Ed Sheeran isn't "competitive" anymore.

Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran

The 'Shivers' singer - who releases his new studio album, 'Equals', on Friday (29.10.21) - used to feel like he had to prove his critics wrong, but after record-breaking success, the 30-year-old Grammy-winner is "way more relaxed" about the numbers side of the music business and is not out to beat his peers.

Speaking to The Sun newspaper's Bizarre column, Ed said: “I just hope people ­listen to the album – give it one go.

“If you don’t like it don’t listen again, but just play it once, all the way through. And that Adele song is fantastic – I haven’t heard the album but I’m sure it’s going to be the biggest of the year.

“I think at the moment, from the UK, there’s probably me, Adele, Coldplay, and I’d put Harry Styles in there too at a certain level in the industry right now in terms of record sales reach. Harry’s only had two records so far but his numbers are huge already.

“I was very competitive before, but I’ve found my niche and my fanbase. I’ve got my music out to as many people as I can, and people have worked out who they like, and there’s space for everyone. People can buy my album and Adele’s album, or whoever else.

“I was definitely competitive at the beginning of my career, and I think that came from so many people who doubted that I could do it."

The flame-haired pop superstar recently grabbed lunch with Coldplay's Chris Martin, and they discussed how they both feel like they are at a stage in their careers when they can just "enjoy it" and not feel the need to "prove a point".

The 'Castle on the Hill' hitmaker added: “I went for lunch with Chris Martin the day after their gig at Shepherd’s Bush Empire last week, and he said there’s something similar there in him too. He had a tough time at school too and he’s spent his life trying to prove something. But you do reach a point where that point is proven, and you need to just enjoy it.

“I was competitive in 2017 when I was trying to make 'Divide' the biggest album of the year, and 'Shape of You' do what it did, but now I’m way more relaxed about it all. I’ve entered into a different phase.

“At the beginning of my career I felt like nobody rated me – I’d release an album and it’d get ­savaged by critics. I’ve never been cool, I’ve not been one of the cool kids, but now because I’ve been in it for 10 years you oddly earn your place over time.”