The 5 Defining Moments of 2011: #4

Now that we’ve begun 2012; let’s continue to reflect on the most defining moments of 2011 (if you missed #5, click here to read!).

#4: The Emergence of Ed Sheeran

Coming in at #4 is the eclectic Ed Sheeran, who has had an absolutely storming year. The singer/songwriter kicked off 2011 with the release of his adventurous No. 5 Collaborations EP (review here), where each track boasted a collaboration with some of the best in UK’s grime and hip-hop scene. It was a bold step for a traditionally more folk and acoustic artist, but it’s one that opened up his music to a whole new scene and is the main reason why we at OTU first took notice of him; we love an artist who thinks outside the box. The EP itself came about through relationships Ed had already made, and it laid the foundations of what was to come, with him signing an international deal with Atlantic Records just days after the release.

It was clear to see how he made these relationships with these different kinds of people when we caught up with him in February in our in-depth interview. He was incredibly down-to-Earth and humble, with an air of confidence that’s rarely seen in someone so young and (at the time!) relatively inexperienced.

Over the summer, Ed continued his momentum in the form of collaborations and remixes, a particular highlight being the much talked about Young Guns project, featuring fellow up and comers Devlin, Yasmin and Griminal, once again showing such versatility in his music. The summer also saw the official release of his track The A Team, with it thrust upon the mainstream scene and garnering much praise and support, giving his name real exposure to unfamiliar ears. The buzz reached a high point when he released a superb video for You Need Me, I Don’t Need You, and by the time his debut album + saw release in September, Ed had become a household name, with the album itself going 2x platinum in this country (and continuing to sell very well today!). The third single, Lego House, even featured Rupert Grint, in what has to be one of the most original music videos of 2011.

If he continues 2012 in the same vein of form, there’s no telling what Ed can achieve. America is surely on the horizon, and if he manages to make a success of himself over there in the same way as he has done in the UK, then he’ll have already had the career of most UK artists twice the age of him, a scary and exciting thought indeed.

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