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Ed Sheeran

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Ed Sheeran
Sheeran smiling
Sheeran performs for Channel Seven's morning program Sunrise and Nova969 in Sydney, February 2013
Background information
Birth name Edward Christopher Sheeran
Born (1991-02-17) 17 February 1991 (age 24)
Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, England, United Kingdom
Origin Framlingham, Suffolk, England, United Kingdom
  • Singer-songwriter
  • Vocals
  • guitar
Years active 2005–present
Notable instruments
Little Martin LX1E

Edward Christopher "Ed" Sheeran (born 17 February 1991) is an English singer-songwriter and occasional actor. Born in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire and raised in Framlingham, Suffolk, he moved to London in 2008 to pursue his music career on the Artist Development course at Access to Music.[1] In early 2011, Sheeran released an independent extended play, No. 5 Collaborations Project, which caught the attention of both Elton John and Jamie Foxx. He then signed to Asylum Records. His debut album, +, containing the singles "The A Team" and "Lego House", was certified 6× Platinum in the UK. In 2012, Sheeran won two Brit Awards for Best British Male Solo Artist and British Breakthrough Act. "The A Team" won the British Academy's Ivor Novello Award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically. In 2014, he was nominated for Best New Artist at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards.[2]

Sheeran's popularity abroad began in 2012. In the US, he made a guest appearance on Taylor Swift's fourth studio album, Red, and wrote songs for One Direction. "The A Team" was nominated for Song of the Year at the 2013 Grammy Awards and he performed the song in duet with Elton John during the ceremony. He spent much of 2013 touring North America as the opening act for Swift's The Red Tour. In autumn 2013, Sheeran performed three sold out shows at New York's Madison Square Garden as a headline act.[3] His second studio album x (read as "multiply") was released worldwide on 23 June 2014, peaking at number one in both the UK and the US. In 2015, x won the Brit Award for British Album of the Year, and was nominated for Album of the Year at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards. Sheeran received the Ivor Novello Award for Songwriter of the Year in 2015.[4] As part of his x world tour, Sheeran played three sold out concerts at London's Wembley Stadium in July 2015, his biggest solo shows to date.[5][6]

Early life

Sheeran was born in Hebden Bridge near Halifax, West Yorkshire but moved to Framlingham, Suffolk as a child.[7] His father, John Sheeran, is an art curator and lecturer.[8] His mother, Imogen Lock, is a culture publicist-turned-jewellery designer.[9][10] His parents ran the independent art consultancy Sheeran Lock from 1990 to 2010.[8] Sheeran has an older brother, Matthew, who is a classical composer and postgraduate music student.[8]

Sheeran's paternal grandparents were Irish, from Maghera, County Londonderry and Gorey, County Wexford.[11][12][13][14] He was raised as a Roman Catholic.[15] He sang in a local church choir from the age of four, learned guitar at a very young age, and began writing songs during his time at Thomas Mills High School in Framlingham.[16][17] His early childhood memories include listening to Van Morrison during his trips to London with his parents and going to a Damien Rice show in Ireland when he was eleven.[18] In addition to Rice, he has also cited The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Nizlopi and Eminem as his biggest musical influences.[19][20] He is a patron of the Youth Music Theatre UK[21] and of Access to Music.[22] He was accepted at the National Youth Theatre in London as a teenager.[23][24]

Music career

2005–10: Career beginnings

Sheeran performing at the Ipswich Arts Festival in July 2010

Sheeran began music recording in 2005, and released his first independent EP, The Orange Room EP. He has been friends with fellow English singer-songwriter Passenger since he was 15, with the two playing on the same gig in Cambridge.[25] He moved to London in 2008, and began playing in small venues. In 2008, he auditioned for the ITV series Britannia High.[26] He also opened for Nizlopi in Norwich in April 2008 after being one of their guitar technicians.[17] He released another EP in 2009, You Need Me, just before going on tour with Just Jack. He also did a few collaborations with Essex singer-songwriter Leddra Chapman, including CeeLo Green's "F**k You!". In February 2010, Sheeran posted a video through SB.TV, and rapper Example invited Sheeran to tour with him. In February 2010, he also released his critically acclaimed Loose Change EP, which featured his later debut single "The A Team".[27]

