2002," a nostalgic song about the 2000s.

Anne-Marie
Anne-Marie released her single "2002" on April 19, 2018. Tim P. Whitby/Stringer via Getty Images

Anne-Marie told the New York Post that she and Sheeran met in Paris through mutual friends circa 2010. And ever since, the pair have been working together – whether it was her opening up for Sheeran on his 2018 tour or it was harmonizing in the studio together.

"2002" was a single from Anne-Marie's debut album, "Speak Your Mind," which was released in April 2018.

The song makes references to popular tracks throughout history. A standout lyric is: "Oops, I got 99 problems singing bye, bye, bye / Hold up, if you wanna take a ride with me / Better hit me baby, one more time."

DJ Snake released "A Different Way," featuring Lauv, on September 21, 2017.

DJ SNAKE
DJ Snake released "A Different Way" on September 21, 2017. Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Snake recruited the likes of Sheeran, multi-award-winning producer Steve Mac, and Irish record producer Johnny McDaid to help him make "A Different Way."

"Your Song" was a last-minute project between Rita Ora and Sheeran.

rita ora
Rita Ora released her single "Your Song" on May 26, 2017. Jason Merritt/Getty Images for MTV

"Ed and I have been friends since our teens. It's brilliant to have the opportunity to collaborate with him for my first single. We definitely click creatively," the singer told Rolling Stone in May 2017.

While "Your Song" was the first single to be released from her sophomore album "Phoenix," it was actually the last one to be recorded.

"It was amazing. It happened so randomly because it was really the last song I recorded for my album. I'd been doing my album for about nine months now, back in London, and we were talking about me going to watch his show, and I was like, 'You know, I've got to finish this record,'" Ora told Elvis Duran about working with Sheeran.

"I said, 'Look, I've got my mates on it, I've got my friends on it. I'd really love you to kind of be involved, but I know you're on a worldwide tour right now, so whatever, maybe next time. And he said, 'Funny you say that. I just wrote this.'"

"Thursday" was written as a result of Sheeran and Jess Glynne sharing "the same insecurities."

jess glynne
"Thursday" is the fourth track on Jess Glynne's sophomore album "Always in Between." Samir Hussein/Getty Images

"We had this long chat about life and we spoke about the highs and lows of being famous and doing the job that we do," the singer told Billboard in 2019 about working with Sheeran.

"It was really reassuring talking to him, and knowing that he suffers from the same insecurities and understands exactly how the pressure gets to you at times," she added.

Harry Styles asked Sheeran for songs to put on One Direction's debut album "Up All Night" and they ended up with the ballad "Moments."

one direction
One Direction performs during a BBC charity concert in 2011. Ian West/PA Images via Getty Images

"That wasn't a calculated move at all. I'm just really good friends with Harry from One Direction," Sheeran told Watch Mojo about their collaboration.

"We just used to hang out and he said, 'We're putting together our album. We're fans of your music. Can you put forward any songs?' And I had a demo CD of loads of tunes that I was trying to get placed, so I gave it to them and then it went on their album," he said.

"Little Things" by One Direction contains one of Sheeran's "favorite lines that he's ever written in a song."

One Direction
Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne, and Harry Styles. Christopher Polk/Getty Images for Clear Channel

"It's got one of my favorite lines that I've ever written in a song," Sheeran told Capital FM that he loves the line in which Styles sings "'I know you never like the sound of your voice on tape / You never like to know how much you weigh / You still have to squeeze into your jeans but you're perfect to me.'"

Sheeran also wrote "18" for One Direction.

one direction
One Direction released "18" alongside their fourth studio album "Four" on November 17, 2014. Frazer Harrison/AMA2013/FilmMagic/Getty

"18" was a unique experience for Sheeran because it was the first song he had specifically written for One Direction, instead of for himself.

"I got a text today saying it's definitely on the album. I wrote it in a hotel room in Cologne and I wrote it specifically for them," Sheeran said in a 2014 interview with Capital FM.

