Ed Sheeran is a force to reckon with. The British singer/songwriter claimed his fame with his debut album and immediately landed a very coveted spot as a Best New Artist nominee at the 56th annual Grammy Awards. He has since collaborated with big names like Taylor Swift and Snow Patrol.
Born Edward Christopher Sheeran on 17 February 1991 in Halifax, West Yorkshire, this redhead nurtured his talent and passion in music since he sang in a local church choir from the age of four. He began writing his own songs at high school and was accepted at the National Youth Theatre as a teenager. He moved from place to place after dropping out of school at age 16.
Sheeran started recording his music way back in 2005 and dropped his first independent EP, "The Orange Room". He moved from his hometown to London in 2008 and exercised his skills on stage by performing at various venues. By 2009 when his second EP "You Need Me" was out, he already played in more than 300 gigs.
The next year, he relocated to Los Angeles. With no contacts and no contracts, he promoted his music by playing open mic nights all over the city before eventually being spotted by Jamie Foxx. The actor was so impressed by Sheeran's talent that he offered the use of his recording studio and his Hollywood home for the rest of the singer's stay.
In 2011, Sheeran released another EP "No. 5 Collaborations Project" which went to climb to No. 2 on iTunes chart. As his fansbase grew, he was signed to Atlantic Records and started working on his first full-length album. "+" became his major-label debut with hit singles like "The A Team" and "Lego House".
The album peaked at No. 5 on Billboard Hot 200, and "The A Team" was nominated for Song of the Year. He was tapped to perform at the ceremony, collaborating with the legendary Elton John. "I got a call from Elton being like, 'I couldn't get you a solo slot, but would you mind playing with me?'," he recalled.
While working on his next studio installment, Sheeran recorded a theme song for "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" called "I See Fire". He also wrote a song for One Direction. His own second album "X" is finally due June 23, 2014. He collaborated with Pharrell Williams, Rick Rubin, Benny Blanco, and producer from his first album, Jake Gosling.
The album peaked at No. 1 on Billboard 200 chart. "x" was also named the most-streamed album of the year by Spotify, and it earned Sheeran the distinction of being iTunes' biggest-selling artist in the U.K., Ireland and New Zealand. In support of his the album, Sheeran embarked on "x Tour", which began in Osaka, Japan on August 6, 2014 and continued through Europe, the Americas, Oceania and Asia until December 12, 2015, when the tour ended in New Zealand.
Following "Sing" and "Don't", the album's third single "Thinking Out Loud" was released on September 24, 2014. The single spent eight weeks at No. 2 on Billboard Hot 100, and it became his second single to reach No. 1 in the U.K.
In 2015, Sheeran won British Male Solo Artist and British Album of the Year for "x" at the 2015 Brit Awards. The album was also nominated for Album of the Year at the 57th Grammy Awards. In July 2015, Sheeran performed sold-out shows at London's Webley Stadium. The concert was documented and aired on August 16, 2015 on NBC. The one-hour documenter titled "Ed Sheeran - Live at Wembley Stadium" also included behind-the-scenes footage.
In October 2015, Sheeran co-hosted the MTV Europe Music Awards on October 25 in Milan, Italy. He won the awards for Best Live Act and Best Live Stage, the latter of which was in recognition for his performance at the 2014 V Festival in England. In November 2015, Sheeran won the Breakthrough Award at the 2015 Billboard Touring Awards.
In December 2015, Sheeran announced that he was taking a break from social media. In a letter posted to his Instagram, he promised to treat fans to new album. He also said that he was going to return in next autumn.
Despite taking social media hiatus, Sheeran still appeared at some musical events. In Febuary 2016, he took the Grammy stage to receive Song of the Year Award and Best Pop Solo Performance Award for his "x" single "Thinking Out Loud". He made first performance at the East Anglian Children's Hospice gala at the Natural History Museum in London in November, where he performed his most well-known hits including "Thinking Out Loud", "Sing", "I See Fire" and "The A Team". On December 13, 2016, Sheeran ended his social media hiatus as he tweeted a picture and changed his Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to a light blue, presumably hinting at third album.
On January 1, 2017, Sheeran uploaded on his social media pages a video, which shows him holding a piece of paper with the words "New Music Coming Friday" written on it. On the next day, he posted on Twitter an animated cryptic graphic, which resembled a division sign. He also pointed out that his new music would arrive on Friday, January 6 at 5 A.M. GMT.
On January, 6 2017, Sheeran released two singles titled "Shape of You" and "Castle on the Hill". Both singles went on breaking Spotify day one streaming record, with a combined total of over 13 million streams in 24 hours. On January 11, 2017, Sheeran confirmed that his third album would be called "Divide (division sign)", which includes 12 tracks. He co-produced the album with Benny Blanco, with work from Mike Elizondo, Steve Mac and Johnny McDaid. The album is set for release on March 3 via Atlantic.
Both the album and its singles were well received by the public, with "Divide (division sign)" ruling the Billboard 200 chart for two weeks and receiving gold certification from the RIAA. It ended up becoming best-selling album of 2017 in the United States as well as the second highest-selling album with 1,102,000 copies, just behind Taylor Swift's "Reputation".
Meanwhile, singles "Shape of You" and "Castle on the Hill" broke the Spotify one-day streaming record, with a combined total of over 13 million streams in 24 hours. The former song additionally debuted atop Billboard's Hot 100 while "Castle on the Hill" entered at No. 6. This made Ed become the first artist ever to have two songs simultaneously debuted in the top ten of the chart. In support of the album, Ed embarked on a tour in Europe, South America and North America from March until June 2017.
Following his win as Artist of the Year at the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards, Ed released the fourth single off the album "Perfect" on September 26. The song was an immediate hit among people, prompting the singer to release a stripped down acoustic version of the song along with Beyonce Knowles. The duet topped Hot 100 for five weeks, before being dethroned by Camila Cabello's "Havana" featuring Young Thug. Due to his massive success that year, Ed was named Spotify's most streamed artist of 2017.
In the following year, he received the Global Success Awards at the 2018 BRIT Awards and picked up six accolades, including Top Artist and Top Hot 100 Artist, at the 2018 Billboard Music Awards. Despite receiving awards, Ed didn't release any new songs until May 10, 2019, when he unveiled his collaboration with Justin Bieber, "I Don't Care". The song debuted at No. 2 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart. Ed later announced that the song would be included in his upcoming album "No.6 Collaborations Project", before releasing "Cross Me" featuring Chance the Rapper and PnB Rock.