Ed Sheehan dropped his highlyanticipated new album ÷ last Friday (March 3) and it’s the favorite to top the Billboard 200 next week. The singer-songwriter revved up hype for the new disc by heading to iHeartRadio Music Awards to perform a pair of its focal tracks -- the tropical house-flavored “Shape of You” and the upbeat folk-rocker “Castle on the Hill.”
Sheeran opened the mini-set with what was essentially a repeat of his recent Grammys performance -- “Shape of You,” adapted for his trademark one-man-band routine. He sang, recorded his voice, then sampled it throughout his real-time rendition of the current Hot 100-leading song, strumming his acoustic guitar and queuing up the rest of the beat to be its sonic surrounding.
As soon as he was through, a sizable backing band appeared and joined Sheehan in rocking through the companion single from the new LP, “Castle on the Hill.” Ed’s acoustic was supplemented with electric guitar, added bass thump, a live drummer and several backing vocalists to give the Mumford-ian jam its full effect.