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Productivity keeps Ed Sheeran on track

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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One thing Ed Sheeran didn't have to worry about for his upcoming sophomore album was songs.

The British singer-songwriter, whose solo shows involve the inventive use of samplers, loops and other devices, has been working on "x" -- which comes out June 23 -- since its predecessor "+" came out in 2011 and accumulated a mass of songs that he worked on with a corps of producers that included Rick Rubin, Pharrell Williams, Benny Blanco, Jeff Bhasker and others. "I try to write as many songs as possible," Sheeran, 23, says of his approach. "I've had a few times of not writing anything. There are times I've been prolific and time I've not been prolific at all. I think to unclog the pipes you just have to write as many songs as possible."

That philosophy, Sheeran adds, allowed him to face the pressure of following "+," a Top 5, gold-certified debut in the U.S. and a chart-topping, six-times platinum smash in the U.K. which launched the hits "The A Team" and Lego House" and netted him a Grammy Awards nominations for Best New Artist. Sheeran also toured with Taylor Swift and contributed the song "I See Fire" to the soundtrack of "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug."

"Instead of writing bad songs, I try to kind of write different songs," explains Sheeran, who's released a first single, "Sing," already from "x." If I'm in that space all write songs that are kind of out of my comfort zone and challenge myself a little bit.

"This one is a little more of a beat heavy thing than the first album, definitely more hip-hop flavored. It's so hard to describe. I just know I've evolved a bit more since I made the first record, which I think is a healthy thing."

98.7 Amp Live 2004 featuring Ed Sheeran, Austin Mahone, Icona Pop, Little Mix and Timeflies takes place at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 12, at the Meadow Brook Music Festival on the campus of Oakland University, Rochester Hills. Tickets are $39.50-$79.50 pavilion, $19.50 lawn. Call 248-377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

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