Ed Sheeran – detailed biography with selected works

A detailed biography of Ed Sheeran with his hit songs.

Ed Sheeran is truly regarded as one of the best singers in the 21st century. His story and his life is full of highlights, but at the same time he always thought about himself as an ordinary boy. Nevertheless, he has so much talent and inspiration, and his perfect songs are yet to come

Ed Sheeran 3, 2013Ed

Edward Christopher Sheeran (/ˈʃɪərən/; born 17 February 1991) is an English singer, songwriter, musician, record producer, actor, and businessman. After first recording music in 2004, he began gaining attention through YouTube. In early 2011, Sheeran independently released the extended play, No. 5 Collaborations Project. He signed with Asylum Records the same year.

Sheeran’s debut album, + (pronounced “plus”), was released in September 2011 and topped the UK Albums Chart. It contained his first hit single “The A Team“. In 2012, Sheeran won the Brit Awards for Best British Male Solo Artist and British Breakthrough Act. Sheeran’s second studio album, × (pronounced “multiply”), was released in June 2014. It was named the second-best-selling album worldwide of 2015. In the same year, × won Album of the Year at the 2015 Brit Awards, and he received the Ivor Novello Award for Songwriter of the Year from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors. A single from ×, “Thinking Out Loud“, earned him the 2016 Grammy Awards for Song of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance.

Sheeran’s third album, ÷ (pronounced “divide”), was released in March 2017, and was the best-selling album worldwide of 2017. The first two singles from the album, “Shape of You” and “Castle on the Hill“, broke records in a number of countries by debuting in the top two positions of the charts. He also became the first artist to have two songs debut in the US top 10 in the same week. By March 2017, Sheeran had accumulated ten top 10 singles from ÷ on the UK Singles Chart, breaking the record for most top 10 UK singles from one album. His fourth single from ÷, “Perfect“, reached number one in the US, Australia and the UK, where it became the Christmas number one in 2017. The world’s best-selling artist of 2017, he was named the Global Recording Artist of the Year. Released in 2019, his fourth studio album No.6 Collaborations Project debuted at number one in most major markets, and spawned three UK number one singles, “I Don’t Care“, “Beautiful People” and “Take Me Back to London“.

Sheeran has sold more than 150 million records worldwide, making him one of the world’s best-selling music artists.[6] He has 84.5 million RIAA-certified units in the US,[7] and two of his albums are in the list of the best-selling albums in UK chart history× at number 20, and ÷ at number 34. In December 2019, the Official Charts Company named him artist of the decade, with the most combined success in the UK album and singles charts in the 2010s.[8] Globally, Spotify named him the second most streamed artist of the decade.[8] Beginning in March 2017, his ÷ Tour became the highest-grossing of all time in August 2019. An alumnus of the National Youth Theatre in London, Sheeran’s acting roles include appearing in the 2019 film Yesterday.

Early life and education

Framlingham Castle in Sheeran’s home town. The castle and his upbringing in Framlingham is the subject of his 2017 single “Castle on the Hill“.[9]

Edward Christopher Sheeran was born in Halifax, West Yorkshire, England on 17 February 1991.[3][10] His early childhood home was on Birchcliffe Road in nearby Hebden Bridge.[11] His father was a curator at Cartwright Hall in Bradford and his mother worked at Manchester City Art Gallery.[11] In December 1995 he moved with his family from Hebden Bridge to Framlingham in Suffolk.[12][13] He has an older brother named Matthew, who works as a composer.[14] Sheeran’s parents, John and Imogen, are from London. His paternal grandparents are Irish,[15][16][17] and Sheeran has stated that his father is from a “very large” Catholic family.[18] John is an art curator and lecturer, and Imogen is a culture publicist turned jewellery designer.[16][19] His parents ran Sheeran Lock, an independent art consultancy, from 1990 to 2010.[20]

Sheeran sang at a local church choir at the age of four, learned how to play the guitar at age eleven,[21] and began writing songs while at Thomas Mills High School in Framlingham.[22][23] A 2004 school report described him as a “natural performer”, and his classmates also voted him “most likely to be famous”.[24] He was accepted at the National Youth Theatre in London as a teenager.[25][26] He successfully auditioned for Youth Music Theatre UK in 2007 and joined their production of Frankenstein in Plymouth.[27] He is a patron of Youth Music Theatre UK (now renamed British Youth Music Theatre)[28] and of Access to Music, where he studied Artist Development.[29][30] Sheeran is a second cousin of Northern Irish broadcaster Gordon Burns,[31] who hosted the British game show The Krypton Factor.[16]