"It's the first time I've done that, so it's a One Direction song rather than a 'me' song that they record. It's kind of a little bit of everything, it is ballad-y but it is up-tempo at the same time. I wrote it by myself and I first played it to Simon Cowell and he really liked it and then they all heard it and vocalled it."

Sheeran sought out Liam Payne to record trap-infused pop ditty "Strip That Down."

Liam Payne
Liam Payne released "Strip That Down" on May 19, 2017. Andrea Raffin/Shutterstock

"I was in L.A. at my house. I was in the gym. We were feeling hot. And I got a call and they were like, 'Ed Sheeran's in the studio writing this song. It's about you, it's for you, so come down and have a listen,' so I was like 'Cool, I'm straight in,'" Payne told SiriusXM.

"I went in with Steve Mac and within 30 minutes we'd finished it off, polished it off. It's great collaborating when you get to collaborate with people like Sheeran."

Sheeran wrote "Summer on You" for the boy band PRETTYMUCH.

PRETTYMUCH
PRETTYMUCH released "Summer on You" on June 21, 2018. Paras Griffin/Getty Images

Writing for another boy band formed by Simon Cowell, Sheeran co-penned a summery tune for the Canadian fivesome.

Sheeran penned Why Don't We's "Trust Fund Baby."

Why Don't We
Why Don't We released "Trust Fund Baby" on February 1, 2018. Darren McCollester/Stringer/via Getty Images

"He's the man. Obviously, he's killing it in the whole music world. He's the king of pop, singing, songwriting," Corbyn Besson of Why Don't We said in an interview with 98.8 Kiss FM.

"And we've grown up listening to him since the beginning of our band. We always say in interviews he's one of our biggest inspirations collectively, so to have him write a song for us was an honor," he added.

Sheeran cowrote the song "Woman Like Me" for Little Mix.

little mix
Little Mix released their single "Woman Like Me" on October 12, 2018. John Phillips/Getty Images

Sheeran teamed up with Glynne, again, to write "Woman Like Me" for the girl group.

Sheeran is credited as a cowriter on Zara Larsson's second studio album "So Good."

Zara Larsson attends the 2019 MTV Video Music Awards
Zara Larsson released her second studio album "So Good" on March 17, 2017. Kevin Mazur/WireImage via Getty Images

Sheeran supported the Swedish singer in the songwriting process for "Don't Let Me Be Yours," the ninth track on her second studio album, "So Good."

"Parallel Line," cowritten by Sheeran, "felt like home right away" to Keith Urban.

keith urban
Keith Urban released "Parallel Line" as a single on January 18, 2018. John Shearer/Getty Images

"I got sent it and loved it. It felt like home right away. It's just such a beautiful, classic melody," the country singer spoke about the Sheeran-penned song in a behind-the-scenes video.

"People always think, you know, 'You're a guitar player so you're supposed to shred some sort of solo,' but I'm always in service of the song, and the electric guitar line, which Ed came up with, is a really great lick. And there's times you just don't have to reinvent the wheel. If it's right, it's right," he added.

"Love Shine Down" was the first-ever Sheeran-penned single Olly Murs released.

olly murs 1
Olly Murs released "Love Shine Down" as a single on November 23, 2010. Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

"Love Shine Down " is the 10th track on Murs' self-titled debut album.

Sheeran cowrote "Make Me Better" with musical veteran James Blunt.

james blunt
James Blunt released his fifth studio album "The Afterlove" on March 24, 2017. Robb Cohen/Invision/AP

"He's genuinely down to earth and a super nice dude. 'Make Me Better' is a beautiful song and I wouldn't have got near to writing it without his help, so I'm very grateful, and the people the song is about are very grateful too," Blunt told an Australian news site in 2017.

Sheeran also helped write the track, "Time of Our Lives," which succeeds "Make Me Better" on Blunt's fifth studio album, "The Afterlove."

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