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We Love Your Songs.com


25th Jan

From YouTube to the BRITs


ed sheeran at academy

From YouTube to the BRITs: how one self made singer/songwriter shot to fame

Ed Sheeran, at only 20, has become an example of how hard work and perseverance can lead to success in the music industry. With his debut album having sold 100,000 copies in its first week, it has recently been announced that Sheeran leads the board at this year’s Brits with nominations for best male solo act, best break through act, best British album, and best British single for The A-Team. Although having burst on to the music scene in 2011 Sheeran’s success is not a reflection of a quick ride but a reward of years of hard work. Ed Sheeran’s accomplishment is a uniquely Twenty-First Century story as it was his appearance on the YouTube channel SB.TV which showcases new talent that propelled him to fame and leading to him being signed by Atlantic Records.

With the release the number one album +  last year Sheeran rocketed onto the music scene, but + was the result of years of hard work as he had previously released five E.Ps in 2010, each being inspired by a different genre, before being signed by Atlantic Records. The E.Ps caught the attention of the public and Sheeran was able sell 7,000 copies on iTunes of his No.5 collaboration without promotion or a record label. 

One of the forthcoming singles on the new Album +, You Need Me, I Don’t Need You is a critique on the music industry itself and Sheeran’s journey to establish himself on the music scene. You Need Me, I Don’t Need You, is a turning point on the album as with its influences from rap music, the single seems to be a departure from the tone of the rest of the album. Sheeran describes himself in the lyrics as an individual going up against the vast might of the music industry, trying to become successful whilst retaining his own musical identity. With his first three singles all reaching the top five in the UK this approach may have been the best option for the budding musician. Sheeran has said that the song You Need Me, I Don’t Need You shows the importance he places on his own composed work saying that the song is about his own artistic integrity ‘if you don’t write your own tunes and your name’s not on the credit then it would be about you, I guess. It’s not really pointed at anyone it’s just a general vibe’ he told Sixty-Nine Degrees magazine.

Music being personal is a theme that runs throughout +, which tackles issues from Sheeran’s own life. The album itself doesn’t feel far from the home made videos posted on YouTube and it seems that Sheeran, despite his success, has kept the values that lead him to music. + consists of simple topics sung often acoustically, Sheeran has shown that hard work and singing from the heart, about topics with which people will empathise, could be the recipe for success.


Article written by Toni Phillips, a new London based contributor to our blog.

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