2004–2010: Career beginnings

Sheeran performing at the Ipswich Arts Festival in July 2010

Sheeran began recording music in 2004 and independently released his first collection of work Spinning Man.[A] He has been friends with fellow English singer, Passenger, since he was 15, with the two playing the same gig in Cambridge.[33] He moved to London in 2008 and began playing in small venues. In 2008, he auditioned for the ITV series Britannia High.[34] He also opened for Nizlopi in Norwich in April 2008, after being one of their guitar technicians.[23] In the autumn of 2009, Sheeran began studying music at the Academy of Contemporary Music (ACM) in Guildford, Surrey as an undergraduate at the age 18,[35] but left without permission in the same year to support hip-hop artist Just Jack.[36] He released another EP in 2009, You Need Me, and also collaborated several times with Essex singer Leddra Chapman, including CeeLo Green‘s “Fuck You“. In February 2010, Sheeran posted a video through SB.TV, and rapper Example invited Sheeran to tour with him. In the same month, he also released his critically acclaimed Loose Change EP, which featured his future debut single, “The A Team“.[37]

Sheeran began to be seen by more people over the internet through YouTube and his fan base expanded, with him also receiving praise from The Independent newspaper and Elton John.[38] He played a Station Session in St. Pancras International in June 2010.[39][40] The episode is unavailable from the official Station Sessions channel.[41] 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 Amy Wadge.[42] When in Los Angeles in 2010, he was invited to perform at The Foxxhole, a club run by actor Jamie Foxx, which ended with an invitation to stay at Foxx’s home.[43]

On 8 January 2011, Sheeran released another independent EP, No. 5 Collaborations Project, featuring grime artists such as WileyJmeDevlinSway and Ghetts.[44] With this EP, Sheeran gained mainstream attention for having reached number 2 in the iTunes chart without any promotion or label, selling over 7,000 copies in the first week.[45] Three months later, Sheeran put on a free show to fans at the Barfly in Camden Town. Over 1,000 fans turned up, so Sheeran played four different shows to ensure everyone saw a gig, including a gig outside on the street after the venue had closed. Later that month, Sheeran was signed to Asylum Records.[45]

2011–2013: + 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, + (pronounced “plus”).[46] “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.[47] 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.[48] “Lego House” was released as the third single, reaching the top ten on the Australian, Irish and New Zealand Singles Charts.[49] The music video for “Lego House” features actor Rupert Grint, as a play on their similar appearance.[50] “Drunk“, released on 19 February 2012, became Sheeran’s fourth consecutive top ten single in the UK, peaking at number nine.[51]

Sheeran at the Frequency Festival in Austria, August 2012

Sheeran released + on 12 September 2011. The album received generally favourable reviews from music critics.[52] + debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart for sales of 102,000 copies.[53] By end of 2011, sales of the album in the UK stand at 791,000; it became the second best-selling debut album and the ninth biggest-selling album there.[54] The album has been certified platinum six times by the British Phonographic Industry, denoting shipments of 1,800,000 copies.[55] As of March 2012, the album had sold 1,021,072 copies in the UK.[56] The album also reached the top five in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand and the US.[57][58][59]

The song, “Moments“, on the debut album by boy band One Direction, released in November 2011, was co-written by Sheeran.[60] At the 2012 Brit Awards on 21 February, Sheeran won the Brit Awards for Best British Male Solo Artist, and British Breakthrough Act of the Year.[61][62] On 10 January 2012, it was announced that Sheeran would support Snow Patrol on their US tour from late March until May.[63] His song, “Give Me Love“, was featured in the episode “Dangerous Liaisons” of The Vampire Diaries.[64] At the 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” for Best Song Musically and Lyrically.[65] Sheeran performed “The A Team” at the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II concert held on The Mall outside Buckingham Palace on 4 June 2012 and a cover of Pink Floyd‘s “Wish You Were Here” at the closing ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London on 12 August 2012.[66]

Taylor Swift contacted Sheeran after hearing his music while touring Australia in March 2012.[67] He later co-wrote and provided vocals for “Everything Has Changed“, a single featured on Swift’s fourth studio album, Red. Sheeran also contributed two songs to One Direction’s second studio album, Take Me Home, released in November 2012; the single “Little Things” became the group’s second number-one in the UK.[68] Sheeran’s album peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard 200, while “The A Team” reached No. 16 on the US Billboard Hot 100.[67] In late 2012 and early 2013, he headlined a US tour of 6,000–9,000 capacity venues.[67] “The A Team” received a nomination for Song of the Year at the 2013 Grammy Awards.[69] Elton John, who runs Sheeran’s management company, canvassed the award organisers 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.[70] Sheeran was also featured on some tracks from Irish singer Foy Vance‘s fourth album Joy of Nothing.[71]

