Meeting one of your idols can either be an utter letdown or, in Ed Sheeran’s case, it can totally change the course of your life. When I met Damien Rice, he told me his music was ‘like a shit, just there’ and wouldn’t take a pic or give me an autograph (I only asked at the time, because I’m a huge fan) but when Ed met him – at the age of 11 at an under-age gig in Dublin – the Irish singer posed for photo and spoke a few words of encouragement to the budding young musician. In the MTV documentary, 9 Days and Nights of Ed Sheeran, the singer relates how meeting Damien as a shy youngster helped push him to go home and write his first six songs.
Now, just over ten years later, the 23-year-old has written many more songs and gained himself almost 10 million Twitter followers and 2 million YouTube subscribers. His debut album, released in 2011, with the singles The A Team and Lego House, won him two Brit Awards and an Ivor Novello songwriting gong. He’s become a darling of the pop world, with his own set of fans (called Sheerios) and he’s sold out Madison Square Garden.
What’s great about 9 Days & Nights of Ed Sheeran is it traces his seemingly overnight success – from the English countryside of Framlingham in Suffolk, to crashing on celebrities’ pads, to “the house that Lego built,” exploring how all the pieces fell into place for the singer’s success – post-Damien-Rice-peptalk.
It sees Ed now, ahead of the release of his second album, expressing the woes and fears that brings with it. His friends and fellow musicians Pharrell, who produced Sing, and Taylor Swift, who roped him in to support her tour, talk about what they see in the ginger-haired singer and how he has been able to get to where he is today. Taylor even shows off a needle-point she made for him – so sweet!
At a preview screening of the doc, which is airing on MTV this week at various times, I spoke to executive producer Dave Sirulnick about the motivation behind it. He says they wanted to make the doc because they believe Ed is at an interesting transition in his life – at the crossroad of being just a one-album wonder or a career artist. “I think he’s going to be one of those artists who manages to make a lifetime of songs – like Coldplay. He’s just got it,” Sirulnick told me. I tend to agree – especially with Sing showing he has got the spine to take a step into a bolder direction.
The doccie also shows a lot of Ed’s self-deprecating, goofy personality, and that in itself, makes me forgive him for having a better encounter with Damien Rice than I did.
[Pic: MTV Networks]