SOURCE: Elektra Records

June 21, 2012 09:30 ET

Ed Sheeran Makes Explosive U.S. Chart Debut; "+" Enters SoundScan/Billboard 200 at #5; British Phenom Earns Critical Acclaim and Twitter Love From Fellow Musicians; Upcoming Headline Tour an Instant Sell-Out in Major Markets Across North America; "VH1 You Oughta Know Tour With Ed Sheeran" Gets Underway September 19th in Boston

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - Jun 21, 2012) - Elektra recording artist Ed Sheeran has made an astounding U.S. chart debut with his acclaimed debut album, "+." A record-breaking sensation in Sheeran's native U.K., "+" entered the SoundScan/Billboard 200 at #5. Sheeran's arrival is the highest debut for a U.K. solo artist's first full-length album, since 2009.

The British troubadour's upcoming North American headline tour is proving equally popular, with several dates -- including shows in Toronto, Boston, Philadelphia, Denver, Vancouver, New York, and Washington, DC -- selling out within minutes of their availability. 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 itinerary below). For complete details, please visit www.edsheeran.com.

Ed has found strong support at radio with his single "The A Team'" including Clear Channel's exclusive Artist Integration Program, the company's groundbreaking artist development platform across CHR and Hot AC formats. Additionally, "The A Team" is in heavy rotation at SiriusXM, top 10 at Triple A and top 20 at Hot AC.

"+" has quickly earned Sheeran widespread acclaim, including rave reviews in such national publications as Entertainment Weekly and People, which awarded the album 3-and-a-half (out of 4) stars, noting that Sheeran's "folkified tunes (evoke) James Blunt and Damien Rice" while also "(boasting) a bit o' B-boy swagger."

Furthermore, many of Sheeran's musical peers have taken to Twitter to declare their own love for the album. Taylor Swift recently declared "+" to be her "favorite album right now," while One Direction's Louis Tomlinson went even further, pronouncing "+" his "favorite album of the last 12 months."

In other news, 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 his upcoming North American tour this Fall. All submissions must be entered by June 28th -- for full contest details, please see www.talenthouse.com/design-for-ed-sheeran.

Sheeran -- who recently concluded his debut North American tour, serving as special guest alongside Snow Patrol -- marked the U.S. release of "+" with visits to NBC's TODAY and VH1's Big Morning Buzz Live. The appearances followed prior 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.

In addition, Sheeran heralded the album's arrival with a pair of New York City headline shows, both of which sold out within 10 minutes of going on sale. The dates came hot on the heels of Sheeran's stellar appearance at The Royal Diamond Jubilee Concert, where he celebrated the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II's reign by sharing the stage with such rock royalty as Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Elton John, and Sir Tom Jones.

Sheeran's nearly non-stop North American tour schedule follows 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 male solo 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."

For up-to-the-minute news and information, please see www.edsheeran.com, www.twitter.com/EdSheeran, www.facebook.com/EdSheeranMusic and www.elektrarecords.com.

(TOUR ITINERARY BELOW)

ED SHEERAN
NORTH AMERICAN TOUR 2012
All Dates w/The "VH1 YOU OUGHTA KNOW TOUR WITH ED SHEERAN" Except *
SEPTEMBER
17 Toronto, ON Kool Haus * - SOLD OUT!
18 Montreal, QC Olympia de Montreal *
19 Boston, MA House of Blues - SOLD OUT!
21 New York, NY Terminal 5 - SOLD OUT!
22 Washington, DC 9:30 Club - SOLD OUT!
23 Philadelphia, PA Theatre of the Living Arts - SOLD OUT!
25 Chicago, IL Riviera Theatre
26 Minneapolis, MN State Theatre
28 Denver, CO Bluebird Theatre - SOLD OUT!
OCTOBER
1 Los Angeles, CA The Wiltern
2 San Diego, CA House of Blues
4 Vancouver, BC Commodore Ballroom * - SOLD OUT!
5 Portland, OR Wonder Ballroom
6 Seattle, WA The Showbox SoDo

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