Featured Artist: Ed Sheeran

British-born Ed Sheeran has had the early success that most musicians dream of. When someone turns 21, at least in this country, they usually celebrate by heading to their local watering hole with their friends to celebrate reaching the age where one can legally consume alcohol. What did What did Sheeran do to celebrate his 21st birthday? He only played his largest show to date at Los Angeles’ Nokia Theater. The red headed singer/songwriter has won accolades from musicians across the board and has become one of the brightest talents in music today who also has one of the most dedicated fanbases for an up-and-comer outside of teeny-bopper that I’ve ever seen.

Born in Halifax, and raised in Framlingham, UK, Sheeran started singing when he was four and began writing songs during high school and was influenced by singers like Van Morrison and Damien Rice. While many kids were learning in math class or training to become professional football players (the international, not American version), Sheeran independently released his first album at the tender age of 14. Before his 17th birthday, the singer/songwriter already had an EP and two full-length to his name.

Having his eyes set on music stardom, in 2008, Sheeran left Framlingham for the bright lights of London. It wasn’t smooth sailing once Sheeran reached the country’s biggest city. He toiled anonymously for some time, playing no more than a handful of people on some nights. But not one to get down, the red headed singer pushed ahead and continued to play shows and lo behold, he gradually began to build a following. A year later, he released another EP, You Need Me, collaborated with friend Leddra Chapman and toured with Just Jack. His cover of Cee Lo Green’s “Fuck You” with Chapman ended up being a turning point in the then teenager’s career. Soon thereafter, people began to pay attention to Sheeran and led to him releasing the well-received Loose Change EP.

Sheeran did what every British singer has done: he set off to conquer America. Although Los Angeles proved to be a rough place to book a gig, Sheeran played numerous open mics across town before being seen by Oscar winning actor Jamie Foxx. Impressed by what he saw, Foxx invited the singer to record and stay at his Hollywood home until he headed back to England.

From there, his fanbase steadily grew. Praised by musicians like Elton John and footballers like Manchester United’s Rio Ferdinand, Sheeran’s YouTube channel began to rack up hits and his final independently released EP in 2011, No. 5 Collaborations Project, hit no. 2 on the UK iTunes charts. Atlantic/Asylum Records took notice, signed him and released his major label debut, +, which has grown in popularity since its release.

Since then, Sheeran has sold over million copies in England, seen his song “Moments” covered by British boy band One Direction, performances at the Diamond Jubilee and Summer Olympics closing ceremony, opening slots for Snow Patrol and Taylor Swift and a performance at this year’s Grammys with Elton John. Having already released a number of albums and toured like a seasoned pro, Ed Sheeran has a lot to look forward to in adulthood. With plans to relocate to Nashville in 2013 and tour throughout the year, the singer is as hungry as a seasoned vet and his strong work ethic and catchy tunes will keep endearing him to fans as his career progresses.

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