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Ed Sheeran: Supermarket Flowers
Singer/songwriter, Ed Sheeran, is one of the most successful British pop artists of his generation, holding the record for having 16 songs in the UK top 20 at the same time. The 27-year-old was also awarded an MBE in the 2017 Queen's Birthday Honours for his services to music and charity.
With a record number of top 20 hits in March 2017, he topped the UK singles chart with Shape of You, held the number two spot with Galway Girl and had Castle on the Hill at number three. At the same time, he had three of his own albums in the UK albums chart and also albums he had written for other artists, including Stormzy’s Gang Signs and Prayer and Rag 'n' Bone Man's Human.
It was the first time any artist in the history of the music charts had achieved this feat! He also simultaneously broke the world record for the most streamed album in its first week on Spotify with his third album, Divide, which was streamed 374.7 million times.
In 2011, his first album, Plus, topped the UK albums chart and was certified seven-times platinum, while his second album, Multiply, in 2014, was also number one in the UK and the United States, winning Album of the Year at the Brit Awards.
As the youngest of two brothers, Sheeran was born in Halifax, Yorkshire, in February 1991. He began singing in the local church choir at four and learned to play guitar at Rishworth School.
In later life, he has spoken of his constant struggle against bullies when he was a child, mainly because of his ginger hair, glasses and stutter. He admitted that he stopped raising his hand in class and answering questions, because he became so nervous, he would freeze and no sound would come out. His speech therapy wasn't going well and he felt anxious.
According to the record-breaking star, singing in church and playing guitar in his room were the only things that brought him pleasure at the time. His life changed after his father bought him a record by rapper Eminem when he was ten years old. He was amazed by the speed of the rapping and began to learn the words, copying the format.
His stutter disappeared and Sheeran began to write his own music, playing local gigs every week, until he was playing up to 12 shows per week. He began recording his own CDs and selling them, including the EP, No 5 Collaborations Project, which peaked at number two in the iTunes chart.
By the time he went on to study music at the Academy of Contemporary Music in Guildford in 2009, at the age of 18, he was already establishing a popular YouTube music channel.
After releasing his first album in September 2011, his amazing career began to blossom. He has achieved UK and international success with a continuous stream of best-selling singles and albums.
Top-selling singles include the platinum-certified Kiss Me in 2011 and a succession of hits in 2017, such as Dive, New Man, What Do I Know and Supermarket Flowers. It seems everything he touches turns to platinum!
Sheeran draws on his own personal experiences to give his songs the realism and emotion that the fans have come to love. Supermarket Flowers, which peaked at number eight in the UK singles chart, is a personal tribute to his late grandmother, written from his mother's point of view.
In a recent interview, he admitted he hadn't intended releasing Supermarket Flowers, as it was so personal to him, but he changed his mind on his grandfather's advice.
He explained that while he was recording his third album, his grandmother was in hospital and he visited her every day. Sadly, she passed away while he was in the studio. He said his first reaction when anything happened, good or bad, was to pick up a guitar.
He wrote the lyrics from his own mum's point of view, as she helped to clear her late mother's belongings. The poignant lyrics describe taking the "supermarket flowers from the windowsill", packing up the photo album, taking down the "get well soon" cards and automatically fluffing up the pillows on the empty bed.
The verse ends with the words, "Mum, there's a tear every time that I blink," adding, "I'm in pieces, it's tearing me up."
After he wrote the song for his family, they asked him to play it at his grandmother's funeral. Following the funeral, his grandfather asked Sheeran to release it as a record, because it contained good memories too. The singer agreed, admitting it was a song that "really made you cry".
As well as his succession of hits and international superstardom, Sheeran still finds time to help charities and worthy causes.
Forbes has listed his earnings at $57 million - ranking him the 27th-highest-earning celebrity in the world. Never forgetting that other people need help, he has personally supported numerous charities.
He donates money to the Elton John AIDS Foundation, East Anglia's Children's Hospices, Charity:water to provide safe drinking water in Africa and India, the GRAMMY Foundation, Musicians on Call and the ONE Campaign to combat global poverty, AIDS and HIV.
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