From March to September 2013, Sheeran played at arenas and stadiums across North America as the opening act for Swift’s The Red Tour.[72][73] According to Sheeran, it was then his biggest tour, and he added a scarlet RED tattoo to commemorate it.[74] In October 2013, Sheeran headlined three sold-out shows at New York’s Madison Square Garden.[73][75][76] At the concert, Sheeran debuted new songs, including “Tenerife Sea“,[77] a future track on his second studio album. Sheeran released “I See Fire” on 5 November 2013. The song is featured in the end credits of the film The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaugthe film’s soundtrack, and on the deluxe version of his second album.[78] Sheeran was nominated for Best New Artist at the 2014 Grammy Awards.[79]

2014–2015: ×

On 24 March 2014, Sheeran performed at the Teenage Cancer Trust charity concert at the Royal Albert Hall in London where he unveiled “Take It Back”, a track that would appear on the deluxe version of the second album.[80] “Sing“, the lead single, was released on 7 April 2014. Sonically, the song is a departure from Sheeran’s previous recordings.[81][82] “Sing” was intended to create hype over the album release, but from concern that this might alienate Sheeran’s fan base, “One“, an acoustic ballad, was released on 16 May 2014;[73][83] “One” also marked the first of several promotional singles released leading to the album release. By early June 2014, “Sing” had earned Sheeran his first number-one single in the UK.[84]

Sheeran’s second studio album, × (pronounced “multiply”), was released worldwide on 23 June 2014. Spanning three years, Sheeran wrote more than 120 songs for the album.[85] The album features tracks produced by Rick RubinPharrell Williams and Benny Blanco,[85] as well as that of Gosling’s.[81] × peaked at number one in both the UK Albums Chart and the US Billboard 200. To support the album, Sheeran embarked on a world tour starting on 6 August 2014 at Osaka, Japan. On 27 September 2014, Sheeran was one of the headline acts at the Melbourne Cricket Ground prior to the 2014 AFL Grand Final.[86] Following “Don’t“, “Thinking Out Loud” was released on 24 September 2014 as the album’s third single. Unlike his previous music videos, Sheeran took the lead role in the single’s accompaniment, where he performed a ballroom dance.[87] It became his second single to reach number one in the UK,[88] and it also spent eight weeks at number two on the US Billboard Hot 100 (with only “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars keeping it from top spot).[89] In 2014, combined streams on Sheeran’s catalogue in Spotify reached 860 million; Spotify named him the most-streamed artist and × the most-streamed album.[90] In the same year, the album made Sheeran iTunes‘ best-selling artist in the UK, Ireland and New Zealand.[91][92]

Sheeran on stage at Wembley Stadium, July 2015

× was nominated for Album of the Year at the 57th Grammy Awards.[93] Sheeran performed “Thinking Out Loud” alongside John MayerQuestlove and Herbie Hancock at the ceremony.[94] On 25 February, Sheeran won British Male Solo Artist and British Album of the Year for × at the 2015 Brit Awards.[95] On 21 May he received the Ivor Novello Award for Songwriter of the Year.[96] 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.[97][98] 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.[99] 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.[100] 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.[101] 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.[102]

In 2015, Sheeran wrote “Love Yourself” for Justin Bieber‘s fourth album.[103] Sheeran had initially planned to put the song on his third album ÷ and added that the track would have been scrapped before Bieber took the song.[104] In August 2015, he sang along with Macklemore on the track “Growing Up”.[105] On 26 September, Sheeran performed at the 2015 Global Citizen Festival in Central Park‘s Great Lawn in New York, an event organised by Coldplay lead singer, Chris Martin, that advocates an end to extreme global poverty. Sheeran headlined the festival along with Beyoncé, Coldplay, and Pearl Jam. The festival was broadcast on NBC in the US on 27 September and the BBC in the UK on 28 September.[106] Sheeran co-hosted the 2015 MTV Europe Music Awards on 25 October in Milan, Italy. He won the awards for Best Live Act and Best Live Stage;[107] the latter was in recognition for his performance at the 2014 V Festival in England.[108] Sheeran won the Breakthrough award at the 2015 Billboard Touring Awards.[109] His single from ×, “Thinking Out Loud”, earned him two Grammy Awards at the 2016 ceremonySong of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance.[110] In May 2016, × was named the second-best-selling album worldwide in 2015, behind 25 by Adele.[111]

