Edward Christopher "Ed" Sheeran (born 17 February 1991) is an English singer-songwriter. Raised in Framlingham, Suffolk, he moved to London in 2008 to pursue a musical career. 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 2011 debut album, +, containing the singles "The A Team" and "Lego House", was certified quintuple platinum in the United Kingdom. In 2012, he won two BRIT Awards for Best British Male and British Breakthrough. "The A Team" won the Ivor Novello Award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically.
Sheeran began to be known in the United States in 2012. He made a guest appearance on Taylor Swift's fourth 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 Taylor Swift's Red Tour. His second album is titled x, read as "multiply", and is scheduled for worldwide release on 23 June 2014. He was nominated for Best New Artist at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards.
Sheeran was born in Halifax, West Yorkshire but moved to Framlingham, Suffolk as a child. His father, John Sheeran, is an art curator and lecturer. His mother, Imogen Lock, is a culture publicist-turned-jewellery designer. His parents ran the independent art consultancy, Sheeran Lock, from 1990 to 2010. Sheeran has an older brother, Matthew, who is a classical composer and postgraduate music student.
Sheeran's paternal grandparents were Irish and he was raised as a Roman Catholic. 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. His early childhood memories include listening to Van Morrison on his trips to London with his parents and going to an intimate Damien Rice gig in Ireland when he was eleven. He is a patron of the Youth Music Theatre UK. He was accepted at the National Youth Theatre as a teenager.
2005–2010: Career beginnings
Sheeran began music recording in 2005, and released his first independent EP, The Orange Room EP. He moved to London in 2008, and began playing in very small venues. In 2008, he auditioned for the ITV series Britannia High. He also opened for Nizlopi in Norwich in April 2008 after being one of their guitar technicians. In 2009, Sheeran played 312 gigs. He recalls reading an interview with James Morrison that said that Morrison had done 200 gigs in a year, and Sheeran wanted to surpass that number. 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 Cee Lo Green's Fuck You. In February 2010 Sheeran posted a video through SB.TV, and mainstream 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".
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 run 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. 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 fellow singer songwriter Amy Wadge.
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. 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. Three months later, Sheeran put on a free show to fans at the Barfly in Camden. 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.
2011–13: + and International success
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, shifting 801,000 copies. 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 28 August as the second single from the album. The second single peaked at number four on the UK Singles Chart. "Lego House" was released as the third single, 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.
Sheeran's debut album + was released on 12 September 2011. + received generally mixed reviews from music critics. At 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".+ debuted number one on the UK Albums Chart, selling 102,000 copies in its first week. It became the second best selling debut album and the ninth biggest-selling album of 2011 in the UK, shifting 791,000 copies. The album has been certified quintuple platinum by the British Phonographic Industry, denoting shipments of 1,500,000 copies. As of March 2012, the album had sold 1,021,072 copies in the UK. The album also reached the top ten on the Australian Albums Chart, Flanders Belgian Albums Chart,Dutch Albums Chart,Irish Albums Chart,New Zealand Albums Chart and the Swiss Albums Chart.
The song "Moments" on the debut album by boy band One Direction, released in November 2011, was co-written by Sheeran. 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 of the Year. 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. His song "Give Me Love" was featured in the episode "Dangerous Liaisons" of The Vampire Diaries. It was also featured in the 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. 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.
Taylor Swift contacted Sheeran after hearing his music while touring Australia in March 2012. 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. 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. Sheeran's album peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard 200, while The A Team reached No. 16 on the Hot 100. In late 2012 and early 2013, he headlined a US tour of 6,000–9,000 capacity venues. "The A Team" received a nomination for Song of the Year at the 2013 Grammy Awards. 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?’"
Sheeran played 64 dates at arenas and stadiums across North America as the opening act for Swift's Red Tour from March to September 2013. 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." Sheeran was also 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)".
Sheeran released his first single in two years, "I See Fire", to be featured in the end credits of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug as well as on the film's soundtrack. Although it appears on the deluxe edition of Sheeran's upcoming album, "I See Fire" is not being used to promote x.
Sheeran's second album is titled x (read as "multiply"), and is scheduled for a worldwide release on 23 June 2014. He recorded the album in Los Angeles with legendary producer Rick Rubin, who advised Sheeran to record the album acoustically with a good mood; extra instrumentation was added later.Foy Vance has co-written a number of the songs. He debuted an album track, "Tenerife Sea", at Madison Square Garden in October 2013. "Sing", the lead single, was released on 7 April 2014.
In April 2014, Sheeran sang over the phone for a 15-year-old fan dying from complications of cystic fibrosis, who died in her sleep minutes later.
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 £125 fundraising mark.
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.
Sheeran lived between Hendersonville, Tennessee and Los Angeles for the duration of 2013.
- + (2011)
- x (2014)
- + Tour (2011–2013)
- Snow Patrol's Fallen Empires Tour (North American select dates) (2012)
- Taylor Swift's Red Tour (all North American dates) (2013)
Awards and nominations
- ARIA Music Awards
|2012||Best International Artist||Himself||Nominated|
- BRIT Awards
|2012||British Breakthrough Act||Himself||Won|
|British Solo Male Artist||Won|
|Best British Single||"The A Team"||Nominated|
|British Album of the year||"+"||Nominated|
- BT Digital Music Awards
|2011||Breakthrough Artist of the year||Himself||Won|
- Grammy Awards
|2013||Song of the Year||"The A Team"||Nominated|
|2014||Best New Artist||Himself||Nominated|
|Album of the Year||Red (as featured artist)||Nominated|
- Ivor Novello Awards
|2012||Best Song Musically and Lyrically||"The A Team"||Won|
- MOBO Awards
|2012||Best Male Act||Himself||Nominated|
|Best Song||"Lego House"||Nominated|
- MTV Europe Music Awards
|2012||Best UK & Ireland Act||Himself||Nominated|
- MuchMusic Video Awards
|2013||International Video of the Year – Artist||Give Me Love||Pending|
- Q Awards
- UK Music Video Awards
|2011||Best Urban Video-UK||"You Need Me, I Don't Need You"||Nominated|
|Best Editing in a Video||Nominated|
- Radio Disney Music Awards
|2014||Best Musical Collaboration||"Everything Has Changed" (with Taylor Swift)||Won|
- World Music Awards
|2012||World's Best Selling Male Artist||Himself||Pending|
|World's Best Entertainer of the Year||Pending|
- List of Official Subscription Plays Chart number-one songs of the 2010s
- on Myspace
- on Facebook
- on Twitter
- at the Internet Movie Database