Jeremy Loops wrote a song with Ed Sheeran. The music star is “really down-to-earth,” enthuses the South African in an interview.

Jeremy Loops (38) is not only a singer-songwriter, but also an environmental activist. On his tours, for example, he works hard to offset his carbon emissions. In an interview with the news agency spot on news, he gives some tips on how to make your own life more sustainable. He also talks about his collaboration with Ed Sheeran (31), with whom he wrote the song “Better Together”. “He’s just such a cool, welcoming, kind and considerate person,” says Loops of the superstar. The song can be found on the album Heard You Got Love, which the South African released on Friday (July 8).

The topic of environmental protection is very important to you. Tours and festivals are often criticized for not being sustainable enough. What do you think needs to change?

Jeremy Loops: Travel itself needs improvement. Sustainability is a universal issue and not just limited to our industry. I don’t have any answers as to how our industry itself can solve the problem, but I think about it a lot and I know that many of my colleagues are doing the same.

You’ve worked hard to offset the carbon emissions of your tours. How did you do that?

Loops: I co-founded a tree planting organization that has planted over 100,000 trees and educated thousands of people about sustainability. We look at it holistically – I can do X to balance Y. But how can we bring about change at scale? This also works through community.

What tips do you have for making your own life more sustainable?

Loops: Eat well. Drive as little as possible. Use alternative energies. Just try! I’m by no means infallible, but if you have the intention, you can slowly and steadily make your life more sustainable. That’s great.

You are coming to Germany on your tour in September. What do you associate with the German fans?

Loops: I totally love Germany! I love the live music culture! I love how the people at the shows are living in the moment. At least three of my top ten favorite shows have taken place in Germany. I’m already excited just thinking about going there again.

Her mother is from Switzerland. How often are you there? Do you still have connections there?

Loops: My father’s family has already passed away, but my mother’s entire family lives in Switzerland. Only my parents, my two sisters and I still live in South Africa. I see the Swiss family from time to time, at least two or three times a year. It’s always wonderful to come there. They live in a small place called Aarau and are always happy to welcome me, my siblings or my band. It is great.

I could imagine that many men and women envy your great hair. Do you have a special hair care routine for your curls?

Loops: I didn’t expect this question. (laughs) Would it upset you to know that I don’t actually have a special routine? I wash my hair the right frequency with products I like, but there’s no magic formula. This mane on my head is really genetic. I guess that’s an even more disappointing answer than saying I’m doing something special with it, right? (laughs)

Her new album “Heard You Got Love” was created between her daily dives in the sea. What discoveries have you already made in the sea?

Loops: What I’ve learned most about the sea is the awe and fear of being out there all alone. The sea is like a metaphor for life – if you are really skilled you can tame the sea and shape it to your will, but you must always respect the sea. Because if you’re not careful, it can devour you. It’s remarkable out there.

To what extent does the sea inspire you to write new songs?

Loops: The sea reminds me how small we really are in the frame and in the vastness of the world and it’s a liberating experience. It’s liberating to know that you’re not as important as you think you are. It helps us tame our ego. And in a way, it helps to remind us that we are all here as human beings to support one another. That release, that death of the ego, makes it so much easier to get clarity about the songwriting.

The song “This Town” with Ladysmith Black Mambazo reflects your home country South Africa for many of your fans. What meaning does the song have for you?

Loops: There is a lyric in “This Town” that says “There’s nothing in my name unless I make it”. I think that gets to the heart of the message for me and my country. South Africans are a resilient people, but no matter what we go through, no one comes to save us. Only we can save and support each other. And this urge to make our own name and find our own way is really inspiring.

You wrote the song “Better Together” with Ed Sheeran. How did you meet and how did the collaboration come about?

Loops: I met Ed when he was playing stadium shows in South Africa on his Divide tour. He invited me to have a drink with him at his after party and we hit it off really well. He suggested that we should write songs together. Since he’s obviously a superstar who can work with anyone, that has to be taken with a pinch of salt. But he was sincere, we got together and wrote “Better Together”. I am grateful for that.

Ed Sheeran is one of the absolute superstars, but is often described as a very down-to-earth person. How did you experience him?

Loops: You know, people often say, “Oh, this famous person is humble or super cool,” but then you meet them and you see that it’s all just an act. As if being cool was just fake. Ed Sheeran, on the other hand, is really down to earth. He’s just such a cool, welcoming, kind, and considerate person. That’s an incredible trait considering the amount of attention he gets. I have a lot of respect for it and I think I took a lot of encouragement from it too. You can become a global superstar and still be yourself. That’s great.

Their songs are bursting with joie de vivre. Where do you get this energy from?

Loops: Life is hard! Life is a challenge. Life is often brutal. You know, the famous philosopher Thomas Hobbes said that life is “gross, short and brutal,” and as bleak as that view of humanity is, I think we all experience it to some degree. I could make music about how hard life is, but why would I do that? Making happy, hopeful music in the face of difficult experiences is badass! It is protest by not continuing to glorify difficulties. That’s my approach. You can have joy, and if you can’t find it easily because everyone only tells bad news, then you can find it in my music.