Edward Christopher Sheeran grew up listening to his father's record collection that contained albums by Van Morrison, Stevie Wonder, The Beatles and Elton John among many others. As a small child he sang in the church choir and having learnt to play the guitar and write songs he tried to launch his music career at sixteen by moving to London where he played an endless succession of open mic nights and small gigs. Even before moving to the capital the red-headed Sheeran was incredibly determined and wasn't about to wait to be discovered and so released a series of self-financed EP's beginning with the five track The Orange Room in 2005 and subsequently Ed Sheeran (2006), Want Some (2007), You Need Me (2009), Loose Change (2010), Songs I Wrote With Amy (with Amy Wadge) (2010), Live At The Bedford (2010) and No. 5 Collaborations Project (2011). A series of support slots for Nizlopi, Just Jack and Example followed and while visiting the USA actor/singer Jamie Foxx spotted him and was so impressed that he gave him the free run of his studio and his home. During 2011 he was signed by Elton John's management company as well as Asylum/Atlantic Records and was invited to play the flagship BBC TV music show Later.... With Jools Holland where his performance of his song 'The A Team' found the record entering the UK charts at No 3.
Three months later his second release 'You Need Me, I Don't Need You' debuted at No 4 while his album + was released in September 2011, entering the UK charts in the top spot and going on to replicate its success in both Australia and New Zealand. The record hit the US Top 5 and yielded more European hit singles with 'Lego House' and 'Drunk' that reached No 5 and No 9 respectively. Although the subsequent 'Small Bump' and 'Give Me Love' were less popular in the UK they both charted well within the Top 30. He had already achieved success as a songwriter for other artists when his song 'Moments' was covered by his friend Harry Styles' band One Direction on their 2011 debut and the following year he co-wrote 'Over Again' and 'Little Things' for their second album, the latter song debuting at the top of the UK charts. 2012 also found him co-writing and co-singing the UK Top 7 hit 'Everything Has Changed' with Taylor Swift and he subsequently appeared as support to Swift on her North American tour. Sheeran was asked by movie director Peter Jackson if he would compose a song to be used over the end credits of his film The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug and in November 2013 the completed song, 'I See Fire' debuted in the UK at No 13 and topped the charts in New Zealand, Jackson's home country and the filming location of The Hobbit trilogy. Preceded by his first UK chart topping single 'Sing' his second album X was released in June 2014 and debuted at No 1 in the UK and the USA and went on to top the charts in Australia, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Finland, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, Scotland and Switzerland. The record also featured a number of co-writers and producers including Jake Gosling, Pharrell Williams, Johnny McDaid and Gary Lightbody (of Snow Patrol), Rick Rubin, Benny Bianco, Jeff Bhasker, Amy Wadge and Rudimental. He has received numerous accolades including two BRIT Awards (for Best Solo Male Artist and Best Breakthrough Artist) while 'The A Team' was rewarded with an Ivor Novello Award for Best Song Musically And Lyrically.
One of the most outstanding young English artists to emerge during the last couple of decades Ed Sheeran's apprenticeship of small gigs, support slots and open mic nights has given him a solid grounding and a pragmatic view of the business of music. While he is most definitely a singer/songwriter many of his songs do not fit the traditional template of what that term would normally imply. His music is as informed as much by hip-hop and dance music as it is by the typical acoustic guitarist standing centre stage. For every song like 'The A Team' there is a 'You Need Me, I Don't Need You' while songs such as 'Drunk', 'Lego House' and 'Sing' comfortably blend his many different influences to create something highly individual and uniquely Ed Sheeran. Similarly he is a gifted lyricist who draws on a wide range of subjects but even his love songs are often framed in a far from typical setting, such as the hugely popular 'Thinking Out Loud' - When my hair's all but gone and my memory fades, And the crowd don't remember my name, When my hands don't play the strings the same way, I know you will still love me the same.
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