MTV goes behind-the-scenes with Ed Sheeran to give fans an intimate look at the rising star in the music documentary Nine Days and Nights of Ed Sheeran. The English singer-songwriter works with Pharrell, goes back home and … all in the run up to his second album x (Multiply) coming out on June 23.
Here’s what Sheeran revealed about his life in and out of the studio.
1. Coming Home Gives Sheeran’s Life Balance
Sheeran may attend parties with Hollywood’s biggest stars like Jennifer Aniston and Jamie Foxx, but when he returns home he acts like he never left. His old mates Dan and Nate don’t bother him with frivolous questions about his L.A. pals and he dreams of returning to his hometown of Framlingham, Suffolk to raise a family of his own. He doesn’t want to keep touring in 20 years without a family to share his good fortune.
2. Pharrell Williams Has Incredible Power of Foresight
Pharrell Williams knew the first time he met Sheeran that he wanted to get in the studio with him. The mega-producer compared his “Sing” collaborator to singer-songwriter greats like Joni Mitchell and James Taylor, and his ability to produce music unlike other modern day singer-songwriters.
It’s a pleasure to work with him because he’s a freak of nature. He’s a singer-songwriter and he’s kicking ass. And he’s making people dance.
— Josee (@SheerioPawPrint) June 11, 2014
When Pharrell finally got Sheeran in the studio, the redheaded performer couldn’t believe it. He didn’t understand how a guy with the number one and two song on the iTunes chart (“Get Lucky” and “Blurred Lines”) didn’t have anywhere else to be. The “Happy” singer correctly predicted releasing their song “Sing” as Sheeran’s first single would perform better than releasing the Brit’s choice of “Don’t,” he told the cameras.
I swear Pharrell has special foresight. I said I wanted to release ‘Don’t’ as the first single. He said it should be ‘Sing’ and it would do over 100,000 in the US. And sure enough it’s done 140,000. I owe him a hat or something.
3. He Slept on Friends and Fans Couches When Living in London
Sheeran paid his dues before hitting it big, especially during his years playing hundreds of gigs in London. The lad moved to the English capital in 2008 at age 16, playing gigs and writing songs nearly everyday. In 2009, he lost his place of residence, but thanks to friends he’d met and some generous audience members, he managed to find a couch to crash on most nights.
By 2010, Sheeran raised enough money to buy a plane ticket to Los Angeles and not much else. He started at a club in Inglewood, where he was one of the only white guys in the place (see above). He later started releasing EPs of iTunes and video on the YouTube channel SBTV, before Jamie Foxx’s manager discovered Sheeran and invited him on to Foxx’s Sirius radio show The Foxxhole.
Lol "chubby ginger white kid from England" 😂👏👏👏 #EdSheeranMTV
— ✌️Hot Mess Express✌️ (@daija_styles) June 11, 2014
4. Sheeran Cancelled on Elton John’s Oscar Pre-Show Party
Elton John wasn’t too happy when his fellow Brit cancelled on his AIDS Foundation‘s Oscar Viewing Party in 2013. Sheeran had to go on tour, but he made it up to his mentor with a performance this year. The two performed John’s classic “Candle in the Wind” together (watch their performance above).
Legendary record producer Rick Rubin first introduced Sheeran to John at the young artist’s birthday gig. His outfit that night wasn’t exactly what the ginger had in mind for such a memorable moment in his life.
Rick came to my birthday gig and I was dressed as a pirate. I was summoned by Elton John to meet him, so it was us and Adele. I felt awkward dressed as a pirate.
5. He Knows What It’s Like to Be a Fan
After Sheeran saw his favorite artist Damien Rice in concert, the course of his entire life changed. He immediately went home and wrote his first 11 songs and didn’t stop. The connection he made with Rice that night is why the artist says he doesn’t mind taking the 10 minutes or so to interact with his fans. He will do his kicking and screaming behind closed doors, but when he’s in front of his fans he tries to be the nicest guy he can. “It’s take more effort to be a prick,” he says.