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Friday, Aug 22, 2014
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Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran fans flock to Forum

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TAMPA -

Taylor Swift sold out the Forum on Saturday.

More than two hours before the concert, hundreds of fans mingled outside on the plaza, lining up to buy Swift merchandise from books to CDs to T-shirts. And red stuff was everywhere: fans in bright red lipstick, tiny dazzling top hats, tights and Taylor Swift sneakers, and Swift in posters, her glossy red lips sipping her favorite soda.

But ask Swift's fans about the opening act for her “Red Tour 2013!” – British pop singer, songwriter Ed Sheeran – and suddenly they become “Sheerios.”

That is a dedicated fan, as in Justin Bieber and his “Beliebers.”

“His music is real; it's not like fake,” said 12-year-old Alexa Hann, who came to the Swift concert from the Sarasota area with three girlfriends and parental chaperons. “And his hair is cool.”

His hair also is red.

Social media buzzes about this red-headed British pop sensation on Facebook, tumblr, pintarest, Instagrams, Youtube, and tweets at #sheerios. He writes his own songs. One of his most popular, “The A Team,” was nominated for a Grammy award.

He has penned songs for other bands, including One Direction, and co-wrote a song with Swift for her latest album… yes, it's named “Red”.

Sheeran is getting so much attention that tabloids speculate whether he and Swift are a romantic item.

“They seem like just friends,” said 13-year-old Angelina. Her friend, 12-year-old Jillian, said, “He has a wonderful voice.” They declined to give their last names. Jillian's mom said that was standard advice when talking with strangers.

Rachel Goldman and Hilary Davis, both 17, waited in line before the show. Goldman wanted a Swift book and a Sheeran T-shirt. Davis was wearing a Sheeran T-shirt.

“He's different,” Davis said. “His music is deep. He writes songs. His voice is amazing.”

Zoe Penson, 14, came from Jacksonville with her younger sister, Michelle Penson, and their mother, Michelle Penson. “He's so perfect,” said Zoe Penson. “His songs are so beautifully written. You think, how do you come up with that? He seems like such a nice person.”

Sheeran is known for his “looping,” in which he records snippets of words, sounds or phrases for live playbacks.

“It's like a one man band sort of thing,” said Zoe Penson.

Her mom is a fan of both Swift and Sheeran. “He connects with his audience so much,” said Michelle Penson. “I think she's a really good role model for my girls. They write songs about their times. It's something I can listen to and enjoy with them.”


ksteele@tampatrib.com

(813) 259-7652

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