Elektra recording artist Ed Sheeran has announced plans for his first-ever North American headline tour. The "VH1 You Oughta Know Tour with Ed Sheeran" gets underway September 19th at Boston's House Of Blues and continues through early October (see attached itinerary).
Launched in 2004, VH1's "You Oughta Know" franchise introduces promising new artists on the rise to VH1's base of music lovers (yok.vh1.com). Many "You Oughta Know" artists have gone on to win industry awards and accolades, including "Best New Artist" Grammy Awards and nominations. Among them are such top stars as Adele, Amy Winehouse, Bruno Mars, The Civil Wars, Foster The People, The Fray, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, James Blunt, Mumford & Sons, Sara Bareilles, Regina Spektor and many, many others. Sheeran recently joined that impressive list as VH1's "You Oughta Know" artist for the month of May.
Presale tickets for the "VH1 You Oughta Know Tour with Ed Sheeran" will be available to members of Sheeran's online community beginning June 5th. In addition, access to presale tickets is being offered with pre-order bundles of the British singer/songwriter's acclaimed debut album, "+." All remaining tickets will then go on sale to the general public on June 9th. For complete details, please visit www.edsheeran.com.
A record-breaking sensation in Sheeran's native U.K., "+" arrives on U.S. shores on June 12th. Pre-orders are available now on the iTunes Store (http://atlr.ec/Jdl5wg) – with the album offered in both Standard Version and Digital Deluxe Version, which appends four additional bonus tracks.
"+" pre-orders are also available via Sheeran's own official web store. A variety of bundles are on offer, featuring such exclusive extras as a blue "Crest" t-shirt and a "Logo" pullover hoodie. All packages include a copy of "+" (in CD, digital, or orange vinyl), a full album stream (expiring on street date), and an instant MP3 download of the recently released digital EP, "THE A TEAM." For complete details and ordering information, please visit www.edsheeran.com.
Sheeran will make a pair of release-day visits to NBC's TODAY and VH1's Big Morning Buzz Live on June 12th (check local listings). The appearances follow Sheeran's recent live performances on TBS' Conan, NBC's Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and Last Call with Carson Daly, and mtvU's 2012 Woodie Awards extravaganza.
The British troubadour – who only just concluded his debut North American tour, serving as special guest alongside Snow Patrol – will further celebrate the release of "+" with a pair of major headline shows in New York City, both of which sold out within 10 minutes of going on sale. Ed will perform at Bowery Ballroom on June 11th (a 16 years old-and-over show), and Music Hall of Williamsburg on June 12th. The two stateside shows follow a number of high profile performances overseas, including tonight's appearance at The Royal Diamond Jubilee Concert, celebrating the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II's reign, where he will share the stage with such rock royalty as Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Elton John, Sir Tom Jones, and Jay-Z.
In addition, Sheeran is teaming with Talenthouse Creative Invites to encourage aspiring designers to submit artwork for a t-shirt inspired by the music from "+." One winner will have their artwork produced on a t-shirt and featured in Sheeran's online store as well as on selected stops of the upcoming "VH1 You Oughta Know Tour with Ed Sheeran." All submissions must be entered by June 28th – for full contest details, please see www.talenthouse.com/design-for-ed-sheeran.
Sheeran's nearly non-stop North American tour schedule comes on the heels of a triumphant string of performances at this year's South by Southwest® Music & Media Conference (SXSW®) in Austin, Texas. Entertainment Weekly praised his "knack for manipulating samplers and voice loops, various strums, a handful of rhythmic pounds on his guitar's body, and even the audience," while Billboard hailed his energetic set at Nikon Inc. and Warner Music Group's "The Warner Sound Captured by Nikon" residency as "a veritable party in a single package."
