The Story of... 'Perfect' by Ed Sheeran

31 August 2022, 11:06

Ed Sheeran's 'Perfect' music video
Ed Sheeran's 'Perfect' music video. Picture: Asylum/Atlantic

By Tom Eames

Ed Sheeran is the master of writing modern pop ballads, and 'Perfect' is a classic example.

The British singer-songwriter's number one smash was voted your favourite song ever in Smooth's All Time Top 500 poll for 2018, a feat which Ed Sheeran said he was "over the moon" with.

But what is the song about? What inspired the lyrics? Where was its snowy music video filmed? Find out all the history of the modern classic below.

  1. Who wrote 'Perfect'?

    Ed Sheeran interview: New Elton John song, Christmas plans and more!

    The song is written by Ed Sheeran, and was the first he penned for his third album Divide.

  2. What inspired the song?

    Ed Sheeran and wife Cherry
    Ed Sheeran and wife Cherry. Picture: Getty

    The song is a romantic ballad written about Ed's then-girlfriend (now wife) Cherry Seaborn, whom he knew from school and reconnected with when she was working in New York.

    They have been in a relationship since July 2015, and they announced their engagement in January 2018.

    Ed revealed that the inspiration for the lyrics came after visiting singer James Blunt's house in Ibiza, where the two singers had listened to rapper Future's music at 6am.

    He said: "Barefoot on the grass, dancing to our favourite song, which happened to be Future's 'March Madness'... I booked the studio for the day, and I had that and I was like, right, let me just flesh that out. And the song happened and was sort of finished that day. I knew it was special."

  3. Ed wanted to out-do 'Thinking Out Loud'

    Ed has said that he needed to write 'the best love song of his career' with 'Perfect'.

    He said: "I need to do it 100% me, so everyone will listen to that will be like, 'Ah! He can actually do it!' ... I wanted to beat 'Thinking Out Loud', 'cause I know that song was going to define me."

  4. Ed's brother features on the song

    Ed produced the song himself with help from Will Hicks, and strings orchestration from his brother Matthew Sheeran.

    This marked the first time the brothers had collaborated on a song, as it was the final wish of their grandmother to see the brothers working together before she died.

  5. How did it perform in the charts?

    Ed Sheeran - Perfect (Official Music Video)

    When Divide was released, all 16 tracks entered the UK top 20 singles chart (before streaming rules were changed), with 'Perfect' peaking at number 4. It also reached number 18 in the States.

    In December 2018, Ed released a new version called 'Perfect Duet' with Beyoncé, and this helped the song climb back up the charts, reaching number 1 in the UK and the US.

    It's a really weird thing, it was just me and her and an engineer, which was very cool. To be one-on-one with someone you respect that much and be able to craft the song the way you envision without input from anybody else... that's rare. When there are two people coming together like that, everyone has an opinion, you know?

    - Ed Sheeran

    He then teamed up with opera singer Andrea Bocelli. Titled 'Perfect Symphony', this orchestral version was released later in December 2017, keeping it at number one.

    After a Christmassy music video was released (filmed on the ski slopes in Hintertux, Austria alongside actress Zoey Deutch), the song kept hold of the number one spot in the UK for Christmas, beating off competition from Wham!'s 'Last Christmas' and... himself (as a duet with Eminem on the track 'River').

    It has since topped charts in 18 countries in total.

    I came up with the idea for the video because I like Christmas. There's not enough Christmas music videos out nowadays. So yeah, I wanted snow and romance. The song's cheesy anyway and I thought we might as well go like full-blown Swiss cheese on it.

    - Ed Sheeran