A Nineteen-Year-Old Ed Sheeran Busking Before He Was Famous

On 10th June 2010, a pre-fame Ed Sheeran took part in a scheme called Station Sessions, which brought music to train stations. He performed at St Pancras Train Station to a small but enthusiastic audience. Interviewed before the gig, a fresh-faced nineteen-year-old Sheeran played down his chances of worldwide success, saying, “My music doesn’t really hit everyone”, before adding he would be a “very lucky man” if it did. He had no idea the success that was to follow!

It was the following year, in September 2011, that Sheeran released his debut album +, which reached number 1 in the UK album charts. At the point of this video, though, the Halifax-born singer had only self-released a few EPs, with none of these getting close to troubling the Top 40. Therefore, this was a chance for Sheeran’s music to be exposed to a bigger audience than he was used to.

The performance started with a cover of the 19th-century gospel song The “Wayfaring Stranger”. He then explained to an interviewer his fondness for loop pedals, which would come to be a signature performance tool for Sheeran. He demonstrated his ability to transcend different genres, moving skillfully between folk and rap. He also involved the audience with confidence, getting them to sing along to one song, and form a circle around him while he performed acoustically.

Sheeran revisited his busking past in 2017, performing on the street to delighted fans who couldn’t believe that they were seeing him in such an intimate setting. Sheeran was at a very different point in his career compared to the early busking days. By now, he was a global superstar about to release his third album, Divide, which would go on to be the best-selling album in the world that year. As the small crowd whooped with joy, Sheeran broke into “You Need Me, I Don’t Need You”.

Though a few years older, Sheeran still showed the joy of busking which was seen in the Station Sessions video. The only difference in 2017, of course, was that the small crowd knew every word of his songs and could sing along without being prompted. Sheeran has a unique talent to wow audiences in stadiums and street corners alike, and hopefully there will be plenty more future busking performances to come from him.

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