One of the best-selling music artists of all time has been breaking records since he began making music. Brace yourselves, for Ed Sheeran’s music career has been far from ordinary.

Straight Into Stardom

Ed first jumped into recording music in 2004, and his initial success is owed to the internet. He was noticed by a few famous faces, notably none other than Elton John, and Example, who asked Sheeran to join him on his next tour which seemed to be a match made in heaven - we’ve all seen The Nando’s Skank, right? (Google it, you’re welcome).

Ed started to find mainstream success with the 2011 release of No.5 Collaborations Project. The album featured some huge names in the world of grime, like Wiley, JME and Ghetts. It was because of this project that Sheeran found himself at number 2 in the iTunes charts with absolutely no promotion or record label behind him – quite an unusual circumstance, I’m sure you’ll agree!

Sheeran decided to put on a casual free gig at the Barfly in Camden, not expecting that over 1,000 fans would turn up to see him play. He ended up playing four gigs to make sure that everyone was able to see a show that night. It was after this that he decided to sign with Asylum Records. You might say it was “about time”!

Ed continued to go from strength to strength, and released albums Plus, Multiply and Divide which all received enormous success: Brit Awards for “Album Of The Year”, “Best British Male Solo Artist” and “British Breakthrough Act”, Grammy Award for “Song Of The Year”, a Christmas number 1 in “Perfect”… the list REALLY does go on.

Playing Out Loud

In our Grade 2 Piano syllabus you’ll find an award-winning track from the Multiply album, “Thinking Out Loud”, a song that was breaking records almost from the moment it was released. It spent a whole 19 weeks in the UK Top 40, before peaking at the number 1 spot. It then went on to spend an entire year in the Top 40, the first single to have ever done this in the UK. In 2015, it also became the first single to be streamed over 500 million times on Spotify (yes, you heard that right!). “Thinking Out Loud” is a romantic ballad which Ed Sheeran himself referred to as a “walking down the aisle song”. The lyrics talk of getting older, and love in a fairly ordinary context.

Learning the piece from Grade 2 Piano does not come without its challenges, the biggest of those being able to maintain the pulse where the music is sustained across a beat. It is really essential that the performer is able to keep that internal tempo steadily ticking along to ensure that the pulse stays regular and the notes are landed perfectly on the off-beat. Good luck with this one! It’s sure to be a test, but super rewarding once you’ve nailed it. Definitely one to home-showcase for the cat!

Streaming Success Story

It goes without saying that Ed Sheeran has seen success beyond comprehension since the early 2000’s. He’s since sold over 150 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling music artists of all time. He was also Spotify’s second most streamed artist of the decade, which is no mean feat. It is truly exciting to see where Ed’s music career can possibly go next.

Oh, and let’s not forget his greatest achievement of all time: his RSL Creative Practitioner qualification. Yes, it’s true, RSL does shape some of the biggest stars. Who’s next?

If you've enjoyed this week's blog, why not check out the last one featuring AC/DC.