Both Sia and Ed Sheeran have announced single drops via twitter today. Both singles will come out this Friday. For Sheeran, it is the last single on an album that made him a household name in the USA. For Sia, it is the first single on a followup to an album that made her a household name in the USA. For both, expectations run high.
Sia has actually been a force in the pop world for years. But, until “Chandelier,” her hits had all been as a songwriter of hits like Rihanna’s “Diamonds” and Beyonce’s “Pretty Hurts.” See, for example, this list of some of Sia’s more popular writing credits.
But then “Chandelier” smashed through the pop radio barrier and pulled Sia into the US Billboard Top 10. The music video has garnered almost 900 million views, making it one of the 15 most-viewed videos on youtube ever. Follow-up “Elastic Heart” reached #17, and her album, 1000 Forms of Fear debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200.
See a teaser for Sia’s hotly anticipated new single here.
Ed Sheeran released a full nine EPs as an indie artist before he was finally signed to a major label in 2011. Then, his debut single, “The A Team” debuted at #3 in the UK and became a worldwide success, reaching #2 in Australia, #3 in New Zealand, #9 in Germany, and #16 in the USA. After scoring two more UK Top 5s and one Top 10, Sheeran closed out the album with a final two Top 25 hits. In the US, however, only “Lego House” charted, climbing only to #42. [Note, however, that “Give Me Love” peaked at #17 on the US Bubbling Under Hot 100 Chart]. To date, Sheeran’s first major label album, +, has sold almost 2 million copies in the UK, and 1.1 million in the US (which is a much larger music market).
Sheeran was featured on The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, for the song “I See Fire.” “Fire” peaked at #13 in the UK, and #1 in New Zealand, #10 in Australia, and #21 in Canada, but again, it failed to chart in the USA.
With Sheeran’s second studio album, he has exploded from a high-end British act to a global superstar. Lead single, “Sing” gave Sheeran his first ever U.K. #1, and it managed to climb to #13 on the US chart, besting his prior #16 peak with debut single “The A Team.” Then “Don’t” gave Sheeran his first US Top 10. “Thinking Out Loud” gave him a second. And, just last week, “Photograph” gave him a third. “Thinking Out Loud” actually climbed to #2 on the US Hot 100 where it sat for eight consecutive weeks behind Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars’s massive single, “Uptown Funk.” It actually topped the Pop Songs radio airplay chart, as well as Adult Pop and Adult Contemporary. All four singles have reached the Top 10 on Billboard’s Radio Songs airplay chart. Current single “Photograph” spends a second week at #2 on radio songs this week, albeit with a large deficit behind current #1, The Weeknd’s “Can’t Feel My Face.”
How many artists have scored three (US) top ten hits off a single album since last summer? Not very many. Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith, Ariana Grande, Iggy Azalea, Taylor Swift, and The Weeknd have all done it, but I can’t think of anyone else off the top of my head.
Do you think Ed Sheeran and Sia deserve their success? are you excited for their new singles? Comment below.