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Tracking An Artist Through Their Career - Ed Sheeran
Tracking An Artist Through
Ed Sheeran’s Early Life
Edward Christopher "Ed" Sheeran was born on the 17th of February
1991 and is an English singer-songwriter and occasional actor.
Sheeran was born in Yorkshire and then moved to Suffolk as a child.
At the age of 4, he sang in a local church choir, began learning the
guitar at a young age and began writing songs during his time at
Thomas Mills High School in Framlingham. His childhood music
memories include; Van Morrison, Damien Rice, The Beatles and
Eminem and these artists became very influential towards him.
After dropping out of school at 16, he moved to London the following
year, in 2008, to pursue a career in music. He was accepted at the
National Youth Theatre in London as a teenager.
His parents ran Sheeran Lock, an independent art consultancy, from
1990 to 2010. Their work usually took them to London, and spent their
weekends travelling with their children. These trips were regular and
the Sheeran’s played music while travelling. Sheeran's early
childhood memories include listening to the records of Bob Dylan and
Eric Clapton. According to Sheeran, the first album that introduced
him to music was Van Morrison's Irish Heartbeat.
Beginning Of Sheeran’s Music
• Ed Sheeran began recording music in 2005, and released his first independent EP, The
Orange Room EP. He has been friends with fellow English singer Passenger since he was
15, with the two playing on the same gig in Cambridge.
• He moved to London in 2008, and began playing in small venues. During the same year, he
auditioned for the ITV series Britannia High.
• 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 Leddra Chapman, including CeeLo
Green's "F*ck You".
• In February 2010, Sheeran posted a video through SB.TV, and the rapper Example invited
him to tour with him. During the same year in February 2010, he also released his critically
acclaimed Loose Change EP, which featured his future debut single "The A Team“ which had
a lot of success.
• 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 bed 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 singer Amy Wadge.
• On 8 January 2011, Sheeran released another independent EP, No. 5 Collaborations Project,
featuring grime artists such as Wiley, JME, Devlin, Sway and Ghetts. With this EP, he was
able to gain mainstream attention and reached no.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 Town. 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 Records.
• In 2011"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. The lead single also became a top ten hit in Australia, Germany, Ireland,
Japan, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Norway and the Netherlands.
• Sheeran released + on 12 September 2011 and the album received generally favourable reviews
from music critics. The album has been certified platinum six times by the British Phonographic
Industry, denoting shipments of 1,800,000 copies. As of March 2012, the album had sold 1,021,072
copies in the UK. The album also reached the top five in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand
and the US.
• 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 Act of the
• 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.
• 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 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.
• From March to September 2013, he played at arenas and stadiums across North America as the
opening act for Swift's The Red Tour. According to Sheeran, it was then his biggest tour and added
a scarlet RED tattoo to commemorate it. In October 2013, Sheeran headlined three sold-out shows
at New York's Madison Square Garden, which has a capacity of 18,200.
• Sheeran released "I See Fire" on 5 November 2013, his first single in over two years. The song is
featured in the end credits of the film The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, the film's soundtrack,
and on the deluxe version of his second album. Sheeran was nominated for Best New Artist at the
2014 Grammy Awards.
Sheeran at the Frequency
Festival in Austria, August 2012
2014 – Present
• 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.
• Sheeran's second studio album, X was released worldwide on 23 June 2014. In a
span of three years, Sheeran wrote more than 120 songs for the album, the earliest
of which was composed shortly after + was released. The album features tracks
produced by Rick Rubin, Pharrell Williams and Benny Blanco, as well as that of
Gosling's. X 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.
• Following "Don't", "Thinking Out Loud" was released on 24 September 2014 as the
album's third single. Unlike on his previous music videos, Sheeran took the lead role
in the single's accompaniment, in which he performs a ballroom dance.
• In 2014, combined streams on Sheeran's catalogue in Spotify reached 860 million;
Spotify named him the most-streamed artist and X the most-streamed album. In the
same year, the album also earned Sheeran the distinction of being iTunes' biggest-
selling artist in the UK, Ireland and New Zealand.
• On 25 February, Sheeran won British Male Solo Artist and British Album of the Year
for x, at the 2015 Brit Awards.
• On 26 September, Sheeran performed at the 2015 Global Citizen Festival in Central
Park's Great Lawn in New York, an event organized 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.
• 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; the latter was in
recognition for his performance at the 2014 V Festival in England. Sheeran won the
Breakthrough award at the 2015 Billboard Touring Awards.
In March 2015, Sheeran revealed he was setting up a record label, Gingerbread Man Records, which is a
deal with Warner Music Group. The label was launched in August 2015 alongside its accompanying
YouTube channel. Jamie Lawson, the label's first signee, met Sheeran while they were both in
London's folk circuit. Lawson released his self-titled debut album on 9 October 2015, which has
earned him a number-one in the UK Albums Chart.
Gingerbread Man Records
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.
Sheeran frequently gives away his clothes to charity shops around his home county Suffolk.An ambassador for
East Anglia's Children's Hospice, he has donated clothes to the St Elizabeth Hospice charity shop in
Framlingham, including eight bags of clothes to the shop in February 2014, and eight items of clothing he wore
at the 2015 Grammy Awards.
How Has His Image Changed?
Ed Sheeran’s image hasn’t changed as much compared to other artists
during his transition from the streets to the stage. He doesn’t express a
fake identity and remains in his natural style of scruffy ginger hair and a
laid back dress sense of jeans, checked shirts and t shirts which hasn’t
changed since the start of his career.
In contrast to this, Ed Sheeran’s musical career has changed massively. Ed
Sheeran started off as a little boy busking on the streets at the age of 13
and now he’s at the age of 24 with the achievement of a lot of rewards for
his dedication to his music. Sheeran hasn’t changed his style in music but
his journey has been unique and the way he has used the internet to
promote himself has been incredible. He is now a huge role model to many
When Ed Sheeran moved to London he strived to get the opportunity to
do a gig. However, he often got paid through alcohol which often meant
he had been drinking before performing. After some harsh feedback from a
dedicated fan regarding his performance he never drank before a gig
Who Is His Target Audience?
Ed Sheeran has expressed many talents in
regards to his music. He is able to sing, rap and
beatbox which means he attracts a range of
audiences. Typically, it could be suggested that
his target audience is both male and female
aged 16-25 due to the content of his songs.
However, he attracts people of all ages which
could be due to him being so popular on the
internet in which his fans explore everyday.
How Does He Represent
In general male solo artists tend to generate a sex appeal
towards a female target audience. However, with Ed
Sheeran he has built up an extremely successful career
through his voice alone and his touching lyrics. He
contrasts with expectations of a male singer and doesn’t
rely on fashion, or his appearance. Some examples of male
singers who fit the stereotype would include Justin Bieber
and Chris Brown.