x (pronounced multiply) is the second studio album by English singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran.
Ed Sheeran is blessed - he seems to know exactly where he is going, and exactly how to get there. Where countless others fail to make an impression amid today's information overload, Ed's music and talent cut straight through.
He has a poise that is as welcome as it is unusual in someone so young. He's both utterly self-assured but still charmingly open. He has a confidence that's built not on being able to sing someone else's song quite nicely on a teatime TV show, but on hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of gigs where it's just him, his guitar, a loop pedal and a crowd.
Ed grew up in Suffolk where he learnt to play an old guitar given to him by an uncle. Spurred on by a chance meeting with the aforementioned Rice when he was 11, Ed started writing songs. Aged 16, he moved to London - into a flat above the T-Bird pub in Finsbury Park - with only one thing on his mind: playing gigs, as many as he could and as often as he could.
One night Ed played a tiny bar in North London whose website listed every young promoter in town. That night Ed Myspaced them all and a few days later he had nearly a hundred new gigs lined up. A pattern began to emerge - all day in the studio, all night playing gigs. From the early days Ed would sell CDs of his songs out of his backpack, putting cash in his pocket to get to the next gig, but also planting a flag in people's minds that here was music that was worth paying for. Not satisfied by CDs alone, fans have flocked to his website to pick up everything from hoodies to jewellery.
When Ed was told by his then management that he would need to conform to succeed - including dying his hair, and giving up his unique delivery - Ed responded by writing the cult song, 'You Need Me, I Don't Need You'. Over the next year he released five EPs, each one totally different, each one totally him. There was a singer-songwriter one, a live from The Bedford one, one written with singer Amy Wadge. Each sold better than the last.
After two years of constant gigging and sofa surfing, Ed recorded a live version of 'You Need Me, I Don't Need You' for leading urban YouTube channel, SBTV. The clip got 100K hits in two days and is now approaching 1.5M views. A few days later, he wrote what would become his first major label release, 'The A Team': a story about a girl he met whilst working at a homeless shelter. The video for that has just surpassed 1M views.
By the time Ed released the final EP - No. 5 Collaborations, which featured the who's who of UK hip hop and grime: Devlin, Wretch 32, Dot Rotten, P Money, JME and Wiley, the support was so strong it propelled Ed to Number 2 in the iTunes album chart after just 24 hours. The only artist selling more copies was Rihanna. When Elton John called his mobile to congratulate him, Ed realised quite how big things had got. Amid interest from numerous labels Ed shortly signed with Asylum - part of Atlantic Records.