May 18, 2024

Ed Sheeran’s Musical Journey: How His Own Music Keeps Him Grounded and Motivated

Ed Sheeran is one of the most successful and beloved musicians of the modern era. Over the past decade, he has crafted an incredible musical journey – from busking on the streets as a teenager to becoming a global superstar selling out stadiums around the world.

Throughout his meteoric rise to fame, Ed Sheeran has remained remarkably grounded and focused on his music. He attributes much of this to his habit of frequently listening to his own songs, spanning from his earliest demos to his most recent hits. For Ed Sheeran, listening to his own music serves as a powerful reminder of how far he has come, what he has achieved, and why he continues striving to make music in the first place.

Early Musical Beginnings

Ed Sheeran’s love of music started early. Born in Halifax, West Yorkshire, England in 1991, he grew up in a creative household. His father was an art curator and his mother designed jewelry. Young Ed was drawn to music, teaching himself to play guitar at a young age.

As a teenager, Ed started recording songs using a simple loop pedal. He began honing his skills as a live performer, singing his original songs at local pubs and events around Suffolk, England. Ed took every gig he could, gaining experience and confidence in his abilities.

In 2005, a 14-year-old Ed Sheeran released his first independent musical release “The Orange Room” EP. Listening back to songs like “Oceans” and “Thinking Out Loud” (an early version of his 2014 hit), Ed is reminded of his early passion for music and humble beginnings. It grounds him and connects him back to the joy of creativity he felt as a young artist first sharing his work.

Early Career Breakthroughs

Ed Sheeran’s career began to gain momentum when he moved to London at age 16 in 2008, determined to make it as a professional musician. The city’s bustling underground music scene provided new opportunities for live performances and exposure.

After playing countless small venues, Ed finally caught his big break in 2010 when he was invited to open for Brit-pop singer Jamie Scott at a concert in Norwich, England. His assured performance impressed Jamie Scott, who later became a mentor to Ed and brought him on tour. This gave Ed crucial experience performing in front of larger crowds.

Listening back to songs like “You Need Me, I Don’t Need You” and “Grade 8” from his early EPs, Ed Sheeran is reminded of his unwavering drive and belief in himself as a musician during these formative years. The raw emotion and honesty of the songs continue to resonate and drive him forward today.

Mainstream Success

The next major breakthrough came in early 2011 when Ed Sheeran released his debut studio album “+” (Plus). Led by singles like “The A-Team” and “Lego House”, the album showcased Ed’s sharp songwriting and unique folk-hip-hop style.

The release brought instant success in the UK, topping the charts. Soon Ed’s music caught the attention of superstars like Taylor Swift, who invited him to join her tour in the US. This exposed Ed’s music to a wider global audience, helping boost his radio play and online streams into the stratosphere.

When he listens to career-defining hits like “The A-Team” today, Ed Sheeran still feels a strong connection. The song’s themes of struggle and hardship overcome through music remind him of long nights spent honing his craft as an unknown artist. He carried that underdog spirit with him even as fame came calling.

Continued Ascent

Ed Sheeran’s sophomore album “X” (Multiply) represented a creative milestone, solidifying him as a major force in pop music. Released in 2014, the record delivered his first #1 single “Sing” along with smashes like “Don’t” and the romance ballad “Thinking Out Loud”. It became the best-selling album in the UK that year.

Around this time, Ed was playing bigger and bigger venues, including his first headlining show at Madison Square Garden in NYC. For the rising star, listening to “X” songs like “I’m a Mess” grounds him by reminding him of who he was during those life-changing moments of his career. The lyrics about self-doubt and perseverance resonate as strongly today as when he first wrote them.

Global Superstardom

Ed Sheeran reached new heights with the release of his third studio album “÷” (Divide) in 2017. Fueled by the dominant single “Shape of You”, the record launched Ed into the pop music stratosphere with over 15 million albums sold globally.

Songs like “Castle on the Hill” and “Perfect” became ubiquitous radio hits, taking Ed Sheeran’s music to an entirely new mainstream audience. He embarked on a two-year world tour playing to over 9 million fans – the highest-grossing tour ever by a solo artist.

Despite reaching this astonishing level of fame, songs off “÷” like “Happier” still resonate with the same emotional rawness and honesty as Ed Sheeran’s early work. Listening takes him back to who he was in the eye of the storm, reminding him to stay humble and focus on the music.

Continuing to Inspire

After a period of rest, Ed Sheeran made an epic comeback in 2021 with his fourth studio album “=” (Equals). As his personal life and audience continued to grow, he poured that energy into creating his most ambitious record yet.

Hit singles like “Shivers” and “Bad Habits” showcased Ed continuing to explore new musical terrain, blending pop, R&B, hip-hop, and other styles. Other deeply personal songs like “Visiting Hours” processed the loss of a close friend.

As he listens to his latest work, Ed Sheeran is reminded that while so much has changed over the course of his career, his drive to make great music remains the same. Songs like “First Times” bring him back to the joy of writing, keeping him grounded in the present moment.

Staying Inspired

Now a decade into his recording career, Ed Sheeran is still inspired every time he presses play on one of his own songs – whether it’s an early demo or a recent hit. The music instantly takes him on a journey through the timeline of his creative life.

Listening motivates Ed to constantly push forward as an artist. Hearing his own evolution constantly inspires new ideas and reflections. Familiar recordings remind him of past inspirations and struggles, but also how far he has come thanks to his unwavering work ethic.

Ed Sheeran’s music also keeps him connected to his roots and purpose as an artist. He remembers the teenager busking on the street, determined to share his music with the world. His songs remind him that fame and success are just vehicles to continue reaching more people through his work.

As he looks to the future, it’s clear Ed Sheeran will continue turning to his own catalogue of songs for inspiration. Music has taken him on an incredible journey thus far, but he knows he still has so much left to share. Listening to his own voice and songs will always take him on a trip down memory lane while also lighting the path forward.

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