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