2016–2018: 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.[112] 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.[113] The album debuted at number one in the UK, the US, Germany, Australia, Canada and other major markets.[114][115][116] With first week sales of 672,000 it is the fastest selling album by a male solo artist in the UK, and third fastest in UK chart history behind 25 by Adele and Be Here Now by Oasis.[114] It had the biggest first week sales of 2017 in the US, until it was surpassed by Taylor Swift’s Reputation.[115]

On 6 January, Sheeran released two singles, “Shape of You” and “Castle on the Hill“; the theme of the latter single influences Sheeran’s upbringing in his home town of Framlingham in Suffolk, with the castle referring to Framlingham Castle.[117] Following the release of these singles, Sheeran co-hosted 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.[118] 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.[119] Both singles went on to break the Spotify day one streaming record, with a combined total of over 13 million streams in 24 hours.[120]

On 13 January, “Shape of You” and “Castle on the Hill” entered the UK Singles Chart at number one and number two, the first time in history an artist has taken the top two UK chart positions with new songs.[121] The same day he also became the first artist to debut at number one and number two on the German Single Charts.[122] On 15 January, the songs debuted at number one and number two on the ARIA Singles Chart, the first time this has been achieved in the history of the Australian chart.[123] On 17 January, “Shape of You” debuted at number one on the US Billboard Hot 100, while “Castle on the Hill” entered at number six; this made Sheeran the first artist ever to have two songs simultaneously debut in the US top 10.[124]

Sheeran performing in Miami during his Divide Tour, August 2017. It became the most attended, and highest-grossing tour of all time in August 2019.[125]

On 26 January, Sheeran announced dates for the beginning of the Divide Tour with shows in Europe, South America and North America from 17 March until 14 June 2017.[126] On 17 February, Sheeran released “How Would You Feel (Paean)“. Though not an official single, the song peaked at number two in the UK.[127] By 11 March 2017 Sheeran had accumulated ten top 10 singles from ÷ on the UK Singles Chart, breaking Scottish DJ Calvin Harris‘s record of nine top 10 singles from one album.[128] On 25 June, Sheeran headlined the final night of Glastonbury, performing in front of 135,000 people.[129] At the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards Sheeran was named Artist of the Year.[130] The fourth single from ÷, “Perfect“, reached number one in the UK and Australia, and a stripped-down acoustic version of the song titled “Perfect Duet”, a collaboration with Beyoncé, reached number one in the US and the UK,[131][132] becoming the year’s UK Christmas number one.[133] On 7 November, Taylor Swift revealed that Sheeran collaborated on the song “End Game” for her sixth studio album Reputation.[134] The song, which also features rapper Future, was released on 10 November.[135]

On 4 December, Sheeran was named Spotify‘s most streamed artist of 2017 with 6.3 billion streams. He has Spotify’s biggest album of the year with ÷ streamed 3.1 billion times, and the top song with “Shape of You” with 1.4 billion streams.[136] On 5 December 2017, hip-hop artist Eminem announced that Sheeran had collaborated on the song “River” for his ninth studio album Revival.[137] On working with Eminem, Sheeran stated, “He is one of the reasons I started writing songs, and was such a pleasure to work with him.”[137] Speaking on The Late Late Show on Irish television on 15 December, Sheeran stated he has a theme song written for a James Bond film in case he gets the call from producers of the film series.[138] In December 2017, Sheeran appeared on BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge, performing his song “Perfect” and a duet of The Pogues’ festive classic “Fairytale of New York” with Anne-Marie.[139]

On 3 January 2018, “Shape of You” was named the best selling single of 2017 in the UK,[140] and the best selling single of 2017 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US.[141] The same day, ÷ was named the best selling album of 2017 in the UK,[142] and the US.[143] As the best-selling artist worldwide for 2017 the IFPI named him the Global Recording Artist of the Year.[144] 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 from Elton John and Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood.[145] Sheeran played to over 950,000 people in Australia and New Zealand in March and April, making it the biggest concert tour in Australasian music history, overtaking the previous record set by Dire Straits in 1986.[146] In April, the IFPI named ÷ the best-selling album worldwide of 2017.[147] 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.[148] In 2018 Sheeran wrote songs for boy bands. “Trust Fund Baby“, by Why Don’t We, was released on 1 February 2018,[149] and “Summer On You”, by PrettyMuch, was released on 21 June 2018.[150]

