ROLLING STONE = “Let’s go to my place for the finale!” Ed Sheeran shouts as he hops into an SUV. It’s just after midnight in London. Sheeran spent much of the evening in a bar, but even with his bright-red hair hidden under a ball cap, people started to recognize him. The DJ played one of his songs, and his friends had to create a wall around him so he could drink in peace. It all made him a little anxious, which is why we’re speeding to his West London home to keep the party going.
Sheeran is celebrating tonight because he knows he’s about to score his first Number One hit in America with “Shape of You,” a sleek, funky stomper from his new album, ÷ (pronounced Divide). We’re joined by his girlfriend, Cherry, and his old friends Zack, Nathan and Catherine, who have been watching him perform since he released his first album, The Spinning Man, when he was 13. “I went plywood,” Sheeran, now 25, jokes about that LP. “Not gold. I sold 100 copies.”
Sheeran has been going hard tonight: espresso martinis and rum-punch shots at dinner, gin and tonics at the bar. It’s my birthday, and at one point he grabs my phone, takes a selfie of us and posts to my Instagram, writing “It’s my birthday bitches #london #hashtag #believe #achieve #inspiration.” He encourages friends to knock back pints with a drinking song that ends “Na na na na/Hey hey hey/You’re a cunt!”
Soon, we arrive at his house, a five-floor, industrial-style space with brick walls, wood floors and several personal touches: a Charmander Pokémon stuffed animal in his bedroom and a bong shaped like Benny Blanco’s head in the living room. There’s also a recording studio, a gym and a full bar, where he recently entertained several young cast members of his favorite show, Game of Thrones. As we arrive, Sheeran offers bedrooms to anyone who wants to “get rowdy,” then goes to work mixing drinks.
EW.COM – Breaking into the music industry is hard, but when you have a megastar like Taylor Swift on your side, success comes a little easier.
On Saturday’s episode of Fuse’s Revealed, Ed Sheeran talks about how opening for Taylor’s Red tour in 2013 helped his career early on.
“She’s Miss America. There’s no one really bigger than her in America, and if she says she likes anything, people kind of take notice of it,” Sheeran says.
Following the Red tour, the two singer-songwriters – who collaborated on Swift’s single “Everything Has Changed” – went on to sell out world tours and earn Grammy nominations for their albums x and 1989. The two have also remained friends, exchanging gifts and snapping photos of each other to share with their millions of Instagram followers.
ROLLINGSTONE.COM – “I am hungover, and so my mind’s not really working, I’m sorry,” Ed Sheeran says, explaining he went out the previous night in Miami with DJ Khaled for “a lot of very, very loud rock music and sparkly bottles and stuff like that.” Sheeran is about to take the stage at Tampa’s Amalie Arena — with a capacity of 13,000, it’s one of the smaller gigs on a tour that has Sheeran playing U.S. stadiums for the first time. In July, he did three sold-out nights at London’s Wembley Stadium, all without a band. Sheeran’s mentor Elton John joined him onstage, and told him, “You’re the only person in the world who could do this on your own.” Says Sheeran, “The peak was just walking out onstage for the first time and seeing all that. It’s quite a sight to behold.”
In his book Life, Keith Richards writes about going from not being able to get a date to having every woman in the world after him. Have you experienced that?
I’ve gotten more attention from the wrong sort of women. Like, the sort of women I wouldn’t have wanted to date anyway show attention now — the ones that are kind of driven by money and fame and want to get taken out to nice restaurants and bought nice things, you know? I’ve always been more attracted to someone who would just want to go to a dive bar and do shots and play pool.
You recently spent some time with Keith when you opened for the Rolling Stones — what was that like?
It was good! He’s definitely a kind and humble person, but he’s definitely Keith Richards — he can handle his drink and drugs. The best thing he said to me was when I was talking to him about getting arrested, and he said, “I’ve never had a problem with drugs — I had a problem with the police.”
You got a huge tattoo of a lion on your chest to celebrate playing Wembley Stadium.
Well, the England crest is three lions, so I was going to get three lions, but I got one instead. And that’s kind of the story. I don’t really know why people make such a big fuss out of it. I know so many people with shit tattoos in fucking Greek and Latin that they can’t even read or understand that say slogans like “Times change, people don’t,” or something bullshit like that. I’m sure [David] Beckham has some shit on him, some sort of Chinese art that no one would find that strange. But they find me putting something that symbolizes me playing the biggest venue in England weird.
Who found the tattoo weird?
Every single news story was about how it was weird. The press has never been this interested in me, and now they are, but I don’t really see why. I don’t really do anything that interesting. I read stories about Justin Bieber and I think, “Oh, well, that sounds fun.” And mine’s like, “Ed fucking goes and buys a bottle of wine.” Why does anyone care? I’ve been doing some stuff to fuck with the press recently. They don’t write about the right things — Wembley was quite a big achievement, I think. They’re choosing the wrong things to focus on.