Ed Sheeran named ‘most likely to be famous’ at school prom
Ed Sheeran’s journey to global stardom, from busking to selling out Wembley Arena, has been turned into an exhibition in his home county of Suffolk.
His father John Sheeran has curated the free exhibition, called Ed Sheeran: Made In Suffolk, which opens in Ipswich on Tuesday.
It includes a certificate presented to the singer-songwriter at his Year 11 prom at Thomas Mills High School in Framlingham, naming him as ‘most likely to be famous’.
A 2004 school report describes the form 8JE student as a “natural performer”.
“Obviously at the moment his voice is beginning to change although he still has quite a lot in his higher register,” it said.
“Ed has made good progress and is learning to work more with the others as a team.
“I particularly enjoy his guitar/ voice work.
“It’s great to be entertained in a lesson.”
There are also photographs of Sheeran before he found fame, busking in Galway in Ireland aged 14 and performing in a school production of Grease in 2005.
He performed his first public gig at the Royal British Legion in Framlingham, where he grew up, with tickets costing £3.
Around 30 people attended the 14-year-old’s show in April 2005 and he played more than 40 songs including several of his own.
His father wrote: “Songs just flowed from him. It was extraordinary to witness.”
Photographer Mark Surridge has been friends with Sheeran since they met on an Example tour around 2012, when Sheeran was a support act.
Mr Surridge has gone on to document some of the intimate moments on Sheeran’s tours and his work features in the exhibition.
“I know it’s a bit cliched but he’s just a nice normal guy,” said Mr Surridge.
“There’s not really airs and graces.
“I know it’s all got a bit stratospheric and everything’s so wild, but really when it’s just you and him, he’s just a normal bloke with the same normal things that everyone thinks and worries about and enjoys.
“I’d say he hasn’t really changed, I think that’s the main thing, he’s just the same old normal Ed.”
A photograph he took of Sheeran in his dressing room is his favourite, he said.
“That’s straight after… I think it was the first Wembley show,” he said.
“I think it just shows the realities of it.
“It isn’t just glamour, it’s just sitting on a sofa, imagine how tired you’d be.”
Ian Johnson, who worked for Access for Music, said he was “blown away” when he saw a 16-year-old Sheeran perform a gig in Norwich.
He said he introduced Sheeran to his first management company, although he did not think anybody could predict his level of success.
“What Ed had other than talent was he’s completely likeable, very normal, but he had the best work ethic,” said Mr Johnson.
“He did a show in Manchester for us once.
“I went up with a colleague and there were eight people in the audience, so there were only six strangers if you like.
“He spent the whole coach journey burning CD-Rs on his laptop so he could sell them at the show to get the bus money to come back and that was a very typical Ed work ethic.
“He would do any show and just worked very hard to make it work.”
The exhibition on Sheeran, now aged 28, will run until May next year and also includes artwork and some of his records.
It is free but due to the expected level of demand, people are asked to book at www.made-in-suffolk.co.uk
The exhibition has been timed to coincide with four home-coming concerts in Ipswich.