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Taylor Swift collaboration gives Ed Sheeran a larger audience

For Journal Register Newspapers

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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, ??, 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 currently 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."

Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, Austin Mahone and Brett Eldredge perform at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Ford Field, 2000 Brush St., Detroit. Tickets are sold out. Call 313-262-2013 or visit www.detroitlions.com.

Web Site: www.detroitlions.com

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