2019–present: No.6 Collaborations Project and second hiatus

On 10 May 2019, Sheeran released the single “I Don’t Care“, a duet with Justin Bieber, from his fourth studio album No.6 Collaborations Project. On Spotify, “I Don’t Care” debuted with 10.977 million daily global streams, breaking the platform’s single-day streaming record.[151][152] The song debuted at number one in the UK, Australia and other markets, and number two in the US.[153][154] On 31 May, “Cross Me” featuring Chance the Rapper and PnB Rock, debuted at number 9 in the UK.[155] Released on 28 June 2019, “Beautiful People” featuring Khalid debuted at number 3 in the UK and number 4 in Australia.[156] On 5 July, Sheeran released two new songs, “Best Part of Me” featuring Yebba, and “Blow” with Bruno Mars and Chris Stapleton. On 12 July, he released the album, along with “Antisocial” with Travis Scott.[157] The album debuted at number one in the UK, the US, Australia and other markets.[158][159] As of 9 August 2019, his four albums have spent a combined 41 weeks at number one in the UK, the most weeks at number one in the UK Album Charts in the 2010s, five weeks more than Adele in second.[160][161] On 26 August, Sheeran wrapped up the 260-show Divide Tour with the last of four homecoming gigs in Ipswich, Suffolk.[162] On 30 August, the seventh single from the album, “Take Me Back to London” featuring Stormzy, reached number one in the UK.[163]

In 2019, Sheeran co-wrote country music singer Kenny Chesney‘s single “Tip of My Tongue“.[164] In December 2019, Sheeran was named artist of the decade by the Official Charts Company for being the most successful performer in the UK album and singles charts of the 2010s.[8] Eight of his songs featured in the Official Chart Company’s chart of the decade with three songs inside the top 5 – “Shape of You” was named number one.[165] Globally, Spotify named him the second most streamed artist of the decade behind Drake.[8] On 21 December 2020, after being on hiatus after having his first child with Cherry Seaborn in August, he released the surprise single, “Afterglow“.[166]

Plagiarism accusations and lawsuits

In 2017, the team behind TLC‘s song “No Scrubs” were given writing credits on Sheeran’s hit song “Shape of You” after fans and critics found similarities between elements of the two songs.[167] Also in 2017, Sheeran settled out of court over claims his song “Photograph” was a “note-for-note” copy of the chorus in the song “Amazing” by X Factor UK winner Matt Cardle.[168]

In 2018, legal action was brought against Sheeran, Sony/ATV Music Publishing and Atlantic Records by the estate and heirs of the late producer Ed Townsend, who co-wrote the song “Let’s Get It On” with Marvin Gaye. US District Judge Louis Stanton rejected Sheeran’s call for a legal case accusing him of copying parts of the song in “Thinking Out Loud“ to be dismissed in January 2019. Stanton said that a jury should decide but that he found “substantial similarities between several of the two works’ musical elements”.[169] A previous case by Townsend’s estate was dismissed without prejudice in February 2017.[170]


Sheeran appeared on stage with his idol Eric Clapton at the Nippon Budokan Arena in Tokyo, Japan on 13 April 2016 performing Clapton’s “I Will Be There”

Sheeran’s earliest memories include listening to the records of Joni MitchellBob Dylan and Elton John‘s Greatest Hits.[43] According to Sheeran, the album that introduced him to music was Van Morrison‘s Irish Heartbeat.[16] During his childhood his father took him to live concerts that would inspire his musical creations. These included seeing Eric Clapton at the Royal Albert HallPaul McCartney in Birmingham, and Bob Dylan.[171] On the influence of Clapton, Sheeran states, “He’s the reason I started playing guitar”.[21] He singled out Clapton’s performance at the Party at the Palace in the grounds of Buckingham Palace, “I was eleven when I saw Eric Clapton play at the Queen’s Golden Jubilee concert in June 2002. I remember him walking on stage with this rainbow-coloured Stratocaster and playing the first riff of “Layla“. I was hooked. Two days later I bought a black Stratocaster copy for £30 that came with an amp. All I did for the next month was try to play that Layla riff.”[172]

