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 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 Taylor Swift's Red Tour. His second album is titled X, read as "multiply", and was released on 23 June 2014. He was nominated for Best New Artist at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards.
Sheeran was nominated for the BRIT Awards 2015 for MasterCard British Album ('X'), British Male Solo Artist, British Video, British Single. Of these he won the MasterCard British Album award for 'X' and the British Male Solo Artist with 'Thinking Out Loud'. In total Sheeran has won four BRIT Awards.
In 2016, Ed Sheeran won the Grammy Award for Song Of The Year for his song, Thinking Out Loud. In 2017 Sheeran released his most recent album ÷ (divide) with several hit singles including Perfect, and Happier. He began his North American Tour in 2018.
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.
His 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 studio album is titled X (read as "multiply"), and was released on 23 June 2014. It peaked at number one in both the UK Albums Chart and the US Billboard 200. He recorded the album in Los Angeles with 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 New York in October 2013. "Sing", the lead single, was released on 7 April 2014. At the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards on 24 August, "Sing" won the MTV Award for Best Male Video. On 2 September 2014, Sheeran was one of the headline acts at the Melbourne Cricket Ground prior to the 2014 AFL Grand Final. Sheeran has worked with Dutch DJ Martin Garrix on his first EDM song.
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. In November 2014, Sheeran announced that he will play London's Wembley Stadium on 10 July 2015 as part of his x world tour; it is his biggest solo headlining. After massive pre-sales, further two dates were added on 11 and 12 July. In December 2014, Spotify named Sheeran the most-streamed artist in the world for his accumulating more than 860 million streams in 2014. The album also earned Sheeran the distinction of being iTunes's biggest-selling artist in the United Kingdom, Ireland and the New Zealand for the same year
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.
X was nominated for Album of the Year at the 57th Grammy Awards. Sheeran performed alongside John Mayer at the ceremony. On 25 February, Sheeran won British Male Solo Artist and British Album of the Year for x at the 2015 Brit Awards. On 21 May he received the Ivor Novello Award for Songwriter of the Year. On 21 June, Sheeran co-hosted the 2015 Much Music Video Awards in Toronto, where he performed the singles, "Thinking Out Loud" and "Photograph"; he also won two awards, Best International Artist and Most Buzzworthy International Artist or Group. On 27 June, Sheeran performed as the opening act for The Rolling Stones in their Zip Code Tour date in Kansas City's Arrowhead Stadium. On 10–12 July 2015, Sheeran performed sold-out shows at London's Wembley Stadium. The shows, which were announced in November 2014, were part of his world tour. The concert was documented and aired on 16 August 2015 on NBC; the one-hour special Ed Sheeran – Live at Wembley Stadium also included behind-the-scenes footage. In November 2015 Sheeran released the DVD Jumpers for Goalposts: Live at Wembley Stadium; the title is a nod to playing concerts at Wembley Stadium, the home of English football.
2016–present: Hiatus and ÷
On 13 December 2016, after a year long hiatus and social media break, Sheeran tweeted a picture and changed his Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to a light blue, implying the release of a new album – each of Sheeran's previous albums were a single coloured background with a solid mathematical symbol. On 2 January, he posted a 10-second video on Twitter and other social media showing what was the cover design of his forthcoming album entitled ÷ (pronounced "divide") which was released on 3 March 2017. The album debuted at number one in the UK, the US, Germany, Australia, Canada and other major markets.
On 6 January, Sheeran released two singles, "Shape of You" and "Castle on the Hill"; the theme of the latter single is about Sheeran's upbringing in his home town of Framlingham in Suffolk, with the castle referring to Framlingham Castle. Following the release of these singles, Sheeran went on to co-host the BBC Radio 1 Breakfast Show with Scott Mills where it was inferred that he would possibly make an appearance at the Glastonbury Festival in 2017. It was also during this show that Sheeran used a new Martin guitar that featured the ÷ logo (of his new album) on both the headstock and body of the acoustic guitar. Both singles went on to break the Spotify day one streaming record, with a combined total of over 13 million streams in 24 hours.
On 3 January 2018, "Shape of You" was named the best selling single of 2017 in the UK, and the best selling single of 2017 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US. The same day, ÷ was named the best selling album of 2017 in the UK, and the US. At the 2018 Brit Awards held at the O2 Arena in London on 21 February, Sheeran performed "Supermarket Flowers", and received the Global Success Award. In April 2018, the IFPI named ÷ the best-selling album worldwide of 2017. At the 2018 Billboard Music Awards on 20 May, Sheeran performed "Galway Girl" from Phoenix Park in Dublin, Ireland, and picked up six awards, including Top Artist and Top Hot 100 Artist.
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.
Sheeran was in a relationship with Scottish singer-songwriter Nina Nesbitt (who was in his music video for "Drunk") in 2012, before breaking up. Nesbitt is the subject of Sheeran's songs "Nina" and "Photograph", while most of Nesbitt's album, Peroxide, is about Sheeran. In January 2014, Sheeran was in a relationship with Athina Andrelos, who works for chef Jamie Oliver. She is the inspiration of Sheeran's song "Thinking Out Loud". They broke up in February 2015. Since July 2015, Sheeran has been in a relationship with childhood friend and former high school classmate Cherry Seaborn. They announced their engagement in January 2018. In August 2018 he hinted that they married in a private ceremony. He is also close friends with singer-songwriter Taylor Swift, and collaborated on her albums Red and Reputation.
Awards and nominations
Main article: List of Awards and Nominations
Sheeran was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2017 Birthday Honours for services to music and charity. He received the award from Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace on 7 December 2017. In July 2018, he was entitled by Forbes as the 9th most earning celebrity in the "Celebrity 100 List of The World's Highest-Paid Entertainers".
- Snow Patrol's Fallen Empires Tour (North American select dates) (2012)
- Taylor Swift's Red Tour (all North American dates) (2013)