In April 2010, Sheeran bought a ticket to Los Angeles, with no contacts other than one poetry night. He played open mic nights all over the city, before he was spotted at The Foxxhole by Jamie Foxx, who was so impressed that he offered Sheeran the use of his recording studio and the bed of his Hollywood home for the rest of his stay. Throughout 2010, Sheeran began to be seen by more people over the internet through YouTube and his fan-base grew, with him also getting credit from The Independent newspaper, England football captain Rio Ferdinand and Elton John.[28] Sheeran also self-released two other EPs in 2010, Ed Sheeran: Live at the Bedford and Songs I Wrote with Amy, which is a collection of love songs he wrote in Wales with singer-songwriter Amy Wadge.[29]

On 8 January 2011, Sheeran released his independent EP, No. 5 Collaborations Project featuring appearances by grime artists including Wiley, JME, Devlin, Sway and Ghetts.[30] With this EP, Sheeran gained mainstream attention for reaching number 2 in the iTunes chart without any promotion or label, selling over 7,000 copies in its first week.[31] Three months later, Sheeran put on a free show to fans at the Barfly in Camden Town. Over 1,000 fans turned up to see the show, so Sheeran ended up playing four different shows to make sure everyone saw a gig, including a gig outside on the street after the venue had closed. Later that month, Sheeran was signed to Asylum/Atlantic Records.[31]

2011–13: + and international success

Sheeran at Academy 1, Manchester Dot to Dot Festival, June 2011

On 26 April 2011, Sheeran appeared on the TV music show Later... with Jools Holland, where he performed his debut single "The A Team". Six weeks later, "The A Team" was released as a digital download in the UK. The release served as the lead single from Sheeran's debut studio album, entitled +. "The A Team" entered the UK Singles Chart at number three, selling over 58,000 copies in the first week. It was the best selling debut single and the overall eighth-best selling single of 2011, selling 801,000 copies.[32] The lead single also became a top ten hit in Australia, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Norway and the Netherlands. During a headline set in the BBC Introducing tent at Glastonbury Festival 2011, Sheeran announced that "You Need Me, I Don't Need You" would be released on 26 August as the second single from the album. The second single peaked at number four on the UK Singles Chart.[33] "Lego House" was released as the third single,[34] reaching the top ten on Australian, Irish, Scottish, New Zealand Singles Charts, Flemish Ultratop 50 and the Wallonian Ultratip. "Drunk", released on 19 February 2012, became Sheeran's fourth consecutive top ten single in the UK, peaking at number nine.[35]

Sheeran's debut studio album + was released on 12 September 2011. + received generally positive reviews from music critics. Metacritic, which assigns a normalised rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 65, which indicates "generally favorable reviews".[36] + debuted number one on the UK Albums Chart, selling 102,000 copies in its first week.[37] It became the second best selling debut album and the ninth biggest-selling album of 2011 in the UK, shifting 791,000 copies.[38] The album has been certified platinum six times by the British Phonographic Industry, denoting shipments of 1,800,000 copies.[39] As of March 2012, the album had sold 1,021,072 copies in the UK.[40] The album also reached the top ten on the Australian Albums Chart, Flanders Belgian Albums Chart,[41] Dutch Albums Chart,[42] Irish Albums Chart,[43] New Zealand Albums Chart[44] and the Swiss Albums Chart.[45]

