Many of us only know Ed Sheeran for who he is today. While his life today may seem glamorous, he had to struggle with a lot to get there. From having to deal with bullies and low self-esteem to a much sought-after musician, he is a shining example of why it is necessary that we all accept ourselves for who we are. A hit with all ages, his music has brought all kinds of people to a common platform. He might come out looking like any other bashful red-headed kid but he wins everyone over soon enough.
Keep reading to find out more about the life and times of Ed Sheeran:
An enduring love of music
Born on February 1991 in Halifax, England, his parents named him Edward Christopher Sheeran. His mother and father ran an art consultancy and he had a brother elder to him. He did not have an easy time making friends in school but he fell in love with music while still a child. After joining the church choir when he was four years old, he quickly learned how to play the guitar. He was just over a decade old when he began to write his own music after an encounter with Damien Rice. His interest in music was evident as was his talent.
The pros and cons of being a young Ed Sheeran
Every day at school was a challenge for him as his stuttering and enormous spectacles made him an easy target for bullies. A botched up operation resulted in him having a lazy eye and issues with speaking. When he attempted to speak in front of his classmates, his throat would close up and he’d be unable to make even a sound and when this made him the target of mockery, he simply stopped trying. But for all his issues with speech, he didn’t have any problems when he had to sing and play the guitar. He sang often at his church and has since stated that he was only ever in control when he was making music.
Being ginger didn’t do him any favors either. He quickly understood that red hair wasn’t considered conventionally handsome but he also figured out that ginger people had to work hard if they wanted to see things pan out for them. According to him, his red hair made him the artist he is today because it made him stand out from all the rest.
The beginnings of his musical career
His work with the speech therapist wasn’t showing much progress and he was terrified that he’d never get better. Then his dad got him his first Eminem CD and he was astounded at the rapper’s speed. He found inspiration in Eminem and knew all his lyrics at the age of ten.
Ed started making music on his own and at the same time, he stopped stuttering. He describes his journey in this poignant speech which you can listen to here:
Early on, he realized that music was what he was meant to do. He began doing performances in many places and in a short time he was able to book up to a dozen shows a week. He did this for four years and shortly after that he already had an audience buying his CDs.
When he turned fourteen, with just his guitar and some clothing, he traveled to London so that he could take a shot at a career in music.
The hard part
Difficult isn’t enough to describe his life on the road. Ed couch surfed or slept in the open. There were times when he didn’t even have the cash to buy himself some food and he came very close to quitting.
But he persevered and kept putting in performances where he could. He produced his own work, composed albums, auditioned and partnered with other musicians. In the year 2009, he’d performed in over 300 shows.
The power of the internet
Ed’s big break came in 2010 thanks to his efforts and the rise of social media. There were very few musicians who were using social networks back then and Ed was quick to realize their value. He began to post videos and soon enough, the rapper Example got in touch with and proposed a tour together.
This boosted his internet popularity and soon an international audience was watching his work on YouTube. The media were quick to catch on and the shy red-headed musician was being noticed by the rich and famous.
His dreams began to grow and he realized that to become better, he would have to go to the USA.
Meeting the celebs
Just like his move to London, he reached Los Angeles with no job and no roof over his head.
He started reaching out to whomever he could but no opportunities came up. He finally got a spot on a radio channel and by the time he had played for ten minutes, everyone around had risen to applaud.
The host for that show was none other than Jamie Foxx and this young man so intrigued him that he gave him access to his recording studio and offered him a place to stay for some time.
When he grabbed the No.2 spot on iTunes, Atlantic Records reached out to him and thus was born his first studio album “+” which quickly sold over 100,000 copies. In that year, it rose to the second best selling debut album in the United Kingdom and by the time the year was done; over a million copies had flown off the shelves.
He went on to work with One Direction and Taylor Swift and even wrote a song “I See Fire’ for the Hobbit. His second album “x” instantly shot to the number one spot in the United Kingdom and the United States and in 2016 a Grammy came his way.
Embrace your uniqueness
The tale of Ed Sheeran’s struggle is one many of us can stand to remember when we’re going through a hard time. It is always best to be who you are and not go with the rest of the herd. We all have that strength within us and we just need to accept ourselves as we are and never give up.