You may know him as the Grammy nominated artist behind “The A Team,” Taylor Swift’s red-haired tour mate or the source of your new music obsession. In light of his VMA nomination for “Best Male Video,” I’m here to give you five reasons why you should love and vote for Ed Sheeran, whether you’re a die-hard fan or a stranger to this UK born troubadour.
5. He’s Charitable
Sheeran’s philanthropy started before he became a household name. His hit song “The A Team” was actually written about an experience he had during his time spent volunteering at Crisis, a homeless shelter for single people in the UK. “Anyone who’s in a privileged position should always give back and I happen to be in my privileged position through a song that I wrote, off the back of doing some work for Crisis, so I have to give back double I think,” he told Samaritanmag in 2012. “… I feel like I owe quite a big chunk of my career to that experience.”
He definitely made good on his promise to continue charity work. In 2012, Ed also played a show in Bristol that raised £40,000 ($62,000) for One25, a charity that reaches out to support sex street workers. A cause some artists may avoid, Ed was quoted as saying, “It’s good to show insight that these people are real… with real emotions and they deserve the same charity work as anyone else.”
This July, Martin Guitar released an Ed Sheeran Signature Edition guitar benefiting EACH, East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices, a charity based in the UK that provides help and services for families of children with life-threatening conditions. This signature model is reflective of the “tiny guitar” Ed is known for, baring his trademark orange “+” and EACH’s logo. In an interview Ed has said that his mom actually donates her time to EACH. It’s endearing to see him utilize his popularity to support a cause so close to home. Along with a quality instrument you can be sure you’re getting more than music out of the purchase of this guitar, as a portion of the proceeds go directly to EACH.
The Millennial generation of musicians has received a lot of flak for not pursuing music the old fashioned way. While I’m not discounting the modern success stories of YouTube discoveries and reality show winners, I’ll admit it has become increasingly rare to see artists work their way up the music food chain through traditional gigging, networking and self-promotion. Ed is a shining example of what hard work and dedication can get you, as after leaving home at sixteen he spent years couch surfing his way through Europe and playing to crowds as small as five people. Now twenty-two years old, he is one of the biggest breakout stars of the year, snagging a Grammy nomination, a guest spot on Taylor Swift’s Red Tour and certified Gold status on the US record charts with his debut album ‘+’. With his sophomore album already in production, it’s clear that success hasn’t reduced his work ethic. Lucky for us, Ed doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon.
3. Family Oriented
In many interviews, Sheeran has expressed that his family is his number one priority. “The most important thing in life is your family… You can have everything, but as long as you focus in on your family at the end of it all then it will all work out,” he stated in an interview with the Artists Den. Ed seems to have a great relationship with his parents, and has even given his father credit to being his biggest influence. As a child, he was exposed to a lengthy list of music greats and given the freedom to skip school and go to concerts. He attributes his appreciation of music to these memorable experiences.
Ed was able to return the favor to his folks by taking them to the 2013 Grammy Awards, where they were the life of the after party! “Every single person from Katy Perry to John Mayer to Selena Gomez kept coming up to me saying how cool my mum and dad are and how they’ve been buying everyone tequila all night!” he said. Hats off to the Sheerans!
Ed has also been very open about his desire to have a family of his own. When asked by an interviewer if he would ever get tattoos in a more visible place, like his neck, he responded that one day he will have to wear a suit for his wedding and would like to be able to cover his tats for that special day. In addition, he looks at songwriting as insurance, a way for him to make money for his future kiddos so he can be a stay at home dad. (Too cute!)
2. The Music
I’m a huge proponent of paying attention to more than just an artist’s singles when evaluating your fandom. While “Lego House” and “The A Team” are fantastic, there is truly something to be said about Sheeran’s complete catalog of tunes. From his skillfully crafted mega-seller ‘+’ to his undeniably talented acoustic covers, Ed is an artist with a range and level of consistency I haven’t seen in a long time. His live performances are of the same caliber, if not better than, his recordings and his songwriting skills are on point. He’s penned songs for Taylor Swift, One Direction, and Olly Murs just to name a few. Sheeran has quickly become a sought after musician whose legacy in the music industry will surely span more than the art of performing.
Buy Ed’s album, ‘+’ on iTunes here.
1. Down to Earth
Before writing this article I wanted to find out directly from the source why Ed Sheeran fans, who call themselves Sheerios, are so obsessed with this adorable ginger from Suffolk. I reached out via Twitter to fan accounts dedicated to Ed (there are SO many, it was quite a task) and received an overwhelming response that more than anything, Ed’s fans love that he is such a down to earth guy. Based off his interviews alone, that certainly seems to be true. His demeanor is always friendly, fun and not at all arrogant. He seems to enjoy the simpler things in life, tweeting about watching Game of Thrones and chowing down on chicken from Nando’s. What’s his idea of a perfect date? Sheeran was quoted as saying he would love to cook fajitas, wear pajamas and watch the Fresh Prince on DVD. All I have to say to that is I have a love for Mexican food and an affinity for TV on DVD if you ever find yourself in Austin, Ed.
In tweets I received he was described as “kind hearted,” “inspiring,” “like a big kid,” “genuine,” “sweet,” and “kind to his fans.” I could go on, but the gist is that Ed doesn’t put himself on any sort of pedestal despite his celebrity status. This allows his fans to connect to him on a personal level; never feeling like their favorite artist is anything other than true to himself. With seven million Twitter followers and three million likes on Facebook, whatever Ed is doing is working.
In a category with some pretty heavy hitters, Ed Sheeran’s “Lego House” has some tough competition for the VMA’s “Best Male Video.” Voting ends today! So Sheerios, pass this on and let’s see if we can make sure Ed brings home the Moonman.
Click HERE to vote!