The 25-year-old singer released his new songs Castle On The Hill and Shape Of You at 5am on Friday morning (06Jan17), and co-hosted the Radio 1 Breakfast Show with Scott Mills shortly afterwards.

Recalling the process of writing the tracks, Ed revealed that quite a few people heard the songs before they were ready - thanks to his love of drinking.

"The funny thing is while I have music waiting to be released I usually end up playing it to random people," he laughed, admitting he had initially intended to release the songs last September (16), before deciding to wait for a quieter period in the music industry.

"Normally when I've been out drinking I'll be like, 'Hey mate do you want to hear my new song?' that happens a lot!"

Both songs are taken from Ed's upcoming album ÷ (Divide). Ed also admitted that he initially penned Shape of You with Rihanna in mind, but he lost confidence about getting the Bajan beauty to sing the track.

"But then I was singing some of the lyrics and was like Rihanna is not going to sing these words so kept it to myself," he said.

The tracks are something of a new sound for the British singer, but they have already been given the seal of approval by a host of his celebrity pals, including Courteney Cox, Shawn Mendes and Ryan Seacrest.

Ed was pictured shooting the video for Castle On The Hill last year (16) alongside a ginger-haired lookalike, and enlisted people from his former high school as the cast.

"The main guy who looks just like me is weirdly from my sixth form," he smiled. He also shot it in Suffolk, describing the track as "a love song" for the county.