Alongside mainstays like Florence + the Machine, Arctic Monkeys and Mark Ronson sits Ed Sheeran, the new kid on the block that is the UK music scene.
The 20 year old from Suffolk has already played hundreds of gigs and collaborated with the likes of grime artists Wiley, JME and Devlin on an EP which broke records for appearing at the top of the iTunes chart without any kind of traditional publicity (Sheeran wasn’t even signed to a label at the time).
Already a big name in the UK, the redheaded anti-heartthrob is making his mark overseas with the release of his debut album ‘+’ (pronounced “blah”), which was released just last week and has been earning the singer/songwriter comparisons to the likes of fellow working-class rap/soul artist Jamie T.
The video for Sheeran’s first single The A Team was made for just £20 and debuted at number three on the UK charts upon its release earlier this year. For his follow-up You Need Me, I Don’t Need You, a little more money was spent, though the concept was significantly pared back. A smooth black and white shot of 17 year old sign-language actor Matthew Morgan performing to the track is all it takes to sell what Sheeran is all about—something he, himself, told us during a quick interview recently.
PORTABLE: The tracks we’ve heard from you so far have been pretty varied in their style. What sound can we expect from your debut record? What do you want this album to say about you?
Ed Sheeran: The album is pretty much a summary of what’s been going on in my life. The sound’ss very acoustic, with drum machine beats. I tried to put as much emotion in each song as I could.
The ‘You Need Me…’ video is much more pared-down compared to the ‘A-Team’ clip. How much input do you have into the creative process when it comes to your videos? Where did you find Matthew Morgan?
Matt came from the audition for the video—he’s amazing! I have 100% input on the videos. People are always trying to persuade me to appear in them, but I like the idea of letting the video concentrate on the song rather than the artist.
Where do you see yourself sitting amongst other artists in the British music scene?
I’d like to think I fit in, but I’m not sure if I do. I’m very much in the urban scene over here (even though I sing folk soul), and I really love collaborating with that scene; it can make some very interesting music.
How did your collaboration with Wiley come about? Did he offer you any words of advice?
He did his album with the producer I did my record with. He’s a very clever guy—and seriously talented.
What’s next for Ed Sheeran?
Touring! And many many more albums!