He has also cited The BeatlesNizlopi and Eminem as his biggest musical influences.[173][174] According to Sheeran, he had a stutter in his speech when he was younger, and he credited rapping along to Eminem’s The Marshall Mathers LP for helping him stammer less.[175] He was also inspired by “Cannonball” singer-songwriter Damien Rice in 2002, with Sheeran stating, “seeing him play this small club in Ireland, I was able to meet him, and he was unbelievably cool. I went straight home and started writing songs. I would not be doing what I’m doing now if he’d been a jerk.”[176] He also played the guitar to Westlife’s Greatest hits album when he was ten, citing them as one of his influences.[177][178] Sheeran collaborated with his idol Eric Clapton in April 2016, with Sheeran stating to People magazine, “I sang on Eric Clapton’s album I Still Do. It’s one thing having him on mine, but being his, that’s an honour that you can’t ever pinpoint on how great that is. I did something for his record, and I was credited as ‘Angelo Mysterioso,’ appearing as a guest on Clapton’s “I Will Be There”, in addition to performing the song with Clapton on stage, and he did something for my record performing a guitar solo on “Dive” on Sheeran’s album ÷ and was credited as ‘Angelo Mysterioso.'”[21] Sheeran also cited Taylor Swift as one of his influences, suggesting in 2015 their respective success drives each other on.[179] Sheeran and his work have influenced various recording artists, including Shawn Mendes,[180] Louis Tomlinson,[181] Camila Cabello,[182] and Cody Simpson,[183] while English singer Hrvy has called him “such a good songwriter”.[184]

Other ventures

Gingerbread Man Records

In March 2015, Sheeran announced he was setting up a record label, Gingerbread Man Records, which is a deal with Warner Music Group.[185] The label was launched in August 2015 alongside its accompanying YouTube channel.[186] Jamie Lawson, the label’s first signee, met Sheeran while they were both in London’s folk circuit.[187] Lawson released his self-titled debut album on 9 October 2015, which has earned him a number one in the UK Albums Chart.[188] Sheeran signed his second artist, Foy Vance, in November 2015.[189]

Bertie Blossoms

On 29 September 2019, Sheeran announced he is teaming up with his manager Stuart Camp and have opened a bar located on Portobello Road in Notting Hill. The bar is called “Bertie Blossoms”, and named after his wife Cherry Seaborn.[190]

Charity work

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.[191]

Sheeran often wears hoodies or tartan shirts, and frequently donates his clothes to charity shops in Suffolk

Sheeran frequently gives away his clothes to charity shops around Suffolk, his home county.[192] An ambassador for East Anglia‘s Children’s Hospice, he has donated clothes to the St Elizabeth Hospice charity shop in his home town Framlingham, including eight bags of clothes to the shop in February 2014.[193] In 2016 he donated 13 bags of clothes to the shop.[194] The tartan shirt worn by Sheeran when he met Renee Zellweger’s character, Bridget, in Bridget Jones’s Baby, was auctioned online to raise further funds for the hospice.[194]

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 West African Ebola virus epidemic.[195]

In November 2015, Sheeran supported the No Cold Homes campaign by the UK charity, Turn2us.[196] Sheeran was one of nearly thirty celebrities, which included Helen MirrenJeremy Irons and Hugh Laurie, to donate items of winter clothing to the campaign, with the proceeds used to help people in the country struggling to keep their home warm in winter.[197]

Sheeran teamed up with the cast of the BBC3 mockumentary sitcom People Just Do Nothing to perform a charity single for the BBC’s biennial telethon Comic Relief which aired in March 2017.[198] He appeared in a November 2017 episode of Gogglebox along with other UK celebrities such as Ozzy Osbourne, former Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher, and Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn as part of Channel 4 and Cancer Research UK‘s Stand Up to Cancer fundraising campaign.[199]

In December 2019, he launched his own music foundation, Ed Sheeran Suffolk Music Foundation (ESSMF). In the statement, Sheeran stated it will help artists aged under 18 with “small but hopefully useful grants”.[200] In May 2020, Sheeran donated £170,000 to his former school Thomas Mills High School in Framlingham, Suffolk. The donations, which have been made over a two-year period via the Ed Sheeran Suffolk Music Foundation, helped the school to purchase items such as MacBooks, cameras and a photography darkroom.[201] The same month, Sheeran made a donation to Ipswich Hospital.[202] In June 2020, Sheeran made a “founding gift” to launch Suffolk Community Foundation’s “Rebuilding Local Lives Appeal” in response to the COVID-19 pandemic on the celebration day of the county, “Suffolk Day”. Sheeran has donated over £1 million to local charities in Suffolk amid the COVID-19 pandemic, including to a children’s hospital ward.[203]

