24th May, 2017
Ed’s fusion of acoustic folk, hip hop rapping, and boy band melodies has become his calling card. But his journey to stardom wasn’t always plain sailing.
Ed didn’t think he was very cool as a child. He sang in a choir, but says initially didn’t sing well at all, and has only learnt to ‘hold a tune’ more recently. Music changed his perception of himself. Learning to rap helped cure a stammer. If he was feeling fed up, writing songs helped him feel better.
He says he was inspired to want to learn guitar after seeing Eric Clapton playing at the Queen’s Golden Jubilee celebrations in 2002. Through this he became friends with another young person who played the piano when they met in their first year at secondary school. The school had a great music department, which helped him a lot and he went on to study song writing at Access to Music, performing gigs in London which helped him develop his song writing and performing confidence. Ed realised that if he played in unexpected places he’d get noticed more easily than if he kept playing singer-songwriter gigs and so he turned up to play at Hip Hop nights.
Early in his career, Ed was advised by record company to drop the ‘ginger kid rapping ‘part of his act, but felt doing this would be so uncreative, he might as well work in a supermarket and the gamble paid off as the ‘ginger kid rapping’ part of the act was what eventually got Ed radio play after he decided to visit and play in USA for a couple of weeks.
Listen to him talk about all this and more on Desert Island Discs – essential listening for any young person interested in learning about writing and performing songs, and potentially developing a career as a songwriter.
If you would like to follow in Ed Sheeran’s footsteps and develop your own song writing skills as well as make new friends, check out our songwriting workshops that run during the school holidays in music centres across the county.