“If I had stayed for the two years of school I would have been coming out at age 18 thinking, ‘now I’m going to move to London.’ Because I moved out earlier and started it earlier it gave me more of a head start.” So Sheeran left school, and instead of class, he was learning on the job and getting on stage every chance he got. In fact, in 2009 Sheeran played 312 gigs—that’s almost one gig for every day! This approach was risky, though, as he had no apartment in London and very few paying gigs. He was forced to get creative. Sheeran was proud to successfully showcase an edgy subject matter. Homelessness was an issue close to Sheeran’s heart not only from the stories he heard, but from firsthand experience with sleeping on the street. SLEEPING ON THE UNDERGROUND Sheeran’s early career was a struggle, marked by hardship that few musicians would be willing to endure. Sheeran was inspired by his artistic family, however, and knew that music was his calling. He started singing in the church choir at age four with his family’s encouragement. Sheeran’s early talent was recognized in high school where his classmates voted him “Most Likely to be Famous.” Being raised in a part of rural Suffolk called Framlinghammeant there weren’t a lot of options to find a stage or a microphone—let alone a record deal. The town only has 3,342 people. By the time Sheeran was eighteen, he knew that if he wanted to pursue a career in music, that meant leaving town. To cultivate his passion for writing songs, Sheeran enrolled in college, studying music at the Academy of Contemporary Music located in Surrey. He knew that to make a really great music career, however, he had to hone his onstage skills.


a star is born

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