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Interview:
One-man band Ed Sheeran hasn't met a place he can't play
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

» See more SOUND CHECK

Ed Sheeran has added some bigger video screens to his act for his current arena headlining tour. But the British troubadour hasn't made any other concessions to the scale of the shows -- like adding more musicians.

Sheeran is still a solo artist in the truest sense of the word, using his guitar and sampling machines the same way he did playing clubs and theaters before and also when he opened for Taylor Swift in stadiums during 2013. "I've done it in every possible place, size-wise and location-wise," notes Sheeran, 23. "There aren't many things left to do apart from playing on the moon or something."

The best news, he adds, is the way the current batch of shows -- supporting his chart-topping sophomore album "x" -- is being received.

"This is the first time people on a wide scale have seen the full show, so I feel like there's a good buzz about it," says Sheeran, who broke through with his award-winning 2012 hit "The A Team" and was nominated in the Best New Artist category at this year's Grammy Awards. "The thing that's most surprising to me is when you go and see artists, usually their old songs go down better than their new songs, 'cause people aren't familiar with the new songs because they're not on radio yet.

"But for me, the new songs that AREN'T on radio are actually going down better than the songs that have been on radio. That's pretty cool. That means people are buying into an artist rather than just a song."

The good news for Sheeran fans, meanwhile, is there are plenty more songs in his archives -- "A helluva lot," as he puts it. He spent three years making "x" and accumulating exponentially more songs than the 17 that have surfaced on various editions of the album. And he hasn't stopped writing since "x" was completed.

"They're all in different playlists and I'm trying to sort them out for what project they should be for or which songs should be on the next album or given away or whatever," notes Sheeran. "There's lots and lots of different folders." He'll be touring until August of 2015 and plans to be working on his third album all along, and Sheeran says he's shielded from follow-up pressure by a "bubble" of "reserved English people who don't get too excited" as well as his own occasional reality checks.

"I just take a loot at the charts every now and then," explains Sheeran, who recently collaborated on a song for Usher's next album. "I'm doing very well, but if you compare...Like, I'll look at the American charts and 'Don't' (his current single) is at No. 23. That's good, but there's 22 other artists that have got a bigger song than me right now. So that doesn't mean that I'm the s***; I'm doing alright, but 22 other people are doing better so, yeah, sit down and just do your work, y'know?"

Ed Sheeran and Rudimental

7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 17

The Palace of Auburn Hills, Lapeer Road at I-75

Tickets are $59.50

Call 248-377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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