Jerritt Clark/Courtesy of Amazon Music

By Jordan Edwards

Last night in Los Angeles, Ed Sheeran kicked off the new season of Amazon Music Live, and we were there to see it. The superstar played a mix of hits and new tracks from his upcoming album Autumn Variations. While a full band accompanied him throughout the night, much of the show featured the singer-songwriter alone on stage.

After being introduced by 2 Chainz, Sheeran started the set with fan favorite "Castle on the Hill," followed by hits "Shivers" and "The A Team." He then transitioned into material from Autumn Variations, due out Sept. 29. The new songs received a positive reaction from the crowd, particularly "American Town."

Ed Sheeran on Amazon Music LiveEd Sheeran on Amazon Music LiveJerritt Clark/Courtesy of Amazon Music

The lighting and video displays were impressive (as they should have been). Above Sheeran, a giant softbox shaped like the Prime Video logo tilted and changed colors to match the mood of each song. The animations behind him added to the experience without being distracting.

Of course, the real highlight was Sheeran himself. Despite all the fancy effects, the performance felt organic and spontaneous. When musicians joined him, it was a full band with live percussion, not just a couple guitar players playing to a drum track. Purists just wanting to see and hear a straight Ed Sheeran show got their wish. It was refreshing to attend a TV concert that catered to the live audience in attendance.

Sheeran closed the 13-song set with two of his biggest hits. "Shape of You," performed solo with simple lighting, was a great opportunity to see him work his famous looping station. "Bad Habits" served a giant sing-along and a perfect way to end the night.

Ed Sheeran and 2 Chainz on Amazon Music LiveEd Sheeran with Amazon Music Live host 2 ChainzJerritt Clark/Courtesy of Amazon Music

The concert series, which follows Thursday Night Football on Prime Video, continues next week with Feid. Prime members can stream live after the game, or watch the full concert the next day.

Music Features

WATCH: Echosmith Break Down Their New Album

Sydney Sierota and Noah Sierota talk to Jordan and Demi

Gara/Courtesy of the Artist

Echosmith has evolved since their breakout hit “Cool Kids” a decade ago. While they still produce atmospheric, catchy pop songs, they take more risks.

Their self titled new album is their most experimental release yet. It may also be their best. One standout track, "Sucks 2 Be Us," is built on psychedelic keyboards. "Hang Around" and "Gelato" include fuzzy guitars and booming percussion that will sound great live.

The trio has matured personally as well. The lead single, "Sour," was inspired by a sixth-month period in which vocalist Sydney Sierota lived three time zones away from her husband. The band has smoothly transitioned into grown adults who sing about adult things.

Watch Jordan Edwards and Demi Ramos talk to Sydney and brother Noah Sierota about recording the new album, their sibling bond, and upcoming European tour.

Echosmith | It's Real with Jordan and Demi

The See You Tonight Tour Dates
12 November – Berlin, Germany @ FRAANZ Club
13 November – Hamburg, Germany @ KNUST
14 November – Belgium, Brussels @ Botanique- The Rotonde
16 November – Cologne, Germany @ Luxor
17 November – Utrecht, Netherlands @ TivoliVrendenburg - Pandora
18 November – Paris, France @ La Boule Noire
20 November – London, UK @ Lafayette
21 November – Manchester, UK @ The Deaf Institute
22 November – Glasgow, UK @ King Tut’s

For more from Echosmith, follow them on Instagram and TikTok.

Courtesy of the Artist

In an era of trending sounds and singles, Kota the Friend makes albums. His latest, Protea, is a kaleidoscope of clever wordplay, smooth hooks, and beats you can dance to. Dedicated to his wife, the 16 tracks feel like a celebration. It features guest spots from Aloe Blacc, Braxton Cook, and Samm Henshaw.

Doing things his own way is nothing new. From his early days of playing the trumpet and performing at DIY shows, the native New Yorker has stood out. Musically, he combines sounds from different eras that fit his unique flow. Aesthetically, Kota loves bright colors and playful graphics, recalling early '90s acts like A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul.

Inspired by Pharrell Williams, he's also become an entrepreneur with his clothing line FLTBYS. The brand includes not just tees and hats, but items like journals and a water planter.

Watch Jordan Edwards and Demi Ramos interview Kota about the evolution of his sound, influences, and love for Brooklyn.

Kota the Friend

For more from Kota the Friend, follow him on Instagram and TikTok. You can also catch him on tour starting Oct. 20.

Jordan Edwards/Popdust
On this episode of It's Real, Jordan and Demi interview two multitalented performers who first appeared on screen when they were young.

Katelyn Tarver was a contestant on American Juniors, where she made the final round. She then acted in shows like Big Time Rush, TheSecret Life of the American Teenager, and HBO's Ballers.
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WATCH: Candlebox Reflect on 30 Years of Rock

A Conversation with Frontman Kevin Martin

Graham Fielder/Courtesy of the Artist
On Friday, Candlebox released their final studio album The Long Goodbye. It caps 30 years of recording, with rock radio staples like "Far Behind" and "You" still receiving airplay.
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For the first time, an episode of It's Real with Jordan and Demi features two unrelated guests. Madilyn Bailey and Rachel Grae are both singer-songwriters, but that's where the similarities end.

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