Sheeran’s parents organised The Ed Sheeran Made in Suffolk Legacy Auction on 23 October 2020 which ran until 8 November. The auction had 220 lots, including items donated by other celebrities such as David BeckhamKylie Minogue and Usain Bolt. Sheeran has donated some of his personal items including handwritten lyrics from his song “Perfect”, lego bricks he played with as a kid, handmade You Need Me EP from 2009 and a £3 ticket to his first gig at the British Legion in Framlingham. The auction was made to raise money for Suffolk charities such as GeeWizz and Zest who both support children and young adults in the county, including redeveloping a playground for kids with special educational needs and disabilities in Ipswich. In November Sheeran sold one of his paintings, marking the first and only time his art has been made available for sale, which he titled “Dab 2 2020”, to the same auction.[204] Later that month, Sheeran backed footballer Marcus Rashford’s free school meals campaign and opened his own breakfast club at his Notting Hill restaurant, Bertie Blossoms. He announced on his Instagram that he provided hot breakfasts for “anyone who is normally entitled to a free school meal or who is struggling in these strange times”.[205] Sheeran’s charity, the Framlingham Foundation Trust, is reported to have donated money to give a primary school teacher to take an imperative course to help children create songs with untraditional instruments which will benefit children with learning difficulties.[206]


Heinz ”Edchup”, released after Sheeran appeared in a 2019 advert for the company

Sheeran made his acting debut in 2014, a cameo role as himself on New Zealand soap opera Shortland Street, filmed while he was in the country for a one-off performance.[207] In May 2015, he appeared as himself and performed on a live episode of the NBC sitcom Undateable.[208] Later that year, while in Australia, he recorded scenes for the soap Home and Away, as a character based on himself.[209]

After recording a cover version of Foy Vance‘s “Make It Rain” for Sons of Anarchy, Sheeran was cast by creator Kurt Sutter to play Sir Cormac in the medieval drama The Bastard Executioner on FX.[210] Sheeran also appeared as himself in the 2016 film Bridget Jones’s Baby in a scene where Bridget Jones, played by Renée Zellweger, encounters the singer at the Glastonbury Festival.[211]

In July 2017, Sheeran appeared in a scene on Game of Thrones opposite Maisie Williams, who plays Arya Stark.[212] David Benioff explained that since Williams was a big fan of the singer, they wanted to have Sheeran appear on the show to surprise Williams, and that they had tried to get him on for years.[213] It received a mix of positive and very negative reviews.[214][215]

In June 2019, Sheeran made his debut appearance in an advertisement for Heinz Tomato Ketchup.[216] A lifelong fan of the product — he has it with everything from fish and chips to his morning sausage “butty” to upmarket dinners, carries a bottle on tour, and has a Heinz Ketchup tattoo on his arm — he put forward an idea he had written for their next TV campaign, and the company responded.[216][217] A representative from Heinz started that “1/3 of @HEINZ Instagram posts include people mentioning or tagging Ed, dating all the way back to 2014.”[218] Poking fun at people who turn their nose up at those who ask for ketchup in fancy restaurants, the advert sees him walking into a “super posh” restaurant while narrating the message he had sent to the company. As the other wealthy diners look on in horror at the sight of a ketchup bottle, he flips the bottle, bangs it against his hand to budge the ketchup and smothers it all over his food. The company released a limited edition ketchup product known as Ed Sheeran X Heinz ketchup, also known as “Heinz Edchup”.[216]

Released in June 2019, Sheeran appeared as himself in a supporting role in the Richard Curtis/Danny Boyle film Yesterday, a film about a struggling singer/songwriter, who after a freak bus accident in the middle of a mysterious worldwide blackout, finds himself in a world where nobody else is aware of the Beatles having ever existed.[219]

Personal life

Sheeran’s tattoos are either connected to his family, achievements or memories

In early 2011, after securing recording and publishing deals, Sheeran purchased and renovated a farm near Framlingham, Suffolk, where he was raised. He has stated that he hopes to raise a family there.[73][220] During 2013, he lived between Hendersonville, Tennessee[221] and Los Angeles, California.[222] In 2014, he bought a house in South London.[73]

Sheeran was in a relationship with Scottish singer-songwriter Nina Nesbitt (who was in his music video for “Drunk“) in 2012, before breaking up.[223] Nesbitt is the subject of Sheeran’s songs “Nina” and “Photograph“, while most of Nesbitt’s album, Peroxide, is about Sheeran.[223] In January 2014, Sheeran was in a relationship with Athina Andrelos, who works for chef Jamie Oliver.[224] She is the inspiration of Sheeran’s song “Thinking Out Loud“.[225] They broke up in February 2015.[225] He is also close friends with singer-songwriter Taylor Swift, and collaborated on her albums Red and Reputation.[21]

