Ed Sheeran talks to Tony Clay­ton-Lea. Plus, the other big sellers of the year,

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - FRONT PAGE -

and a gui­tar, but in­stead of putting money into get­ting a big band to­gether, I’ve in­vested in a very large video wall that is ma­nip­u­lated through­out the show. If my per­for­mance is on point, I can make sure there’s a good vis­ual as­pect be­hind and around me. Some­thing like that makes sense when you grad­u­ate to the big­ger venues.”

Smart lad. And yet lit­tle of what Sheeran says seems con­ceited or con­trived. Say what you like about his mu­sic (which seems, at times, to be de­spised for hav­ing the au­dac­ity to be pop­u­lar), but the bloke who wrote the songs comes across as solid, reg­u­lar and nat­u­ral. Al­ready a multi-mil­lion­aire, he views the past year, in par­tic­u­lar, in an in­tel­li­gent way.

“I don’t ask too many ques­tions as to what or why my success has hap­pened. Ob­vi­ously, I’m quite happy to be in the po­si­tion I’m in. I haven’t yet taken a break to look back and ask, ‘oh fuck, what’s hap­pened to me?’ I won’t look back un­til it starts to slow down.”

Of that there is no sign as yet. Add Sheeran’s Grammy nom­i­na­tion to the ma­te­rial he has writ­ten for One Di­rec­tion and his up­com­ing sup­port slot on Tay­lor Swift’s forth­com­ing US tour, and you’ve got – un­less some­thing dis­as­trous oc­curs in the in­terim – the dis­tinct pos­si­bil­ity of Amer­ica drop­ping to its col­lec­tive knees and wor­ship­ping the head of Ed. What an amaz­ing turn of events for a bloke turned on to mu­sic by Damien Rice.

“Yes, well, the couch surf­ing has been re­placed with tour buses and ho­tel rooms, but my life hasn’t changed, really, be­cause I’m still play­ing mu­sic ev­ery sin­gle day and I’m still writ­ing songs. Of course, from the point of view of pub­lic per­cep­tion, my life has changed. And, also, I’m not strug­gling the way I used to.”

And yet, says Sheeran, in other ways his life hasn’t changed at all. “I’ve re­mained rel­a­tively nor­mal; I’m still wear­ing the same kind of clothes and I’m still with the same friends – I tend to keep my­self to my­self, if truth be told, so I haven’t made many new friends. I eat the same food, pretty much, and go the same pub for a drink.”

And what about the money, Ed? What with the al­bum sales, smash hits with the likes of One Di­rec­tion’s Lit­tle Things – do you think of the money at all? “Ha! Well, I’ve al­ways lived within my means, and when I was sleep­ing on peo­ple’s couches and liv­ing off £5 a week, that wasn’t too bad for me – I was quite con­tent, really.

“Nowa­days, I’m still liv­ing within my means, and I’m not really spend­ing a lot. I bought a house, which I thought was a sen­si­ble thing to do, but I haven’t really done too much of the typ­i­cal pop star thing yet. I’m still act­ing like I’m a singer­song­writer on the pub cir­cuit, I guess.”

So no rent­ing out Al­ton Tow­ers, then, for a week­end just for you and your mates? “I’ve never been a big fan of any­thing other than play­ing mu­sic and watch­ing DVDs, so the big­gest splurge I can imag­ine do­ing at this point is just walking into HMV and buy­ing ev­ery­thing.”

Ed Sheeran plays Dublin’s 02, Jan­uary 11th/ 12th/13th. Jan 11th/12th shows are sold out

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