I'm a bit late to the Ed Sheeran party.
I'd heard his name, heard his music on the radio and knew him as the odd-looking singer-songwriter who was smashing it on a global scale.
But the other night, I chanced on a video about his life story.
The details are sketchy, but it appears that when an operation to remove a port wine mark was accidentally performed without anaesthetic, young Ed was left with a stutter. This speech impediment, coupled with gigantic NHS glasses and a goofy look, ensured that Ed was a target for bullying.
But when he sang, Ed's stutter vanished. Music gave him a sense of escape and control, and at sixteen, he dropped out of school and moved to London to focus on his music career.
But things didn't quite turn out to plan.
He says, 'I didn’t have anywhere to live for much of 2008 and the whole of 2009 and 2010, but somehow I made it work. I knew where I could get a bed at a certain time of night and I knew who I could call at any time to get a floor to sleep on. Being sociable helped. Drinking helped.
I spent a week catching up on sleep on Circle Line trains. I’d go out and play a gig, wait until 5am when the Underground opened, sleep on the Circle Line until 12, go to a session – and then repeat. It wasn’t that bad. It’s not like I was sleeping rough on the cold streets.'
During this time, Ed was gigging around twelve times a week, until finally his big break came when his music began to garner attention online.
'You don't have to have the best talent in the world. You just have to keep working hard and keep going for it.'
The rest is history.
'If you try to be the cool kid, you'll end up being very boring. Embrace your quirks. Being weird is a wonderful thing.'