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Ed Sheeran to close the Olympics, hopes to conquer states

By Topher Gauk-Roger, CNN
August 8, 2012 -- Updated 2002 GMT (0402 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Ed Sheeran is one of England's top debut artists in the last year
  • He's set to take the stage during the closing ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games
  • With his mix of soul, hip-hop and personal lyrics, he's also ready to take on the U.S. market

(CNN) -- Ed Sheeran is ready to become more than the latest musician in a modern British invasion.

The singer-songwriter has already struck it big in his native England, becoming one of the top debut artists in the last year. Sheeran's album, "+," debuted on top of the UK album charts in 2011, and it has charted in the Top 10 everywhere from Australia to the Netherlands. Sheeran has performed for the queen, and he will take the stage during the closing ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

With his mix of acoustic soul, hip-hop beats and personal lyrics, Sheeran is also ready to take on a whole new market: the United States.

The artist is off to a good start, having already gained a cult American following since "+" shot to a Top 5 debut on the Billboard 200.

While doing promotional rounds in the United States, CNN caught up with Sheeran at an intimate fan show for radio station 104.3 MYfm. Sheeran believes the power of the Internet helped to expand his fan base in countries where he had yet to release material.

"Anyone can get my record around the world," Sheeran told CNN. "Anyone can see my music videos around the world; anyone can see me live around the world. It's like, it's a click of a mouse, to be honest. So that has helped out with the fan base everywhere, and especially in America."

Sheeran won two trophies at this year's BRIT Awards, the British equivalent of the Grammys. With the current success of Adele and, on a smaller scale, One Direction and Florence + The Machine, all eyes are on the British music scene to see what else they have to offer. Sheeran, however, doesn't believe this current "British wave" is anything new.

"I think [the] Internet has a large amount to do with this invasion that the media are talking about, but I don't think the invasion ended," Sheeran told CNN. "We've been supplying you with music, you've been supplying us with music, and it's a good trade. We get Rihanna, you get Adele."

Now Sheeran is working on creating hits for other A-List artists. He co-wrote a track on One Direction's album and was recently spotted heading into a studio with country music's reigning princess, Taylor Swift. In fact, Swift proclaimed her support for Sheeran on her Twitter page. The superstar Tweeted a link to purchase "+," declaring it "My favorite album right now."

Sheeran recently performed at the Queen's Jubilee concert outside of Buckingham Palace alongside superstars including Paul McCartney and Elton John. Not only was he the only debut artist in the lineup, but it was that very event that inspired him to get started in music as a child.

"The reason I started playing guitar in the first place was watching the jubilee 10 years ago when I saw Eric Clapton play on TV," Sheeran said. "It's quite a weird full circle, to have 10 years on from the day you started playing guitar [to] playing [that] event. Hopefully, a 10-year-old kid will be watching that and think, 'Yeah, I want to pick up a guitar, as well.' And then 10 years on, they might be playing it."

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