You'll be hard-pressed to find someone in your friendship group who doesn't like Ed Sheeran. He's an artist whose music crosses genres and whose appeal is far-reaching. Better still, Sheeran's music comes from his heart, and as well as being an impressive performer, he has the incredible gift of being an accomplished songwriter.
But for someone who Atlantic records once described as the hardest working artist in the industry, Sheeran's road to the top hasn't been the preserve of luck and beneath the easy-going and likable persona lies a ruthless musician who had decided from an early age he wanted to be the world's number one pop star.
With that in mind, and with his new album continuing to top charts around the world, OMG Lane has unearthed some interesting facts about the musician that will only endear you to him more.
1. He left school at 16 to pursue his musical dreams in London
Most teenagers with artistic talents and dreams of stardom usually wait for someone to spot their skills, but few take matters into their hands and make their dream happen. But Ed Sheeran was never going to let his talents go to waste so decided to take up a place at a music college in London with nothing but a rucksack and a guitar.
Admittedly, Sheeran's parents weren't exactly poor, and for a while they supported their son when he moved to London, but it didn't make Sheeran's move any less risky, and after the course came to an end Sheeran's grant ran out and he relied solely on performing to make a living, with some of the venues having as little as 5 people in attendance.
2. He would sleep on the streets when he couldn't find a place to stay
It may sound rather odd that a middle-class country boy had to sleep rough but such was Sheeran's dogged determination to make it on his own he often didn't tell his parents how little money he had, and for the vast majority of his time as an unsigned artist he would sleep on people's sofas.
The 26-year-old hitmaker even admitted in an interview with the Daily Mail that he slept by a heating duct outside Buckingham Palace when he couldn't find a place to crash, which made for a fairytale story after Sheeran was asked to perform outside Buckingham Palace only a few years later for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee concert.
Speaking about that time in his life, the Give Me Love singer said, "There was an arch outside Buckingham Palace that has a heating duct, and I spent a couple of nights there. That’s where I wrote the song Homeless and the lines “It’s not a homeless night for me, I’m just home less than I’d like to be.”
3. He released his first songs at 13
While the globally adored star is yet to release his third studio album, his self-released titles before his record deal are plentiful and stretch back to when the talented artist was only 13-years- old.
Titled the Orange Room, the record features four tracks: I Love You, Addicted, Misery and Moody Ballad Of Ed, the first of which can be heard in the link provided.
4. He auditioned for a British television musical drama called ‘Britannia High’ but didn't get the part
Musicians often make good actors due to already being accustomed to performing on stage, so it was no surprise that Ed Sheeran admitted to Beats 1 DJ Zane Lowe that he initially wanted to become an actor.
And he almost got his wish when he auditioned for a part on a British musical drama entitled 'Britannia High' which would center around the lives and emotions of performing arts students yet poor old Ed didn't make the cut. And yes, that's a picture of young Ed dancing to urban music.
5. In 2009, Sheeran played 309 gigs
For a young teenager with no contacts in the music industry, Sheeran knew that his only chance of a deal would come from his own hard work, and as well as selling mixtapes from his rucksack and busking on the streets, Sheeran was prolific when it came to performing his sets at venues.
In 2009 alone, for instance, Sheeran estimated that he played 309 gigs, the majority of which were done for free or included a few drink tokens at best.
6. After the release of four EPs, Sheeran went to Los Angeles and was spotted by actor and musician Jamie Foxx
Following the publication of the EPs Let It out, Loose Change, Songs I Wrote with Amy and Live at the Bedford, Sheeran made a choice many aspiring artists do and headed to Hollywood after an American friend booked him a show. Luckily for Sheeran, a word of mouth buzz led to invites for various other open mic nights and one such person in attendance just happened to be Jamie Foxx, the multi-platinum-selling musician, and Academy Award-winning actor.
Taking him into his home, Foxx gave Sheeran the space he needed to record and even invited him on to his radio show, The FoxxHole.
7. After the success of his EPs and his ever burgeoning fanbase, Atlantic Records signed Sheeran but made an unusual request
In 2010, after countless live gigs and years spent sofa surfing and sleeping rough Sheeran had done what he set out to do in the space of 2 years. But Atlantic Records, being a label synonymous with mainstream artists saw Sheeran's red hair and unkempt look as a potential hindrance and asked he dye his hair blonde.
Yes, with bright red hair, porcelain skin and a pudgy body, record executives were always going to have trouble accepting Sheeran's appearance, despite his credentials as an artist never being in doubt. However, Sheeran refused and achieved the kind of commercial success 99.9999% of artists can only dream of.
8. His 5th EP reached number 46 in the Brtish Album Charts
It's almost unheard of for an EP to receive commercial success, but by the time Ed Sheeran released his 5th and final EP, his buzz was extraordinary and helped propel an EP collaboration with famous underground grime artists into the mainstream charts.
The collaboration with artists like Devlin and Wiley proved crucial in Ed's crossover appeal with lovers of both mainstream and underground sounds enamoured with the music the red-haired singer was making.
9. A large portion of his underground success can be attributed to a British music YouTube channel called, SBTV
In 2010, around the time Ed Sheeran was making serious waves in the industry, a popular YouTube channel tasked with shining a light on up and coming grime artists featured Ed Sheeran performing his braggadocious hit You Need Me I Don't Need You.
Following the upload, the video quickly went viral and ushered in a plethora of new fans for Ed. As of today, the video is still the most viewed on SBTV's channel.
10. He has co-written songs for the likes of One Direction, Justin Bieber, Jessie Ware and Lupe Fiasco
Aside from his brilliant on-stage talents, Ed Sheeran has lent his words to other famous artists and bands over the years, an achievement few artists his age manage.
With that said, the music industry knows a talented songwriter when they see one, and many of his melancholic lyrics relate to a broad audience, as shown by the success when lending his writing skills to the One Direction and Justin Bieber hit singles Little Things and Love Yourself.
11. Despite worldwide success and A-list fame, he's more than happy to remain grounded and is currently dating his high school sweetheart
It's understandable when many absurdly famous stars go off the rails, yet Ed has never once done anything stupid or exhibited any signs of a superiority complex, a truth that's reflected not only in his down-to-earth and approachable personality but also his purchases.
In fact, aside from buying himself a couple of properties as well as a house opposite his London home for his parents, he still dresses like a music college student, volunteers at his hometown's charity shop, flys commercial and felt like a 'tit' when he purchased an Aston Martin.
Best of all, he's spurred the advances of many beautiful women in recent years to be in a full and loving relationship with high school sweetheart, Cherry Seaborn. Never change, Ed!