Ed Sheeran knows how to command a crowd. The 22-year-old English singer-songwriter’s concerts are carefully engineered exercises in audience participation, with the floppy-haired redhead conducting his fans like an orchestra. He gets them to sing, applaud and stand stone silent on cue with a degree of control worthy of a great world leader.
How is he able to get them to follow his lead so easily?
“I think it’s years of people not listening to me, and me having to find ways to get attention,” says Sheeran, on the phone last week from Indianapolis. Sheeran, who started playing professionally six years ago, says things didn’t start clicking until two years ago. In that time, he developed an impressive stage show and amassed a sizable number of feverish devotees.
“Kids come to gigs to be entertained,” says Sheeran, who was raised in Framlingham, a town in Suffolk, England. “I think the trick is not to shove something down their throat and make them have to do something. You give them options: ‘You sing on this song, you be quiet on this song, you clap on this song, you do whatever you want on this one.’ Give them options, and they kind of follow it rather than forcing something down their throat or getting them to just clap for the whole gig.”
Sheeran was a marvel at his sold-out Fillmore Detroit concert earlier this year. But he will take on a much a much bigger task when he opens for Taylor Swift at Ford Field on Saturday. He is used to singing a cappella at his shows, dropping the microphone and belting to his audience. He started doing it early on as a way of coping with difficulties if his sound system cut out while he was performing. Then he kept it in his set, even as his shows got bigger, to the point where he was even doing it at 12,000-seat arenas during a recent tour in Australia. But he’ll have to leave that trick behind within the gargantuan confines of Ford Field.
“Stadiums are definitely ones you can’t do a cappella,” Sheeran says. “They’re just too big.”
Sheeran is using his time on Swift’s tour to craft his second album, the follow-up to 2011′s “+.” To date, “+” has sold 544,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan; its lead single, “The A-Team,” which was nominated for Song of the Year at this year’s Grammys, has sold 1.8 million digital copies. Sheeran says the new set is “shaping up good.” He’s written and recorded 40 songs for the album, nine of which he’s sure will make the final cut. He’s aiming for 14 songs and eyeing a December deadline, to hopefully have the album out in February 2014.
“It’s such a long tour, and it’s so spread out, that it’s giving me the opportunity to properly put together the second album,” Sheeran says of the Swift tour, which runs through September. “It doesn’t feel like I’m being rushed in the studio. I get another six months on top of what I’ve already written to put together the record, which I think is important.”
The singer, who wears a pair of glow-in-the-dark Kanye West-designed Air Yeezys on stage, turned a lot of heads when he performed a duet with Elton John on this year’s Grammy telecast. It was just another feather in Sheeran’s cap.
“That was a thrilling experience, and it definitely helped open me up to a wider audience in America,” he says. “My dad was very proud that night. It’s one for the archives.”
Taylor Swift with
Ed Sheeran and Austin Mahone
6:30 p.m. Saturday
2000 Brush, Detroit
Source: Detroit News
Ed Sheeran has been doing quite well for himself during the past couple of years.
But the British singer-songwriter says that being caught up in the Taylor Swift jetstream may well help him join pop music’s real A Team.
“Obviously I’m reaching new people — and a lot more people,” acknowledges Sheeran, 22, who duets with Swift on “Everything Has Changed” from her latest album, “Red,” and is the opener for the North American leg of The Red Tour. That comes after Sheeran’s debut album, “+,” topped the U.K. charts in 2011 and hit No. 5 on the Billboard 200 last year, going platinum in the process — as did his single “The A Team.”
Nevertheless, Sheeran feels that “I’m still building myself, I think. I’m doing OK. I’m not like (Swift) yet, you know. But being out there (with Swift) is good, man. It’s a huge, huge production, the first time I’ve ever seen anything like this, let alone play it.”
Sheeran’s one-man performance — added by loops and sequencers — is the antithesis of Swift’s massive presentation, of course. But he feels that’s working to both artists’ benefit.
“It’s such an opposite thing, and we’re so different from one another it’s more like a complement to what the other does,” Sheeran explains. “I’m not trying to compete with it. I just do what I do, and people seem to like it. Everyone sings ‘The A Team,’ so it’s very positive.”
Sheeran is working another single, “Lego House,” but he doesn’t think a third U.S. single is likely from “+.” Instead he’s focusing on his sophomore album, with “about 40 tracks” written and more ideas coming before he hits the studio this fall, most likely in Los Angeles.
“It’s definitely leaning towards more of a beat-heavy thing, definitely more hip-hop like,” Sheeran reports. “I try as much new stuff as possible; sometimes some of the things work and sometimes it’s just an experiment. But I think I’ve evolved a bit more since I made the first record, which is a healthy thing.”
Source: The Oakland Press
Best new artist Grammy nominee and Taylor Swift collaborator Ed Sheeran’s current album, “+” may still have a lot of life left in it in the U.S., but the British singer/songwriter is already thinking of his follow-up. Plus, the “A Team” singer has already set a release date of Feb. 17, 2014.
“My second album has taken full shape recently,” he told Australian outlet Noise11.com. “I don’t know if there will be any collaborations on it yet. I have a name for it but I can’t tell you the name just yet but it doesn’t start with a letter.”The song titles, thankfully, do start with letters, including “Photograph,” a tune Sheeran expects “will be the big one on the album.”Sheeran, who plays three nights at Melbourne’s Festival Hall starting March 4, says he isn’t ready to preview any of the new material on stage just yet, in part because he knows it goes out to the world the minute he does.
“Big bands can ease in new songs to their set but my fans are so viral that the moment that I’d play a new song, every one of them would hear it,” he told Noise11.com. “I don’t want everyone knowing what the record is before they get it. I want them to listen to it first.”
We previously reported that Sheeran thinks fans can expect a more mature sound on the set. He’ll continue working on it as he hits the road with Swift, whose U.S. tour starts March 13 in Omaha.
Get More: Ed Sheeran
Coming off his critically acclaimed debut, Sheeran is sticking with the same type of sound, but trading in the dark story lines for more light-hearted song subjects.
“I’ve had a different inspiration on this record obviously I haven’t had the same experiences it will be different, but only from the senses it won’t be tackling such dark matters,” Sheeran said. “Maybe it will, maybe something really bad will happen within the next nine months and I’ll write about that. It’s a bit of a happier album, I think… some of the songs are happy.”
Well, Sheeran will certainly have a lot of time to perfect his album since next month, the British singer/songwriter will be hitting the road with Swift on her Red tour. Yet, that’s not the only place the two will be spending time together because Sheeran is moving in to Swift’s homebase of Nashville.
“I am moving to Nashville, setting up shop there,” Sheeran said. “Nashville is wicked it’s like a proper music community, but it’s also quintessentially American. You bump into people there with cowboy hates that spit in jars and call you ‘boy.’ I just love that.”
Source: MTV News