A-LIST FROM “THE A TEAM” Now that he was signed to Atlantic, it was time for Sheeran to choose his first major-label single. Sheeran had been releasing short albums independently for years. Although he had strong material to choose from, one song stood out. “The ATeam” was inspired by time Sheeran spent volunteering at a homeless shelter. One girl, Angel, stuck with him. She was addicted to hard drugs—known as “Class A” narcotics in the United Kingdom, thus “The ATeam.” The lyrics were dark, telling the story of a meth-addicted girl on the streets. Sheeran cleverly hid the sad story in an up-tempo, pop tune, thereby making the song both instantly catchy and poignant. Fans responded. While the ginger songwriter was still relatively unknown, his first single was a hit, debuting at Number 3 on the British charts and eventually becoming a top 10 hit in Australia, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Norway, and the Netherlands. After this global success, Sheeran’s label brought the song to U.S. radio in late 2012 and after a slow rise up the Billboard charts, it peaked at Number 16, becoming Sheeran’s first song to chart in the U.S.
a star is born
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