Billboard’s Kevan Kenney caught up with Ed Sheeran at iHeartRadio’s Z100 Jingle Ball in New York City Friday night (Dec. 8) to find out just how that collaboration on the song “River” came to be.


“I sound like such a c— name-dropping, but I was traveling Australia and Russell Crowe has a house, this big farm. I get an email from Paul Rosenberg, Eminem’s manager, and he said, ‘We’re gonna start putting the album together, send any ideas,’ So I used the studio at Russell’s house… played the drums on it, and then played the guitar, and then recorded the thing and wrote the chorus and did the piano on it, and then sent it off and then didn’t hear anything back. This was like March 2016.”


It wasn’t until May 2017, while Sheeran was in Mexico, when he heard from a friend of his who frequently produces for Eminem who said that he played some drums for the song, adding that Eminem had already recorded his verses for it.


Sheeran says that he got to meet Eminem in Detroit when he played there, describing the rapper as “such a sweet, talented guy,” adding that the experience was “a door that I thought was closed and just opened randomly.”