Ed Sheeran searches for new lines in movie ‘Songwriter’

British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran poses during a photocall for the film ‘Songwriter.’ (AFP)
Updated 24 February 2018
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Ed Sheeran searches for new lines in movie ‘Songwriter’

BERLIN: British singer Ed Sheeran said on Friday that the hardest part of songwriting was coming up with lines that had never been written before as a new documentary detailing his creative process premiered at Berlin’s international film festival.
The movie “Songwriter” was directed by Sheeran’s cousin, Murray Cummings, and follows the Grammy winner as he travels around the United States and England writing songs on his laptop, jamming in a garden and recording in the studio.
The intimate portrait of Sheeran, who was the most-streamed artist on music service Spotify globally in 2017, includes footage of him belting out songs while crossing the Atlantic on the Queen Mary 2, returning to high school to see his music teacher and talking to his father about his songs.
“I think the most difficult thing to do with writing a song is finding a phrase that you haven’t heard before because there’s always a song that’s going to be like: ‘I love you baby like crazy, I miss you maybe’,” Sheeran told a news conference.
He said he had learned not to push himself if he was struggling to write and did not believe writer’s block existed.
“What I do when I can’t write a song is I just put the guitar down and go and do something else for about a couple of weeks and then come back and then I’ll be able to write a song,” the 27-year-old said.
“So the way that my mind is now is, I will be able to write songs forever — they probably will start being about pretty mundane things because my life is getting more and more calm.”
Sheeran said he liked the documentary because it showed a song being written from start to finish, rather than just an album being recorded.
“I like that Murray found a niche that hasn’t really been done before. It’s quite difficult to find something that hasn’t been done in a music movie,” Sheeran said.
Sheeran, who said he planned to make a film next year in which he would play something other than himself, listed “Goodfellas,” “Cool Runnings” and “Love Actually” as his favorite movies.
Cummings told Reuters the documentary would give fans an insight into Sheeran off-stage.
“When he’s on his own he’s kind of very like relaxed and chilled and stuff. So I think they’re going to see that’s what he’s like because this film just kind of shows what I see every day,” Cummings said.


Cirque du Soleil in Saudi Arabia: The perfect tribute to a rich culture

Updated 25 September 2018
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Cirque du Soleil in Saudi Arabia: The perfect tribute to a rich culture

  • Cirque du Soleil created a spectacular show in Riyadh
  • They paid tribute to Saudi culture and heritage

RIYADH: The circus — a place that is almost synonymous with joy and delight. Since time immemorial, circuses have been places of celebration and glee, and few as much as the premier name in the industry: Cirque du Soleil.

The show has had a devoted fan in me since 2006, when I attended a performance of their production “Quidam” and my definition of the word “circus” was turned upside-down. Their unique approach to art, performance, costumes and music has secured their status as a household name and a benchmark for all other circus shows to be measured against.

On Sunday night, Saudi Arabia’s National Day, the circus brought their incredible acrobatics to Riyadh’s King Fahad Stadium and it turned out to be a night to remember.



Prior to the event, Cirque’s Vice President of Creation Daniel Fortin offered little in the way of spoilers but hinted that we would see something the likes of which we never had before. With the promises of exclusive new acts, music, costumes and stage tricks piquing my excitement, I joined a throng of green-and white-clad spectators flooding the stadium. Performing to a sold-out crowd, the show kicked off at exactly 8.30 p.m. and the magic truly began.

Barely five minutes into the show, something stole over me as I settled into the rhythm of the music, something I saw flickering over the faces of those in the crowd around me: Recognition. We were seeing ourselves, our identity, echoed back at us, but with a twist. We saw ourselves through someone else’s eyes — someone respectful and admiring.



As a Saudi youth today, it has become an unfortunately common occurrence to face negativity from various outsiders, born of ignorance or fear. It has become dreary and repetitive to have to continually defend my people and my culture from those who have no wish to understand us.

But at this show? I saw my country once more through the eyes of an outsider, but this time, it was different. I saw my culture and my heritage lauded, celebrated, delicately fused with that tangible Cirque du Soleil flair. The attention to detail was careful, almost loving, but also daring and outlandish. It was a glorious fusion of classic Saudi aesthetics with the ethereal, bizarre beauty of Cirque du Soleil.


The symbolism was not always obvious, sometimes it was subtle, constrained to the beat of a drum or hidden in a snatch of song. Other times, it was blatant and bold, in the sloping hump of an elegantly clumsy camel costume, or the billowing of the Bedouin Big Top in the gentle breeze. And yet, unmistakeably, I felt the Saudi influences in every note of the performance. It felt like an homage, and yet it did nothing to diminish its own identity. It remained unquestionably a Cirque du Soleil performance, only below the usual circus frippery, there was a ribbon of something else that lay coiled beneath the surface. Something bright, vibrant green. Saudi green.

The spectacle rounded off with an astonishing display of fireworks, so plentiful that for a moment, the sky glowed bright as day. To me, each one felt like a promise fulfilled. A dream achieved. A miracle witnessed. Here, on my own home soil, it was the perfect tribute to a rich and vivid culture.