Sheeran at the Frequency Festival in Austria, August 2012

The song "Moments" on the debut album by boy band One Direction, released in November 2011, was co-written by Sheeran.[46] On 21 February 2012, Sheeran attended the 2012 Brit Awards at which he received the Brit Awards for Best British Male Solo Artist, and British Breakthrough Act of the Year.[47][48] On 10 January 2012, it was announced Sheeran would support Snow Patrol on their United States tour from late March until May on the band's Fallen Empires Tour.[49] His song "Give Me Love" was featured in the episode "Dangerous Liaisons" of The Vampire Diaries.[50] It was also featured in 12 February 2013 episode of the sitcom Cougar Town (TBS). At the 2012 Ivor Novello Awards in May 2012, Sheeran's "The A Team" bested Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" and Florence and the Machine's "Shake It Out", winning the award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically.[51] Sheeran performed "The A Team" at the United Kingdom's Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II on 4 June 2012 and a cover of Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" at the closing ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics on 12 August 2012.[52][53]

Sheeran performing in Sydney, Australia in February 2013

Taylor Swift contacted Sheeran after hearing his music while touring Australia in March 2012.[54] He later co-wrote and provided vocals for "Everything Has Changed", a single featured on Swift's fourth album Red. Released in October 2012, it was the biggest-selling new album of 2012 and was nominated for Album of the Year at the 2014 Grammy Awards.[55] Sheeran also contributed two songs to One Direction's second studio album, Take Me Home, released in November 2012, "Over Again" and the single "Little Things", which became the group's second number-one hit in the UK.[56] Sheeran's album peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard 200, while "The A Team" reached No. 16 on the Hot 100.[54] In late 2012 and early 2013, he headlined a US tour of 6,000–9,000 capacity venues.[54] "The A Team" received a nomination for Song of the Year at the 2013 Grammy Awards.[57] Elton John, who runs Sheeran's management company, canvassed the award organizers to get Sheeran a performance slot at the ceremony but was told that Sheeran alone was not high-profile enough. John decided to appear with Sheeran to circumvent this problem: "I got a call from Elton being like, 'I couldn't get you a solo slot, but would you mind playing with me?'"[58]

Sheeran played 64 dates at arenas and stadiums across North America as the opening act for Swift's The Red Tour from March to September 2013.[59] Sheeran got a Red tattoo to mark the career opportunity and remarked, "I think Taylor's just opening up a lot of doors and it's up to me to make sure that I get through to them. It's a massive opportunity for me and I want to make sure to grab it with both hands."[60] On 18 December 2013, Sheeran and Swift shocked fans by playing a gig at his local pub in Framlingham.[61] Sheeran featured on "Old School Love", the lead single from Lupe Fiasco's fifth studio album Tetsuo & Youth. Sheeran also features on Naughty Boy's debut album Hotel Cabana, on the track "Top Floor (Cabana)".[62]

Sheeran released his first single in two years, "I See Fire", which is featured in the end credits of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug as well as on the film's soundtrack.[63] Although it appears on the deluxe edition of Sheeran's upcoming album, "I See Fire" is not being used to promote x. In December 2013, Sheeran was nominated for Best New Artist at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards.[2]

2014–present: x

Sheeran on stage at the Southside Festival in Germany, June 2014

Sheeran's second studio album x (read as "multiply") was released on 23 June 2014. It peaked at number one in both the UK Albums Chart and the US Billboard 200.[54] He recorded the album in Los Angeles with producer Rick Rubin, who advised Sheeran to record the album acoustically with a good mood, while extra instrumentation was added later.[64] Foy Vance co-wrote a number of the songs.[64] Sheeran debuted an album track, "Tenerife Sea", at Madison Square Garden in New York City in October 2013.[65] On 24 March 2014 he unveiled another track, "Take It Back Now", as part of his set at the Teenage Cancer Trust charity concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London where he also performed alongside Passenger.[66] "Sing", the lead single, was released on 7 April 2014.[67] At the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards, "Sing" won the MTV Award for Best Male Video.[68] On 2 September 2014, Sheeran was one of the headline acts at the Melbourne Cricket Ground prior to the 2014 AFL Grand Final.[69] Sheeran has worked with Dutch DJ Martin Garrix on his first EDM song.[70][71]

