Divide Tour is Ed’s third world tour to promote the third album. One of the singles on this album, “Shape of You”, can be said to be one of Ed’s songs that was successful in the market. The Guardian noted that within 24 hours of being released, the song was played more than six million times on Spotify, and swelled to 53 million times a week. Forbes reported that in the United States, this song ranked first on the charts for 12 weeks. In the UK, the song topped for 14 weeks. While in Australia, “Shape of You” became the longest-standing song that survived at the top of the charts. The song also made Ed won a Grammy award for the category of Best Pop Solo Performance.
All of Ed’s success is quite surprising when he sees his figure from the outside. In an article in Vice, writer Joel Golby referred to Ed as “a man you easily forget at school. A figure you might not know by name.”
The description is not wrong. In a long interview with GQ, Ed admitted that he was a strange child. My friends, said the man born in Halifax, thought I was suffering from attention deficit disorder due to the high energy. His friends, mostly from the upper middle class, also made him uncomfortable. He prefers to play guitar and sing in choir groups.
Ed’s father realized his son was only interested in music. Fortunately, he encouraged Ed to become a good musician. The father routinely invites Ed to watch the concert. Ten years ago his father allowed him to drop out of school and migrate to London for a career. His father who works as a curator told Ed to be able to be like James Morisson, who can perform 200 times a year.
The initial moment in London was not a good time. Ed added to the list of many homeless people in the city. He slept a few meters from Buckingham Palace. This man fills the day by singing in various bars. As a paid amateur singer when it was only one serving of food. The routine is carried out for about two and a half years.
“2010 was the toughest year. I performed in the same bar, slept on the same sofa, and drank a lot,” he told The Financial Times.
The hard times that forged Ed until in 2011 he signed with Atlantic Records and released the single “The A Team”. This is a song inspired by the life story of a resident where the homeless are evacuated. In a short time, this single became a popular song. Ed can realize his dream of buying a house from the sale of songs for one week.
“Ed has unique abilities. He can change folk and black music. His idols are Eminem, Damien Rice, and Bob Dylan. He can perform hip hop music and perform in underground shows and convince the audience that he is authentic. He has a special combination, “George Ergatoudis, BBC Radio 1’s Head of Music told The Financial Times.
The following years were sweet moments. In 2012 Ed had the opportunity to be the opening Snow Concert concert in the United States. After that he became the opening singer of the Taylor Swift concert. From there, Ed’s name loomed. In addition, Ed is also good friends with Taylor. They feel they have similarities, one of which: children are not popular and do not excel at school.
Besides Taylor, Ed’s great admirer was Elton John.
“He is a good songwriter. He can write melody simply. I think Van Morrison would be proud to be able to write songs like ‘Thinking Out Loud’. Ed reminded me of his youth, enthusiasm and love. He is able to entertain 90,000 people in his concert, “said Elton, who manages Ed’s management team.
The concert that Elton was referring to was a concert held at Wembley. Ed can satisfy the fans by performing using only the guitar. He said, it was a branding strategy that he deliberately designed to distinguish it from other singers.
Another important thing that also made Ed successful in the realm of music was his ambition and competitive attitude. He has a long-term plan that is detailed enough to hold on.
“I plan to launch 15 albums first. The first five EPs, then Plus, Multiply, Divide. “There will be two more albums in this five-album series and I will make five more albums afterwards,” he told GQ.
That is the target until 2030. To ensure that the target is met, Ed consistently monitors sales data every week. “You will never be successful if you only do what you like,” he said.
Besides looking at the data, he sees his “competitors”. Currently he considers Adele as a competitor. He felt on par with the singer “Someone Like You” and felt defeated because the last 10 years Adele’s work sold more.
And on a world tour, Ed tried to catch up.