Ed Sheeran appeared as the featured musical guest on this week’s edition of NPR Music‘s Tiny Desk (Home) Concert video series. The British star performed his five-song set from a study with a backing band curated by critically acclaimed producer, songwriter, and musical director Adam Blackstone.

While Sheeran has become used to performing in front of tens of thousands of fans across the world, this performance was unique for the four-time Grammy-award winner. In most instances, Sheeran performs alone on stage, using only a microphone, his trusty guitar, and a looping machine. His Tiny Desk (Home) Concert, however, saw Sheeran perform with a cast of 15 world-class musicians—including the mastermind himself, Adam Blackstone, on bass guitar.

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Sheeran began his performance with his newest single, “Shivers”, off the forthcoming = (Equals) album, due out on October 29th via Atlantic Records. The expansive backing band helped take “Shivers” to new heights, making it sound quite different from the studio version and the rendition heard when Sheeran sat in with Coldplay earlier this month. Accompanied by horns, backing vocals, and a full suite of percussion instruments, “Shivers” took on new life as Sheeran sang and strummed his guitar.

The true uniqueness of this performance, however, became apparent with “Make It Rain”. Sans horns and Sheeran’s acoustic guitar, the pop star had only one job on this song: sing. Sheeran’s soulful vocals took center stage as the song overflowed with waves of vocal energy. Backing vocals from Whitney SmithMelissa BestAntia CoachRaphael SmithMelany Watson, and Kyron Elcock built up steam as the song reached an apex, bursting with the song’s titular and sultry refrain, “Make it rain.”

After a nonchalant “Alright, that was fun,” from a smiling Sheeran came a special debut of “Overpass Graffiti”, which is set to appear on the forthcoming = (Equals) record. Highlighted by percussion and keys from Terence Vaughn, “Overpass Graffiti” channels Sheeran’s ’80s pop influences. An upbeat song about everlasting love, this tune saw Blackstone revert back to his acoustic bass and move around quite a bit during the short stint through the new single. He even voiced his approval at the song’s conclusion, saying, “That’s my jam,” before switching over to an upright bass for “Visiting Hours”.

“Visiting Hours”, yet another single off his forthcoming album, heard Sheeran sing about losing a dear friend. The downtempo track contained tasteful accents from Rayfield Holloman‘s pedal steel guitar, while the vocals remained the real focus. Once again, the backing vocalists created a wall of sound on their own, adding deep layers to the song that heavily focuses on lyricism.

Sheeran then tuned up his acoustic and geared up for the final song and yet another = (Equals) single, the hit “Bad Habits”, a song about acknowledging and dealing with poor decisions. Perhaps more than any time before in the set, Blackstone’s bass carried the song with the now-eight-piece band to its conclusion.

Watch Ed Sheeran perform on NPR’s Tiny Desk (Home) Concert series with the soulful, Adam Blackstone-led backing band below, and head here for more information regarding his upcoming studio album, = (Equals).

Ed Sheeran – Tiny Desk (Home) Concert