On 8 October 2014, Sheeran released the music video to the album's third single, "Thinking Out Loud", where he dances with his leading lady. The video achieved almost three million views within 24 hours from its release.[72] The song became his second single to reach number one on the UK Singles Chart, and spent eight weeks at number two on the US Billboard Hot 100 (with only the long running chart topper "Uptown Funk" by Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars keeping it from top spot).[73] In November 2014, Sheeran announced that he would play at London's Wembley Stadium on 10 July 2015 as part of his x world tour, it is his biggest solo headlining.[5] After massive pre-sales, further two dates were added on 11 and 12 July.[6] In December 2014, Spotify named Sheeran the most-streamed artist in the world for his accumulating more than 860 million streams in 2014.[74] The album also earned Sheeran the distinction of being iTunes' biggest-selling artist in the UK, Ireland and New Zealand for the same year.[75][76] On 21 June 2015, Sheeran co-hosted the 2015 Much Music Video Awards in Toronto, where he performed his hit singles, "Thinking Out Loud" and "Photograph".[77] He also won two awards, Best International Video for "Thinking Out Loud", and Most Buzzworthy International Artist or Group.[78]

On 27 June 2015, Sheeran was the opening act at Arrowhead Stadium for The Rolling Stones in their Zip Code Tour date in Kansas City. On 16 August, Sheeran won three awards, including Best Male Artist, at the 2015 Teen Choice Awards in Los Angeles.[79] The same night, NBC aired the one hour special, Ed Sheeran - Live at Wembley Stadium, documenting Sheeran's three sold out shows in London.[80] On 26 September, Sheeran performed at the 2015 Global Citizen Festival in Central Park's Great Lawn in New York, an event organized by Coldplay lead singer, Chris Martin, that advocates an end to extreme global poverty.[81] Sheeran along with Beyoncé, Coldplay, and Pearl Jam, headlined the festival. Martin joined Sheeran to perform a duet to Sheeran's hit single, "Thinking Out Loud", and Sheeran joined Beyoncé and performed a duet to her hit single, "Drunk in Love". The festival was broadcast on NBC in the US on 27 September and the BBC in the UK on 28 September.[81] Sheeran will co-host the 2015 MTV Europe Music Awards in Milan, Italy on 25 October.[82]


Sheeran performed a gig in Bristol, which raised £40,000 for a charity that reaches out to street sex workers. "It's good to show insight that these people are real people with real emotions and they deserve the same charity work as anyone else," Sheeran said. "There's a lot more popular charities that get a lot of attention. And with certain subjects like this they're often washed over and people don't necessarily give them the attention they deserve." Tickets were available to those taking part in the charity's Give it up for One25 campaign by giving something up for 125 hours and hitting the £40,000 fundraising mark.[83]

Sheeran frequently gives away his clothes to charity shops around his home county Suffolk.[84] An ambassador for East Anglia's Children's Hospice, he has donated clothes to the St Elizabeth Hospice charity shop in Framlingham, including eight bags of clothes to the shop in February 2014, and eight items of clothing he wore at the 2015 Grammy Awards.[85]

On 15 November 2014, Sheeran joined the charity supergroup Band Aid 30 along with other British and Irish pop acts, recording the latest version of the track "Do They Know It's Christmas?" at Sarm West Studios in Notting Hill, London, to raise money for the 2014 Ebola crisis in West Africa.[86]

Personal life

In 2012, Sheeran purchased a farm near Framlingham, Suffolk, which is currently undergoing renovation. He has stated that he hopes to raise a family there.[87][88] Sheeran lived between Hendersonville, Tennessee and Los Angeles for the duration of 2013.[89] Sheeran is the second cousin of broadcaster Gordon Burns.[90]


  • + (2011)
  • x (2014)




  • + Tour (2011–13)
  • x Tour (2014–15)

Opening act

See also


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External links

Preceded by
Pharrell Williams
Saturday Night Live musical guest
12 April 2014
Succeeded by