Ed Sheeran: The boy wonder & his guitar
You know how the kiddies’ story goes, “I think I can, I think I can.” That tale of ambition, determination and self-confidence, and this British singer-songwriter’s rise to fame are one in the same.
Armed only with his guitar and a loop pedal, the one-man show set out on his own and unexpectedly conquered the world.
The 25-year-old has established himself as one of the planet’s biggest musical acts with international sold-out tours, numerous awards and over 22 million albums sold to date.
From the start Ed believed in himself even when his record label didn’t think global domination was possible alone.
“When I signed a record deal they said you should get a band,” Ed says looking back at his 2011 beginnings.
“By the time the first gig came around, I didn’t get a band. I just did it with a loop station.”
Soon a second show was booked, then a third and a before no time, a tour was underway.
“I kept going and I never got a band,” he says.
And at this point, why would he? Ed’s solo approach, in which he layers vocals and guitar bits creating a full “digital band,” was met with massive applause and so with the encouragement he carried on.
The thought of giving in and hiring helping hands has crossed Ed’s mind though, but the Brit continues to choose authenticity and artistic integrity over compromise, all the while listening to his public and their feedback.
“Every time I feel like evolving into a band, it feels like no one really wants to see that because every other singer-songwriter that we see has a band,” he says.
Ed, his guitar and that little loop pedal have been touring the planet and performing in stadiums packed to capacity ever since. All a rare and unusual happening and he knows it.
“Even though a loop pedal is quite a weird thing to see in an arena setting, if I’m the only person that does it, it’s a unique selling point, and if I can do it well, then that works. The moment I stop doing it well, is the moment I’ll stop, but I think people enjoy it.”
As a matter of fact his fans are eating it up like they have an insatiable hunger burning in their bellies.
In July 2015, Ed sold out London’s historic Wembley Stadium for three consecutive nights and performed to more than 240,000 fans over the three concerts. His sensational live shows like those in London and the first concerts he ever organized are now poles apart.
“I did a gig over the road from my house when I was 13,” Ed remembers of his very first show. “It was three pounds a ticket and four people turned up. Two of them were my parents. It was a really awkward gig,” he laughs.
Ed’s record breaking Wembley shows were captured in the star’s first concert film Jumpers for Goalposts. The big event is available for all to witness on Ed’s x – Wembley Edition, a CD/DVD deluxe version of his 2014 album x (pronounced multiply) which made No.1 on album charts in 14 countries and sold over 10 million copies worldwide.
That same album knocked Adele’s 21 from the no.1 position of the longest charting UK top 10 album ever released by a British artist. Ed’s x remained in the top 10 for 73 consecutive weeks beating out Adele’s 71-week reign.
x, which spawned the hits “Sing,” “Don’t” and “Photograph,” also earned Ed the American Music Award for Favorite Male Pop/Rock Artist, and “Thinking Out Loud,” the album’s best-selling single, won the 2016 Grammy Awards for Song of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance.
Ed is up for Song of the Year again this year at the 2017 Grammy Awards, but by way of Justin Bieber and one of the biggest hit songs of 2016 “Love Yourself,” which Ed penned for the Canadian superstar.
The nomination comes in as Ed’s 11th Grammy nod. His first nomination, also Song of the Year, dates back to 2012 for his tune “The A Team” off Ed’s debut album + (pronounced plus).
After taking a little breather, Ed is back in action and ready to chase those achievements with the release of his third album ÷ (pronounced divide) due out in March.
News of the album comes hot on the heels of the release of not one, but two singles from the forthcoming album, “Castle on the Hill” and “Shape of You,” the first sign of new material since 2015.
Ed’s return was nothing short of a triumphant comeback that was met with instant success.
“Shape Of You” and “Castle On The Hill” debuted at No. 1 and No.2 respectively on the Billboard Canadian Hot 100, Digital Songs and Streaming Songs charts.
In addition to topping the charts, within just one week of their release, both songs are now certified gold in Canada.
The superstar also smashed multiple records on Spotify.
The two singles individually broke the record for the most streamed song in 24 hours on the digital music service, reaching over 13 million streams combined. Within a day, “Shape of You” received 6,868,642 plays and “Castle on the Hill” was streamed 6,168,395 times, knocking out One Direction’s 2015 hit “Drag Me Down” which registered at 4,759,698.
“Shape of You,” which Ed was writing for Rihanna until he changed his mind, has gone on to claim the No.1 position on Spotify charts in 39 countries and has broken the record for the Best First Week for a track, with 52,359,013 streams, a record previously set by Adele and her hit “Hello” with 46,908,870 plays.
Meanwhile over on YouTube, the accompanying lyric videos have earned over 60 million views combined.
On the download side of things, Ed’s tracks took over the No.1 and No.2 positions on iTunes’ Top 100 songs chart.
These are just a few of the many achievements, accolades and awards that the boy wonder has picked up since his start, and he accomplished it all without giving in and modifying a single thing about himself.
“The thing that I want to do is evolve as a musician in time,” Ed says. “Not change what people like about me.”
View ÷ track list below.
2. Castle on the Hill
4. Shape of You
6. Galway Girl
8. New Man
9. Hearts Don’t Break Around Here
10. What Do I Know?
11. How Would You Feel (Paean)
12. Supermarket Flowers
14. Bibia Be Ye Ye
15. Nancy Mulligan
16. Save Myself