Ed Sheeran will be playing a concert at the Xfinity Center on Tuesday September 9th as part of the tour surrounding his most recent album. However, Sheeran’s rise to fame was not a smooth one. Always having dreamed of being a musician, Sheeran had to work hard and persevere to become the celebrated singer and songwriter that he is today.
Sheeran’s early career is documented in his music. In the song “You Need Me, I Don’t Need You,” Sheeran sings “I’m selling CDs from my rucksack aiming for the papers / Selling CDs from my rucksack aiming for the majors / Nationwide tour with Just Jack, still had to get the bus back / Clean cut kid without a razor for the mustache.”
Instead of going to university, Sheeran moved to London, where he played at gigs for about four years. At that point, he lost his place to live. Still, he continued playing, spending nights on his friend’s couches. He even admitted during a documentary with MTV that, at some gigs, he would ask audience members if he could stay at anyone’s house for the night. Sheeran openly states that there were times, when he didn’t have a couch to sleep on or money to spend, that he did think about giving up.
In that same documentary Sheeran stated in 2010, he had saved up enough money between gigs and CD sales to move to Los Angeles, hoping to get signed by a record company. While playing a poetry night in LA, he met Jamie Foxx’s manager and found himself on Foxx’s show, Foxxhole Radio. He was later invited to a party at Foxx’s home, and ended up staying there for a few days, before flying back to England to resume his gigs.
Sheeran later met Rick Rubin, who helped him edit his album, and Elton John, whose record company ended up signing Sheeran. The rest is history.
Sheeran released his first album, “+,” in 2011, followed by his second album, “x,” in 2014. He has also written songs for and with other big names, including One Direction and Taylor Swift.
Sheeran now plays shows around the world to millions of fans, but his past keeps him grounded. While Sheeran often tells interviewers about the times he has spent camped on different celebrities’ couches, he never got sucked into the Hollywood lifestyle. In his MTV documentary, he credits his hometown of Framlingham, Suffolk as “a very good place to stay grounded and come back to.” Sheeran continues staying in touch with his more humble roots, even as his songs play on the radio and millions of fans scream his name at what are now sold out concerts, rather than just poetry nights and gigs.
Sheeran’s story almost seems like a classic “rags to riches” tale, but it could never have been accomplished without his tireless hard work. His story of never giving up is echoed in his advice for upcoming musicians he offered during an interview with Interview Magazine: “I would say, you can never do enough gigs and you can never do enough songs. Make sure that every opportunity you can, play a show and every opportunity you can, write a song. The more you write tunes, the better they will become. The more you do gigs, the better you will become. It’s just kind of like the facts of life; the practice makes perfect thing. Keep your fingers crossed, start from the bottom and work your way up.”
You can check out Sheeran’s latest songs, as well as some old favorites when he brings his unique style to the Xfinity Center next Tuesday night.