From busking to Bieber: How did Ed Sheeran become the most-connected man in pop?

Ed Sheeran with Justin Bieber making the video for I Don't Care
Ed Sheeran with Justin Bieber making the video for I Don't Care

As Ed Sheeran releases an album that will unite fans of grime, afrobeat, country and rock for the first time in pop history, Eleanor Halls examines how he did it

This article has an estimated read time of 10 minutes 

In December 2010, an 18-year-old Ed Sheeran played an I Luv Live music event in London to a small crowd that had, for the most part, never heard of him. He performed material from his four self-released EPs with his guitar, two mics and a loop pedal, singing, rapping and beatboxing intermittently. Watching him was 19-year-old Jamal Edwards, a West Londoner respected in the music industry for having founded YouTube channel SB.TV to platform burgeoning rap and grime artists four...

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