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Don’t miss: Ed Sheeran

He’s is winning the world with platinum-selling albums and true-to-life songs

By ELLE team  February 23rd, 2015

If it happened to Ed Sheeran, it’ll end up in a song. The 23-year-old school dropout from Suffolk has a penchant for hammering out conversational lyrics borrowed from life, and delivering them in rap-style bolts — in baggy jeans, sweatshirts and with a messy mop of red hair. Real and relatable. So relatable that Lady Gaga had him confused for a waiter at the Grammys, where he performed his hit (and our future-wedding anthem) ‘Thinking Out Loud’ with John Mayer, singing “Darling, I will be loving you till we’re 70/ And, baby, my heart could still fall as hard at 23”. 

The singer-songwriter went from “sleeping in trains on the London Underground because it was warmer than the streets” to becoming an overnight sensation, and selling millions of copies of his albums + (read ‘plus’) and x (read ‘multiply’). Most of his lyrics are deeply personal. His early struggle was distilled into ‘Homeless’ and his tangled break-up with Ellie Goulding was at the heart of ‘Don’t’. But the ballad ‘Afire Love’ is special: “It was the toughest to write. It was about my grandfather who passed away last Christmas.”

After filling up stadiums like Wembley and O2, and becoming 2014’s most streamed act on Spotify, he’s coming to India this month. “I’m excited and apprehensive at the same time,” he says, laughing. Let’s just hope no one catches him with a bow tie and drinks backstage.

Ed Sheeran performs in Mumbai on March 1 at the Fly Music Festival.

Photograph: Ben Watts