Ed Sheeran is something of a pop star conundrum. He’s one of the biggest-selling artists of all time, and yet it’s hard to think of any other well-known artist who has managed to keep their feet so firmly on the ground.
Sheeran has sold over 150 million records worldwide and broken countless records. His 2017 hit “Shape of You” is the most streamed song on Spotify ever. He was named artist of the decade in 2019 by the UK’s Official Charts Company for racking up 10 number one singles and four number one albums since signing with a major label in 2010. His album Divide debuted at number one in no fewer than 14 countries.
It might have all started humbly, with Sheeran famously couch-surfing his way around London, playing the singer-songwriter pub circuit as a teenager, and releasing his own music independently. But it became something meteoric. With hits often involving legendary collaborations and taking in a constellation of genres from indie, to tropical house, to rap, Sheeran has spent a decade establishing himself as a juggernaut of pop.
But after travelling the world Sheeran has settled in his home county of Suffolk — where he recently admitted to taking fellow pop stars Taylor Swift and Stormzy for drinks down at his local pub (the Station in Framlingham, in case you’re wondering).
In the same interview on the Kiss Breakfast radio show earlier this month, he described how he still has the same big group of friends from school.
He hasn’t forgotten his roots — and has worked to lift up those who helped him get to where he is today. Whether that was signing up a friend who was struggling financially to co-write his hit “Thinking Out Loud” to help her pay off her mortgage, to donating to a hospice after being asked by a band he once played a supporting set for as a teenager, Sheeran has always worked to take his people with him.
Sheeran has also done plenty of work supporting charities too. He helped launch a campaign against homelessness in the north-east of England with the charity Crisis in 2012, after spending a Christmas volunteering for them and writing his breakthrough single “A-Team” about a girl he met there.
In 2017 he and other celebs helped raise over £100 million to fight poverty globally though Comic Relief. And of course, Sheeran has also been a long-time supporter of Global Citizen, performing at both the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100 in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2018 and at the Global Citizen Festival in New York City in 2015.
At the latter he joined Beyoncé on stage for an absolutely iconic duet of “Drunk in Love” — and the pair once again shared a stage at Mandela 100 too, for a rendition of “Perfect”.
We’re so excited that Sheeren’s next Global Citizen moment will be on stage in Paris for Global Citizen Live. He’ll be performing against the backdrop of the Eiffel Tower with other incredible artists including Elton John, Doja Cat, Black Eyed Peas, Stormzy, and Christine and the Queens, as well as special guests Angélique Kidjo, Charlie Puth, and Fatma Said.
The show will be part of a 24-hour global broadcast of live events and programming across seven continents and is a once-in-a-generation moment of unity calling for worldwide action to tackle the climate crisis, defeat poverty, address famine, and push for equitable global access to COVID-19 vaccines.
You can find out more about Global Citizen Live globally here, and head here to find out more about the Global Citizen Live event in Paris and how you can get involved. For information about COVID-19 protocols and how we’re keeping people safe, click here.
You can join the Global Citizen Live campaign to defeat poverty and defend the planet by taking action here, and become part of a movement powered by citizens around the world who are taking action together with governments, corporations, and philanthropists to make change.