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English singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran was born on 17 Feb 1991 and has so far released three studio albums: September 2011's + (pronounced 'plus'), x (pronounced 'multiply') in June 2014 and ÷ (pronounced 'divide') in March 2017.
Ed grew up in Suffolk, where he learned to play an old guitar given to him by an uncle. Spurred on by a chance meeting with the aforementioned Rice when he was 11, Ed started writing songs. Aged 16, he moved to London - into a flat above the T-Bird pub in Finsbury Park - with only one thing on his mind: playing gigs, as many as he could and as often as he could.
"I was playing every night," he says, "sometimes three times a night. I played every open mic night going. At first the crowds weren't interested, but I learnt how to make them interested!" A thousand audiences from acoustic shows to hip-hop nights, or, indeed, any other genre, will agree with that.
One night Ed played a tiny bar in North London whose website listed every young promoter in town. That night Ed Myspaced them all and a few days later he had nearly a hundred new gigs lined up. A pattern began to emerge - all day in the studio, all night playing gigs. From the early days Ed would sell CDs of his songs out of his backpack, putting cash in his pocket to get to the next gig, but also planting a flag in people's minds that here was music that was worth paying for. Not satisfied by CDs alone, fans have flocked to his website to pick up everything from hoodies to jewellery.
When Ed was told by his then management that he would need to conform to succeed - including dying his hair, and giving up his unique delivery - Ed responded by writing the cult song, 'You Need Me, I Don't Need You'. Over the next year he released five EPs, each one totally different, each one totally him. There was a singer-songwriter one, a live from TheBedfordone, one written with singer Amy Wadge. Each sold better than the last.
Shortly after the the troubadours’ phenomenal Glastonbury headline performance in 2017, where he commanded thousands at the Pyramid Stage on Sunday evening, pulling in one of the festivals’ biggest-ever crowds, with over 3 million viewers tuning in from home, Ed announced his massive 2018 UK tour. 27-year-old Sheeran returned to Wembley Stadium for the first time since his record-breaking stint in 2015, when he became the first-ever artist to play the stadium solo [with just his loop pedal and guitar] over three consecutive, sold-out nights.
Ed’s third studio album ÷ reigned as 2017’s biggest-selling album of the year, having sold over 8 million copies, globally, in the space of three months: 2 million sales come from the UK alone. Not to mention Ed’s gigantic comeback single Shape of You; a track that has surpassed 1.5 BILLION streams in less than six months!
Ed continues his rise as one of the world’s most successful and unique musical talents. He was awarded a Songwriters Hall of Fame 2017 Hal David Starlight Award for his contribution to music, and also honoured with an MBE for his services to music and charity in late 2017.