Not since Third Eye Blind's "Semi-Charmed Life" has a song about drug use been so catchy. While English singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran's "The A Team" was>"/>
Not since Third Eye Blind's "Semi-Charmed Life" has a song about drug use been so catchy. While English singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran's "The A Team" was released in 2011, it has only recently begun infiltrating the airwaves here in the States, though after being nominated for the Grammy Award for Song of the Year, it's bound to get even more popular. We caught up with Sheeran through email and learned all there is to know about "The A Team," off his debut album, +, before he takes the 106.1 KISS FM Jingle Ball stage at WaMu Theater tonight.
The Video: Shot bit by bit over a week in Angel, in north London, and Camden, in the northwest, "The A Team," directed by Ruskin Kyle, features Sheeran's friends and actresses Selina MacDonald, as "Angel," and Katy Brady, as her housemate.
MacDonald played her role of a panhandler-turned-call girl so well that passersby gave her change as she sat with ripped stockings and huddled in tattered blankets during filming.
"The A Team" was filmed in black-and-white, according to Sheeran, because the video, shot for £20, or $32, was so low budget that it would have looked cheap and nasty in color.
Sheeran wasn't concerned with how "The A Team," which has been viewed on YouTube more than 49 million times, would be received despite the somewhat graphic nature of the video, though he was surprised at how heavily radio stations and TV have picked up the song.
"It's a bit nuts considering the song and video's history but it's nice to know people dig it," he says.
No Sheeran, No Problem: Not all of Sheeran's music videos are so somber though. In the video for "Drunk," for example, a talking cat tries to lift Sheeran from his post-break up funk with a few rounds of video games and a night out on the town. As could be expected, there were a few issues in getting the fancy feline to do what the director wanted but it all worked out in the end.
In perhaps an even sillier video, for the song "Lego House," Harry Potter star and fellow ginger Rupert Grint plays Sheeran. Well, kind of. Watch the video here and you'll see what I mean.
Grint's appearance in the video led to one of Sheeran's favorite moments from a video shoot.
"When Rupert walked onstage at my Hatfield show, that was a real concert," he recalls. "[There was] such a mental reaction."
Whether they are serious or lighthearted, most of Sheeran's music videos have one thing in common--they very rarely feature the singer-songwriter himself.
"The videos should be tools to tell the story of the song, not marketing tools," he explains. "I don't think I was needed in those videos to tell the story. I love how they came out."
Onwards and Upwards: Having had an incredibly busy 2012 and released the final single from + last month, Sheeran is set to begin the new year with a headlining tour of the U.S., his second, with opening acts Foy Vance and Rizzle Kicks. He'll also return to the Pacific Northwest in the summer as the special guest on Taylor Swift's RED Tour.
Sheeran has come a long way, from shooting a video for the price of your average concert ticket to earning a Grammy nomination, and he's only getting bigger from here. Despite his recent success, his future plans haven't changed.
"I'm gonna carry on pushing out the music I love and hope people keep listening to it," he says.