* * * * *
Masterfully blending soulful vocals with organic folk introspection and irresistible hip-hop hooks, Sheeran is a genuine phenomenon. Inspired by such diverse artists as James Morrison, Damien Rice, and Jay-Z, the gifted tunesmith first made waves with his unique style and affecting songs. A prolific writer and performer, Sheeran played constantly – including over 300 gigs in 2009 alone – while also recording and self-releasing five independent EPs. He also became a YouTube favorite, with the loop-driven "You Need Me, I Don't Need You," drawing over 5 million views and counting.
His major label debut single, "The A Team," arrived in June 2011 and instantly proved an unqualified sensation, entering among the top 3 on the U.K. Singles Chart. The track spent 11 consecutive weeks in the U.K. Top 10, making history as 2011's highest charting, biggest selling debut single.
Sheeran's full-length debut, "+," soon followed, featuring a host of truly special songs, from the heart-wrenching "Small Bump" to the hushed "Give Me Love." The album exploded onto the U.K. Albums Chart at #1 with the highest opening sales figures for a debut artist ever and is now certified 4x platinum.
In addition to their popular success, Sheeran and "+" received extensive acclaim, including the prestigious "Breakthrough Artist" trophy at the Q Awards 2011. Even greater accolades came in early 2012 as Sheeran emerged victorious with a pair of top 2011 Brit Awards – including "Best Male Artist" and "Best Breakthrough Artist" – after having led the field with a remarkable four total nods. Furthermore, "The A Team" received the high honor of a 2012 Ivor Novello Award nomination in the "Best Song Musically and Lyrically" category.
Released in December 2011, Sheeran's U.S. debut EP, "THE A TEAM," features four extraordinary tracks previously unavailable here in the former Colonies, including, of course, "The A Team." A special iTunes version of the EP – available exclusively on the iTunes Store – is augmented by an additional track, "Grade 8 (Live At The iTunes Festival London)."
As energetic and engaging on stage as he is on record, Sheeran spent much of last year doing what he does best – playing sold out shows all over the U.K., including acclaimed festival appearances at such annual extravaganzas as Glastonbury, Lovebox, Bestival, Latitude, and Reading & Leeds Festivals. A further series of U.K. and European festivals are scheduled for the summer, as is a fully sold out tour of Australia and New Zealand. Sheeran's biggest U.K. tour thus far will follow in the fall, featuring sold out multiple night stands in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Doncaster, Newcastle, and Glasgow.
As if all that weren't enough, Sheeran kickstarted 2012 with "THE SLUMDON BRIDGE EP," a four-song collaboration with Shady Records/Get-O-Vision Entertainment/ Interscope Records recording artist Yelawolf. Initially released as a free Valentine's Day download, the acclaimed EP is available now via all digital retailers. "It's a unique project from start to finish," declared AllHipHop.com of the EP. "Yelawolf and Ed Sheeran are…the most unlikeliest of teams, but it works. Here's hoping that we see more of them together in the future."
"Any true music lover would thoroughly enjoy the supernatural chemistry that oozes from this opus," noted PlanetIll.com, adding that "if you never heard of Ed Sheeran, you'll definitely become a fan after listening to this joint…It's only a matter of time till he catches the ear of a hip-hop heavyweight."
When you're an independent artist you're always having to work within a budget you can control. After all, there's no record company picking up the bills – you're paying for it all yourself.
For Brighton, UK born and bred yet very much the adopted Australian son singer songwriter Mike Rosenberg, being independent has proven to be the best road he could have taken. There was a time, back in the e...arly 2000s, when things looked very different. There was a five-piece band called Passenger and the big money label behind it and there was a critically acclaimed debut album, Wicked Man's Rest, but when the members of that band chose to go their own separate ways in 2007, Rosenberg opted to stick with the Passenger moniker and trust in his music, his voice and his guitar to take him where it would. He took to the streets and discovered not only that the experience enormous fun, but it also proved empowering for the likeable musical troubadour.
"The busking pays for everything really," Mike admits. "It's crazy. I've funded my last four records basically from busking, so it's a godsend really. It's an amazing thing to have stumbled upon because it is the dilemma for every musician – how do I put a hundred per cent of myself into my music, whilst keeping myself together? It's not a new problem – it's always been the case – but you find something like busking, which you can still do; while you're making money you can play your songs and hopefully further your fan base – it's ideal really. You don't have to put forty hours of your time into flipping burgers or making coffee or whatever it is. I'll always feel very, very lucky about that.
"Honestly, the more I do it, the more I enjoy it. You know, it's great that it's getting bigger for me but busking actually turns into a real way of life. The structure of busking and just being on your own, enjoying the cities and travelling, I dunno, there's such a lo-fi thing that goes along with it and such an honest and simple way of living for that period of time that I really, really miss actually when I'm not doing it, so I really look forward to getting back out on the street again."
Having obviously got a real taste for the busking and the travelling, he thought he'd check out sunnier climes, which is how, in October 2009, Mike first took himself over to Australia where he managed to support Lior and Sydneysiders Elana Stone and Brian Campeau, and then played One Movement, a major music industry-focus festival in Perth. Back in Sydney, he met a neighbour who just happened to be ARIA Award-winning singer songwriter Josh Pyke, and the initial idea that would become Flight Of The Crow formed in his mind.
The album proved the perfect entre into the Australian music scene, not least because Flight Of The Crow saw him joined in the studio by the cream of Australian independent musical talent, including Lior, Kate Miller-Heidke, Boy & Bear and Katie Noonan. By the time Mike felt it was time to return to the UK to launch the album there, he was selling out 500-seater venues across Australia. Before he left however, it was time to record a new album.
"It's very different to Flight Of The Crow… actually all my records," Mike explains. "Flight Of The Crow sounded like it was made in the 1960s, which was kind of what we were aiming for, but this one is a bigger production and a bit more modern sounding."
As always, there's a certain element of the youthful Cat Stevens in the tenor of Mike's voice that tells you the emotions that drive his songs aren't very far beneath the surface. Recorded again in Sydney, for the new album, All The Little Lights, Mike was joined once again by a core Australian band that included Boy & Bear drummer Tim Hart, jazz bassist Cameron Undy, who also played on Flight Of The Crow, and keyboards player Stu Hunter, from Katie Noonan & The Captains. If there's a theme to be drawn from the album it's not just the usual stock-in-trade of the travelling troubadour – love – but the love of life itself.
Meanwhile the Passenger fanbase has been building very nicely, and very much from the ground up, with the busking feeding into the club gigs – all very organic. "It's such a funny and slow process, the way we do it. We haven't got a label, we haven't got the big muscle behind it – it really is meeting every fan personally and trying to convince them to sort of buy into it, which is quite a bizarre way of doing it. But I think what I've found is people have a real personal relationship to it because it's not just something on the radio – I might be busking and we'll have a chat or have a beer after a gig or whatever – I think that personal thing is so important in making people feel part of the project and then hopefully becoming fans ultimately."
Among the highlights of this past northern summer's touring round the UK has been opening for one of UK pop music's most influential figures, Jools Holland, as well as Ed Sheeran, who just had the #1 album in the UK, and Australian acts the John Butler Trio and Josh Pyke, with whom he co-headlined a UK tour.
"It was great!" Mike admits, that ubiquitous smile on his face. "I did shows with the John Butler Trio over here and in Europe as well. It makes such a difference when you play to those kinds of crowds compared to the busking, which as I say is like playing to each person individually sometimes, it is amazing to then be on a bigger stage and reaching such a big audience in one go."
It's been a remarkable journey for Rosenberg, a journey that has inspired some of the finest songwriting you'll hear anywhere, whether on a street corner, a sweaty rock'n'roll room or a concert stage. Listening to him, whether on record or in performance, you can tell he's having the time of his life, and it's all there on his new album, All The Little Lights. And the most exciting this is you just know there's plenty more to come.