By Gig Scene Editor Graham Chalmers
It’s acknowledgd by just about everyone now that First Direct Arena in Leeds has given a real boost to the city’s already thriving live music scene since it opened last year.
As well as featuring great acoustics, First Direct has brought a whole strata of big names to the area previously denied to local music fans.
One recent act announced for a date at the newish venue is Grammy-nominated, multi-platinum selling acoustic singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran.
Masterfully blending soulful vocals with organic folk introspection and irresistible hip-hop hooks, the red-haired Ed Sheeran enjoyed a meteoric rise - and he can’t wait to give fresh material a run-out on his autumn tour, he says.
“I can’t wait to tour this new record, it’s been a long time coming so I’m looking forward to touring the UK and Ireland once again.’’
Born in Halifax but raised mostly in Suffolk, the 22-year-old’s forthcoming new album has been long-awaited - especially since it’s been three years since “+” was released.
That debut album entered the UK albums chart at #1 with the highest opening week figures for a debut male solo artist ever.
The album has now been certified six times platinum in the UK.
Ed has been based in America over the last 12 months and told BBC’s Newsbeat that spending time away from home helped give him time to make a better album.
The unnamed second album has been produced by Rick Rubin, who has worked with the likes of Kanye West, Jay Z and Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Sheeran is also a two-time BRIT Award winner, recipient of an Ivor Novello Award and is now achieving genuine international success, especially in the US where he has provided songs for Taylor Swift and famously performed with Elton John at the Grammys.
Sheeran visits Leeds as part of his UK tour on Saturday, October 11.