Since July 2015, Sheeran has been in a relationship with childhood friend and former secondary school classmate Cherry Seaborn.[226] They announced their engagement in January 2018 and were married a year later.[227][228] She is the inspiration of the song “Perfect“.[229] It was reported on 12 August 2020 that the couple were expecting their first child.[230][231] On 1 September, Sheeran announced on Instagram that Seaborn had given birth to a baby girl the previous week. They named their daughter Lyra Antarctica Seaborn Sheeran.[232]

Sheeran is a supporter of his local football club Ipswich Town F.C.[233] and will be the club’s shirt sponsor for the 2021-22 season. A logo of the mathematical symbols from Sheeran’s albums alongside the word ‘Tour’ will feature on the shirts.[234] A collector of Panini’s FIFA World Cup sticker album, he completed the 2014 World Cup album.[235] Appearing as a guest on BBC Radio 4‘s Desert Island Discs on 7 May 2017, Sheeran chose His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman as his book of choice, and a lifetime supply of ketchup as the one inanimate luxury item that he would take with him on a desert island.[236]

In June 2015, Forbes listed his earnings at $57 million for the previous 12 months, and ranked him the 27th-highest-earning celebrity in the world.[237] In July 2018, Forbes named Sheeran 9th on their list of the highest paid celebrities.[238] According to The Sunday Times Rich List of 2019, Sheeran is worth £160 million ($207 million) as the 17th richest musician in the UK.[239] Sheeran’s net worth is estimated at £200 million in 2020.[240]


Sheeran publicly opposed Brexit (UK leaving the European Union), and supported the “remain” option. Following the June 2016 referendum result where the British public voted to leave, Sheeran was among a group of British musicians (which included StingQueen drummer Roger TaylorPink Floyd drummer Nick Mason and Damon Albarn of Blur and Gorillaz) who signed a letter to the Prime Minister Theresa May, drafted by Bob Geldof in October 2018, calling for “a 2nd vote”. Stating that Brexit will “impact every aspect of the music industry. From touring to sales, to copyright legislation to royalty collation”, the letter adds: “We dominate the market and our bands, singers, musicians, writers, producers and engineers work all over Europe and the world and in turn, Europe and the world come to us. Why? Because we are brilliant at it … [Our music] reaches out, all inclusive, and embraces anyone and everyone. And that truly is what Britain is.”[241]

In 2017, Sheeran publicly endorsed the British Labour Party and described himself as a “fan” of its then-leader Jeremy Corbyn, while adding that “I’m not Mr Political. I vote the way I feel I should, but won’t tell somebody else what to do.”[242] In 2020, Sheeran changed his Instagram profile picture to a message of support for the Black Lives Matter movement.[243]


On 19 October 2015, Sheeran received an honorary degree from the University of Suffolk in Ipswich for his “outstanding contribution to music”.[244] Sheeran commented: “Suffolk is very much where I call home. Receiving this recognition is a real privilege.”[244] He was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2017 Birthday Honours for “services to music and charity”.[245] Sheeran received the award from Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace on 7 December 2017.[246] In 2012, he was named a baron of Sealand.[247]

In addition to having the highest-grossing concert tour and being one of the world’s best-selling music artists with more than 150 million records sold, Sheeran has received a number of awards. As of 2019, he has received four Grammy Awards (including Song of the Year in 2016 for “Thinking Out Loud”), five Brit Awards (including British Male Solo Artist in 2015), and six Billboard Music Awards (including Top Artist in 2018).[95][110][148] In 2015 and 2018, he received the Ivor Novello Award for Songwriter of the Year from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers, and Authors.[96][248]

Although he regards Suffolk as home having moved to the county as a child, Sheeran was recognised by his county of birth in a 2018 poll when he was ranked the fourth greatest Yorkshireman ever behind Monty Python comedian Michael Palin, and actors Sean Bean and Patrick Stewart.[249]



  1. ^ “In 2004, I made my very first album, Spinning Man, named after a picture that my dad had. I burnt the CDs myself and made the covers. There were 14 songs and they were all songs that rhymed. One lyric went: ‘I’m a typical average teen, if you know what I mean.’ There are probably 20 copies of Spinning Man in existence and I have 19 of them. I don’t want anyone else to get hold of a copy. Most of the songs were about a girl named Claire. She was my first love when I was 13. It was a very innocent love and we only ever held hands, but it lasted a fair amount of time. Then came my first devastating break-up. Looking back, it really wasn’t that bad, but at the time it was soul-shattering. When she left me, I wrote a lot of songs off the back of it – my first love songs.”[32]

Credit: Wikipedia

More songs:



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