READING, ENGLAND – AUGUST 27: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY) Ed Sheeran performs on the main stage as a special guest of Bring Me The Horizon at Reading Festival day 2 on August 27, 2022 in Reading, England. (Photo by Joseph Okpako/WireImage)

It’s not uncommon for a songwriter to pen a tune and then pass it on to another artist. But when that track becomes a massive hit, the question arises: Why didn’t they keep it for themselves?

Ed Sheeran found himself addressing this scenario with “Love Yourself,” a song he originally wrote and later handed over to Justin Bieber.

During a recent concert at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Florida, Ed Sheeran shared the tale of “Love Yourself” with his audience, laughing as he recounted the experience (as reported by Page Six):

“When I was working on Divide, I was churning out songs on various topics. I came up with this one, and honestly, when I played it to people, the response was lukewarm. But one person said, ‘I like that song. I want to sing it.’ So, I thought, ‘Sure, take it.’ Then, lo and behold, it blew up! Suddenly, everyone was asking me, ‘Why didn’t you keep it?’ And I just said, ‘Because you told me it wasn’t good.’”

With a chuckle, Sheeran explained the silver lining of songwriting: you can always perform it yourself. And so, the crowd at Hard Rock Live was treated to Sheeran’s rendition of “Love Yourself.”

However it transpired, Justin Bieber must be grateful that Sheeran was willing to part with the song. Bieber released it on his 2015 album Purpose, where it soared to the top of the charts, becoming his third consecutive No. 1 single on both the US Billboard Hot 100 and the UK Singles Chart. It also topped the Adult Contemporary chart and earned two Grammy nominations (Song of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance).