About Ed Sheeran
There’s a lovely moment a little ways into Apple Music’s Songwriter documentary about Ed Sheeran in which Sheeran, jet-lagged and carrying a cup of tea, straggles out into a yard in Malibu at dawn, sits down at his laptop, and begins writing a song about the moment right in front of him: the crisp air, the birdsong, the hot tea, the day ahead. He gets a full verse in, melody and all, then pauses. “Songs are weird things,” he says. “How so?” an interviewer asks. “They just come and go,” Sheeran says, smiling. “And they never give you any warning.”
For Sheeran, they seem to come pretty reliably. Born in 1991 in Halifax, England, he started out gigging on the UK pub circuit before releasing his first studio album, +, in 2011, and has since become one of the most unstoppable singer-songwriters in music, forging a light blend of folk, pop, hip-hop, and dance that feels slick but lived-in, intimate but universal.
Whether on his own (“Sing,” “The A Team,” “Shape of You,” “Perfect”) or in collaboration with artists from Taylor Swift to Eminem to Justin Bieber, Sheeran has a unique ability to strike a chord that feels both bittersweet and redemptive, good-natured and genuine: the hopeless romantic who convinces you he might just be right.
In 2017, he was made a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, touching Prince Charles on the arm while shaking his hand—a breach of royal protocol, and an appealingly human one at that.