It isn't easy being a ginger, growing up as a kid. Usually, you get picked on for the sheer colour of your hair. Add to that, weird looks and oversized eyeglasses. And you study in a private school that is sporty and competitive. You are bound to get bullied.
On top of that, if you stutter, it compounds matters. When no words come out of your mouth when you speak in class, because you froze stiff, you get mocked in school.
This isn't a good formula for high self-esteem.
This was Ed Sheeran.
Fortunately, Ed Sheeran had a musical gene. He loved music. And music became his way out.
He learned to play the guitar at a young age and used that to gain control of his life. He also got involved in the local church choir and sang regularly with them. This gave him happiness.
Music and singing cured Ed Sheeran of his speech defects. It gave him a sense of accomplishment. And so, he worked hard at his music.
His Irish dad encouraged him to work hard on what he saw Ed was good at: music. So, one day his dad brought him a record of Eminem to listen to.
Ed Sheeran was so impressed by how fast Eminem rapped. And by age 10, he'd already memorized each word.
At age 13, Ed Sheeran already had dreams and ambitions to become a music superstar. He worked hard at it. And Ed took to study music.
He wrote his own music and released two CDs at age 14.
And at 17, in 2008, Ed Sheeran packed his bags and left his home in Halifax, England. His destination: London.
Ed Sheeran's time in London was spent looking for gigs to play in, seeking recognition for his music, and living homeless for more than two years. He even spent nights sleeping under an arch outside Buckingham Palace! He said it was a comfortable place to sleep in because it had a heating duct.
Ed learned to socialize in London. He knew he'd have to do that to get gigs and a place to sleep at night (he often slept at a train station after his gigs). So, he'd spend time in bars drinking and talking to people. He felt free to do that since he was an independent solo musician. And he connected with Hiphop artists and other acts doing gigs in London.
Ed Sheeran did everything in his power to get to where he dreamed to go. But his biggest step came when he uploaded his music online. This was his big break. It was here that he got discovered.
Example, a british singer-songwriter and rapper saw Ed Sheeran's videos online. And Example was impressed. So, he invited Ed Sheeran to do an opening act for him on tour. This broadened Ed Sheeran's fan base. And it encouraged him to write more original songs and upload them online.
Ed Sheeran was now an online YouTube sensation. But he wasn't signed yet. He had no contracts. He had no label.
In 2010, age 19, Ed Sheeran packed his bags and left the music scene in London. His destination: Los Angeles, California, USA.
He knew nobody in LA.
So Ed Sheeran sent out his music to anybody he can reach, to no avail. But he got an invite to an all-black open mic night R&B session. The ginger with dishevelled hair and odd looks got recognized for his music.
Ed Sheeran was introduced to Jamie Foxx.
And this opened the door wide for Ed Sheeran to spread his wings further and reach the heights he is at today.