It’s been an exciting year for live music in Dubai with Justin Bieber and Jennifer Lopez already performing here and Elton John set to appear before the end of the year; but none have proved to have quite built up the anticipation as Ed Sheeran.
The global superstar already played to a packed house in 2015 at the Dubai Media City Amphitheatre and now returns for a one-night-only gig at the Autism Rocks Arena on November 23.
Since the announcement that the Shape Of You star was returning to the UAE, excitement has been high, with the region witnessing a record-breaking demand for tickets to the concert.
A still from the video of ‘Shape of You’.
Even as the UAE is excited to see Sheeran again, it appears the feeling is reciprocated. In an exclusive chat with Gulf News tabloid! Sheeran tells his UAE fans that he is just as eager to see them.
How excited are you to be returning to Dubai?
It was never a question of if I returned to Dubai to play another gig, but a question of when I returned. I had an amazing time last time — the fans were incredible so I was always going to return. [I] am so excited to be playing there again, and hope to put on a great show for everybody.
The concert broke all sorts of records, which I am sure you heard about. Your thoughts?
I heard it broke records in the Middle East in terms of tickets being sold out [at] a record rate. It was truly humbling to hear how quickly the gig sold out — people of Dubai you are amazing — and I am so happy to be back entertaining you all.
Will you get time to play tourist in Dubai?
One of the greatest things about my job is being able to travel the world — and hopefully I will be able to enjoy some down time in Dubai. Obviously, there is a huge amounts of Brits living there — and I have good friends there — so I am really looking forward to seeing them.
Your tour was very nearly cancelled after your bicycling accident [he had to cancel seven shows]. We hear your broke your elbow, your wrist and a rib. Are you feeling better now?
It’s never good to disappoint fans — but I really didn’t know how bad the injury was. When I visited the doctors and they said look if you don’t rest this you could put more stress on it and do permanent damage; you know it’s sensible to listen.
You share a love-hate relationship with social media, having quit Twitter in the past as well because of trolls. Isn’t it an extremely important platform to connect with fans?
I think it can be incredibly important. I have never said anything bad about social media it can be a great tool for interacting with fans — you just have to make sure your head isn’t always down staring at a screen.
You are cited as the most famous male artist on the planet. How do you cope with the fame?
You don’t really — you just get used to it. I love what I do but sometimes you just want to go out for dinner or down the pub for a few drinks in peace — but that’s very rarely possible.
Ed Sheeran performs onstage during The 59th GRAMMY Awards at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. (Photo: AFP)
Is that one of the reasons why you took a break last year?
It was one of them. The other was I didn’t want people to get bored of me!
We can’t see that happening...
Seriously, I didn’t want people to be like, ‘Oh great Ed Sheeran is releasing another song’. If you disappear for a little bit then people are hungry to hear your new stuff — and that’s the place you want to be as an artist.
But you enjoyed the break?
I did — it was great — we [him and his girlfriend Cheery Seaborn] just rented a mini and drove the coast of Australia. It was amazing to get away from it all — not just the industry, but phone calls, social media, emails. It’s important to do that.
Your travel so much — can you tell us your go-to room service meal?
Cheeseburgers... always cheeseburgers. I have had some amazing ones in hotels around the world; so Dubai, the pressure is on you! (Laughs)
You have written for One Direction in the past. Do you think the group will get back together?
Who knows? There is the demand for it for sure — but it’s up them. They are all doing their own stuff at the moment.
You have also written for Justin Bieber who also played at the Autism Rocks Arena in Dubai this year. Your thoughts?
Yes, I have written for Justin and he is a great guy — very normal and very funny to be around.
Don’t miss it!
Ed Sheeran performs on November 23 in Dubai at the Autism Rocks Arena. Tickets for the concert have already sold out